Are you kidding? Nope. Some experts say that feelings matter when choosing a salesperson. “The most important thing is that you be working with someone you are comfortable and who listens to your needs,” says Jim Davis, general sales manager for BMW of Riverside.
Remember, you want your buying a car experience to be a good one personally. A good salesperson should find your needs and address all your concerns, including safety and fuel economy.
Getting to know you
First off, says Davis, the salesperson should get to know you and how you are going to use the car. “Then, he or she should guide you to the car that best fits your needs.” With more than 30 years working in dealerships, Davis says he has been through the buying a car experiences as a customer, salesperson and general sales manager.
The questions range from the simple: “Do you do city driving or freeway driving?” To the more complex: “What kind of engine do you require?” For couples, a question might be: “Do you drive together or one at a time?” And, for families: “How many seats do you need?”
The financial end of the buying a car experience is sometimes highly interactive. Whether you have a trade-in, are seeking credit or are considering leasing, every factor is taken into consideration as it comes down to the final purchase price and payment method.
Talking about money is premature until you’ve narrowed down the car type based on your needs, says Davis. “Of course, buyers usually know their budget.”
However, Davis says we all probably start out perhaps a bit unrealistic. “At the end of the day, it’s just math,” he says. “We find the car that fits your needs and we tailor the transaction to fit your individual budget.”
And remember to factor in maintenance. For example, says Davis, BMW’s all-encompassing maintenance program could save you lots of costs in upkeep so you could possibly afford a more expensive car. “Once you have all of this in line, then it’s time to start worrying about the monthly payments,” he says.
Trade-in value adventures
Trading your car in at the dealership is both a good deal and an easy way to go. The convenience of driving into the dealership and driving out with a new one can be almost orgasmic.
“If I’m looking for the real value of a car,” says Davis, “I’d go to a dealer.” He says dealers buy hundreds of cars each month and they pay top dollar to do so.
Selling a car to a private buyer can get you a higher sale price. But think hard about having people call you day and night, setting appointments and haggling with each wannabe buyer. “It’s also safer to trade your car in at the dealership,” says Davis. “There are documented cases where people selling their car to private buyers have been held up at gunpoint.”
The possibility of pre-owned
Most people who walk into a dealership want an untouched car. They alone wish to de-virginize that powerful engine and unspoiled upholstery. However, a well-meaning salesperson may lead you into seeing the value of a well-cared-for car.
Pre-owned cars are usually one, two or maybe three years old. Usually, the manufacturer extends the warranty on these cars because of their “certified” status. “With pre-owned cars, you can usually get more car for your money,” says Davis.
Meaning, you may be able to bump up into the next level of luxury. Davis says he’s sold many used 7-series BMWs to buyers who may have only been able to afford a new five-series. “There are also times when someone needs to present a certain image and a pre-owned car allows them to step into that image without much expenditure.”