What Doesn’t The Car Sales Person Tell You?

We hear so often in discussion that you can’t trust a car sales person but let me assure you the feeling is mutual.

Negotiating around what you aren’t told

It’s amusing but in the car sales industry there is a saying ‘Buyers Are Liars’.

I must say the industry has cleaned up its act in recent years by legislation and enforced behavioural practices by manufacturers (who do not want their brand tarnished) but I can definitely say the buyers have not improved.

The reason I say this, and it is probably not what you want to hear, is that what the car salesperson does not tell you is brought about by the practices of most buyers.

We all want a bargain but it has to be the worst of the sales industries to work in for people expecting the business to make no money on a sale (and many car sellers don’t on your average sale after they take out their overheads).

Two things have created this confrontation between sales staff and buyers, one being the history of the industry where anything went and the seller’s played all sorts of dirty tricks (watch some of the American car sales movies – many cars salespeople do for entertainment). The other is the misguided belief by the buyer that because a car costs thousands of dollars the seller is making thousands of dollars (which in most cases this is not true and it is in the $hundreds).

Enough of that, what do they NOT tell you.

The Trade-In?

The Trade-In is the most feared transaction in the industry. Every seller believes their car is worth more than it is and every buyer knows it is not by the time they fix it up to sell and pay all the taxes.

The buyer (dealer) is trained to tell you everything that is wrong with your much-beloved disposal. They must lower your expectation by whatever visual or anecdotal evidence that is at their disposal.

Such statements other than looking at the obvious visual condition as “These cars have been known to have engine problems.” They can’t really prove it and you can’t really deny it.

One popular comment from the sellers (you) is “I saw it on CarSales for $….”

The buyer’s immediate response to that will be “Carsales is not going to buy your car!”

How do you beat this? You won’t but make sure your trade looks perfect when you bring it in, do your research on your own car and if it is not perfect, accept that is not.

The Price?

Most buyers (you) just want to get to the price. The seller is trained not to give you the price (they hate manufacturer promotions – unless there is a decent margin in it – which there is usually not).

The seller’s job is to get you to want and even love the car before you get the price. It will then Segway the sale into the ‘only this one left’ line and because you want it so much they will win.

To beat that you may want to adopt a more casual attitude and act as if its border line you even want the car. Don’t show your love for the new vehicle by making comments about how fantastic it is, or agreeing with the enthusiasm of the seller. Even maybe look at another car and just, by comparison, ask for the price of the car you really want…. Then just before you walk out (on the way) make a last-minute offer that is reasonable.


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The availability?

You have two problems here. Either the car really is hard to get (factory order only) and the dealer will not be desperate for the sale at all. Or, the car will be right in front of you but not in the colour or even model you want, but the dealer wants to sell it.

The first one is to the advantage of the seller but the second one is tricky. The seller is unlikely to tell you they can get another one until the very last minute (as they want to sell the one they have), or they will lie and say they should be able to get the one you want but you need to sign the contract first on the one they have.

Availability and deliverability are the most common mistruths told by sellers in the industry and it is also very hard to manage the reality of both by the dealer. If they do say they can get one, they have a position in the dealership called ‘Stock Controller’. Ask the seller to get something in writing from their Stock Controller. It could be a print out of the vehicle being in what the call ‘Pool Stock’ at the manufacturer. At least then you will know they are telling the truth.

How good is the vehicle?

I must say most brand new cars are reasonable quality these days and you usually get what you pay for, one way or another.

But, you cannot rely on a vehicle salesperson to tell you if their car is better than the one down the road, because it always is. They are brainwashed by their manufacturer to truly believe theirs is the best on the market, whether that is by value, quality, performance or reliability.

You can only rely on good review web sites or articles (many good web sites for vehicle reviews like Drive.com.au), or by professionals that sell all brands and have no bias or brainwashing. Social media gives you some insight but I find it is a bit too tainted by the very worst things that have happened to people.

An average 1% of all new vehicles have a warranty issue, it is just an industry accepted fact. They are usually the ones you hear about on social media.

Hope this article helps with some of your car buying in the future.

By: Shane de Gelder
General Manager at SmartCarSales

By: Shane de Gelder
General Manger at SmartCarSales