The Car Sales Write-Up

The “Write-Up” is the fifth step in the salesmen’s seven step sales process. It is a tool that dealerships use to begin the negotiation process by provoking an offer from the customer. The salesman’s main goal in the “Write-Up” is to have the customer commit to buying a car that day. In other words, if the customer wants to buy the vehicle at a discount, he must offer the salesman an amount that he is willing to pay that day.

Many customers do not know how to ask for a discount, so the salesman will start the negotiation for them. Usually, the salesman will perform a “trial-close” by asking the customer if price was right would he buy the car. 

Generally, the “trial close” will go something like this: “If all the numbers were agreeable, would this vehicle suit your needs?” If the salesman receives a positive response, he will begin the write-up. Even if he gets a “maybe,” he will continue. Only if the customer expresses that this is not the vehicle he wishes to buy does the salesman have to go back and try to “land” the customer on the right vehicle.

The actual “write-up” document can be presented with many different titles. It can be called a “Customer Worksheet” or “Purchase Order.” Regardless of the title, they will almost always have four distinct sections that are known to the salesman as a “foursquare.” The following section will describe in detail what a customer can expect when a salesman uses a "Foursqaure Write-Up".

The Foursquare Write-Up

The foursquare is by far the most common “Write-Up” used by dealers. As the title describes, there are four sections (or squares) that salesmen must cover. They are: Price, Trade-in, Payment and Down Payment.

1. Price

2. Trade-In

3. Down Payment

4. Monthly Payment

Car Salesman Write-Up 



The Foursquare Write-up. Step One : Price

The salesman will begin the “foursquare” with the price. Usually, the salesman will input the full retail price or MSRP in this section. Then he will add any additional accessories that the customer requested. The salesman knows that the customer will want to discount or negotiate this price. However, he will avoid making any adjustment to this “square.” Instead, he will ask if there is anything else the customer would like to add to the vehicle. Often at this point he will try an assumptive close and say something like, “Will that be cash or check?”

4 squareprice

At this point, the customer will commonly say, “I’m not paying that price,” or, “You will have to do a lot better on the price if you want to sell the car.” Of course, the salesman is waiting for this type of response because this triggers the negotiations.

Now the salesman will purposely move away from the “price square” and on to the next “square”- the Trade-in. Salespeople are taught to avoid slashing the price and instead focus on the other elements. They might say, “I understand, I will get you a great price...but first let me get some information on your Trade-in.”

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