Sunday, June 26, 2005

Negotiation 101

Courtney wanted me to share some stories with you all. She thinks you'll get a big kick out of these stories.

Lesson #1: Car Dealerships
Everyone knows that when you go to buy a car (particularly a used car), you are going to have to 'wheel and deal' to get a decent ride. Well, unless you're me, that is.

Three times now, I have gone to dealerships, and done what all the financial types recommend. I've given the dealer an offer. Nearly every offer was within $1000 of blue book. I've told the sales person that I won't pay more than X. Twice, I have gotten the sales guy to within $500 of what I wanted to pay. Each time, I have gone home in my old car, deal unmade.

I learned from my friends in sales that the sales guy never wants you to leave the lot. He knows that if you leave the lot, you probably won't come back. Courtney and I went to the Dodge dealership to buy her car. I thought I had all the answers. I knew what the car was worth. I new what the market was like for that model car. I had financing through an outside agency, so they couldn't hose me on financing or add-on services. The dealership had 5 of the cars. No other dealer had more than 1. They clearly had more supply than the market had demand. We were trading in an excellent vehicle. We were a couple thousand in the hole on Re's old car, but I had figured that all out.

My goal was to get blue book for her trade in, and then pay sticker for the new car. Since the dealer's price was $4000 over blue book, I thought that would be a good deal. I came in with all my research and market stats. I wooed the guy with my knowledge and cut to the chase. We got to within $300 in like 5 minutes. The guy told me he couldn't help me, and to come back if I got more money.

Just to reiterate, the guy passed on a $25,000 deal over $300. Who does that? No car salesman in his right mind does that. Unless he's dealing with me, that is. The curse is identified.

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