I always bring someone with me when I buy a car, and I’m in the industry. I know all the tricks. Yet when you’re the customer on the other side, and the salesperson is telling you how great you look in that sweet red convertible, it’s easy to become convinced that yes, this IS the car I need to go home with today! (Even if you originally walked in to the dealership intending to buy a more practical sedan. Trust me. This happens.) I’m not saying that all dealers are out to sell you a car you don’t need, or upsell you something you can’t afford. But the dealer doesn’t really know you and your life situation. He or she doesn’t know what other financial obligations you have, or what car would be the most practical for your lifestyle.
Enter the tag team approach to buying a car.
Always take someone with you to the dealership – a parent, friend, spouse. Someone who will be practical if you get caught up in the emotional aspects of buying a car. Or someone who will encourage you and give you the confidence you need to pull the trigger on such a big purchase. It’s helpful to have someone with you to play devil’s advocate, or good cop bad cop. Remember – your salesperson may be the nicest person in the world, but in the end he needs to feed his family, and wants to close the deal. Maybe your partner can be the tough one, negotiating every point. Or maybe you’re the one to push back, with your partner silently supporting you. Either way we feel safety in numbers, and it’s easier to feel strong and stand your ground when you’re not alone.
Buying a car can take several hours, and during that time you’re going to receive a lot of information. Did you ever wonder why two people can hear the same information, but have different recollections of that information? What you “hear” when someone says something to you depends on several factors: what your brain does with the signal it receives, your auditory memory, how much time you spend listening, how interested you are when you receive the information, and your general outlook. Take someone with you who is a good listener. If you’re not sure if you understood something correctly, step away with your partner and confirm your understanding.
At the end of the day, you need to do what’s right for you and your situation. Maybe you walk away from the deal, and start again the next day. Maybe you leave the lot with your dream car. Either way, I encourage you to have someone with you to make the process a little easier.
July 18, 2013 by Jamie Rettig