- Remember, when you mention to the salesman that you will “be back,” keep in mind, that he doesn’t believe you. Car dealerships have a simple strategy to maximize their bottom line profitability: sell the vehicle to the customers on their first visit. They adopt this philosophy because they know that customers will rarely come back to the dealership once they leave. It is such a rarity that salesmen refer to the return of a customer as being as unlikely as them being delivered on a magical “Be-Back Bus.”
The "Buy Today" Strategy
To entice the customer to “buy today,” salespeople employ some simple strategies. One popular strategy is to eliminate the customer’s objections. This is accomplished simply by asking the customer what is stopping him from buying a car that day. Then they will isolate the customer’s objection and take it out of the equation. For example, the salesman might ask the customer what is stopping him from making a decision today.
The customer might then reply with an objection like, “I have to talk it over with my wife.”
Now the salesman will isolate that objection (the wife) and remove it from the decision by saying, “If your wife agreed, would you buy the car today?”
If the customer says “Yes,” the salesman can move forward with the process.
This starts the negotiation whether or not the customer was ready. In the scenario above, the customer is objecting to one thing (the wife’s approval), but is agreeing to everything else. Suddenly, the salesman has converted a “car shopper” into a “car buyer.” Keep in mind that salesmen are instructed not to let customers off the hook. If they are not buying today, they want to know why in order to isolate that “excuse” and continue with the process.
Another strategy salesmen will use is to tempt the buyer. They can do this by providing the customer with a host of fabricated reasons to buy that day. For example, “If you buy today, we can show you more for your trade-in because our used car manager has a buyer for it!” These are all gimmicks to keep the customer on track.
The danger is that most customers will try to rely on their wits and reply, “How much more will you pay for my trade?”
What many customers may not understand is that the salesman wants them to start this “shoot from the hip” negotiation, because when you are negotiating, you are only one step away from buying. When customers are not prepared with all the proper information on price, ACV, and Buy-Rate, it almost always will result in a nice commission for the salesperson. As you can see, a cornerstone of the guidebook is not to buy the car on your first visit to the dealer.
The other major reason car dealerships train their salesmen to make a deal during the customer’s first visit is that the sale will be far more profitable. When the customer goes home to “think about the purchase,” it diminishes the opportunity for an emotional purchase (See the article on Ether). There is also the possibility that when the customer leaves, he could research the price and if he returns, he may attempt to purchase and/or finance the vehicle at a lower price.