Experts’ car buying tips for getting the best deal

Experts' car buying tips

Picking when to go to the dealership and building relationships with sales staff will help you make the most of your visit(Picture © Mazda)

We asked for some experts’ car buying tips in an effort to make purchasing a new car a less stressful experience. For a start there is no training and no hard and fast rules about buying a car. And it’s difficult to know if you’ve been taken for a ride or nabbed the bargain of the decade. Then there are the sales staff who are highly trained and have all the facts and figures about how much profit they might make at their fingertips. To find out how customers can get the best out of the car buying process, we asked the experts: three people whose job is to train sales executives. 

Experts’ car buying tips: How to value your part exchange
Experts say car buyers who have another car to sell and want to put their existing car’s value into the new car (part exchanging) tend to think their own car is worth more than it actually is. Julian Lobb from Impact Prospecting Solutions, which trains car sales executives, said: “Before you go to the dealer, visit three or so car buying websites and see how much each offers for your car. Then take the average. It will be lower than you think but you won’t then be disappointed with the dealer’s offer and will have a clearer idea of your budget.”

Experts’ car buying tips: When to go to the dealership
Car dealerships are given bonuses by the manufacturers they work for every time they sell a vehicle. These financial incentives are usually given at the end of the quarter. Julian Lobb revealed: “Go in at the start of a quarter, say April 2, and your chances of getting a discount are pretty slim. However, go to the showroom on June 28 at the end of the quarter when the sales staff probably still have targets to hit and you’ll get a cracking deal.”

Experts’ car buying tips: It’s all about being human
Getting the best deal at a showroom is about establishing a relationship with the sales staff. They should want your business and you want to get the best deal possible. Whether you get that deal is entirely in their hands. David McConnon who trains sales people for manufacturers and independent dealers advised: “Broadly speaking, sales people fear rejection; the customer will probably only be able to afford a certain price. Both need to be able to have a frank conversation without either party feeling rebuffed.”

Experts’ car buying tips: Make time to do the deal
Car dealers are so highly regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that buying a car isn’t the kind of thing you do while the other half is next door in Matalan buying work trousers. Many people underestimate exactly how long it takes. John Kilby who trains sales staff for the PSA Group said: “There’s so much for the sales person to do in the way of paperwork it’s not the sort of thing you can rush through in 10 minutes. The more time a customer allows, the more relaxed it will be and the harder the sales executive will work for them.”

Experts’ car buying tips: Check the car over
It’s important that the car you leave the dealership with is in the best possible condition. This is particularly pertinent to used cars but applies just as well to new cars: it’s not unheard of for new cars to pick up knocks. The PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection) that every dealer does should pick these up. Do your own just to be sure and ask for any damage to be sorted out. Julian Lobb said: “Customers usually expect small bits of damage or things that don’t work to be attended to before they take the car home. They should make this clear before they sign on the dotted line. Do so afterwards, when you’ve bought the car and it could be too late.”

Experts’ car buying tips: Enjoy yourself
All our experts agreed that the most important thing was not to view buying a new car as a chore but rather as something to enjoy. After all, it costs enough!

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