Everyone has heard about—or personally experienced—the nightmare of dealing with an overly aggressive or dishonest car salesperson. Because of this, many people today try to avoid working with car sales representatives as much as possible, instead depending on their own online research to find the right car and the best deal for them.
However, while online research can be an important part of the buying process, working with a good car sales representative can actually be extremely helpful in getting a great deal on the right car for you.
Finding the Right Car or Truck
Nathan Hudson at Landers McLarty Subaru told us one of the most useful things a good car salesperson can do is help you find the vehicle that fits your needs. Whether you’re buying a new or used car, there are so many makes, models, and options to choose from that it can get overwhelming.
A good sales representative will listen carefully to find out what you really need. As Edmunds.com points out, there’s a big difference between buyers who want a very specific car based on its look, features, etc., and buyers who are basically interested in getting the least expensive car that can “get the job done.”
If you’re the second kind of buyer, then a good salesperson may be able to point you to a different make or model, an individual car left over from the previous model year that hasn’t been sold yet, or maybe even a car whose color just isn’t very popular that they’re willing to give you a lower price on. These are the kind of things that an online car search for a particular make and model won’t necessarily reveal.
And a good car salesperson can help you get exactly the car you want, even if it’s not currently on their lot. As Edmunds.com explains, a persistent, motivated sale representative will do the work to find the car you want to buy, whether that means convincing their manager to do an inventory swap or checking with local dealer auctions.
Additionally, if you tell your car salesperson about your daily driving needs, they can help you plan the best test drive to discover whether this car will really suit you. Can this car easily get up that hill you have to climb every day on the way to work? Will it fit into the small parking spaces at your apartment building? These are things you definitely want to know before you buy!
Finally, a good car sales representative will be knowledgeable about new technology and features and can help you figure out which ones will suit you best. For instance, for some buyers a high-tech nav system can be extremely helpful and worthwhile.
But for others, that same nav system is unnecessary or overly complicated—something they’ll never really be comfortable using. High-end sound systems and other expensive features can be the same way.
Getting a Great Deal
While many people see car salespeople as their adversary when it comes to getting a great deal, a good car sales representative can actually help you rather than hinder you. You see, first and foremost, a good car sales representative wants you to drive away happy.
That’s because successful long-term car sales careers aren’t built on bilking customers—they’re built on reputation, referrals, and repeat sales. A good car salesperson will be attentive to your financial needs and help you figure out which cars are really in your price range, and they may be able to inform you about special programs and manufacturer’s incentives that you might not otherwise know about.
Plus, as Edmunds.com Senior Editor and former car salesman Matt Jones explains, a top salesperson will push management to make deals just as much as or more than they politely push their customers. That includes pushing for higher prices on trade-ins and taking offers that are lower than usual in order to increase customer satisfaction and future business.
Finding a Good Car Sales Representative
So how do you find a personal car sales representative who’ll be a teammate rather than an adversary? That’s where online research and good old word of mouth come in.
Patrick Haas at YourMechanic.com says a good first step is to look at the reviews of different car dealerships. Often, those reviews will mention specific salespeople, either positively or negatively. Take note of those sale representatives with lots of positive reviews.
Ask your friends, family, and coworkers for recommendations too. Again, a good salesperson aims to build their career long-term through positive referrals like these.
Finally, when you meet up with your chosen sales representative, ask questions you already know the answer to. This can help you find out whether this representative will be honest with you.