How can women REALLY buy a car without hassle, get exactly what they want, and ENJOY the process?
Okay. What is it that women do not like about buying a car from a dealership?
The list is long, but first and foremost most women do not like the way they are generally treated when they visit a dealership. Trends are improving, but many dealerships still operate under the Good Ole Boys syndrome. And until these facilities reach some degree of equal saturation by women employees, the common disrespectful old-school attitude displayed by many male sales personnel and even management toward potential women buyers will continue to show itself at the dealership. This is primarily influenced by positive and progressive management that recognizes the commercial value – profit - of understanding and welcoming women buyers.
Major bullet points of concern for women in their efforts to buy an automobile:
- Pricing discrepancies: Statistically, women buyers end up paying more than men for both new and used car purchases.
- Respect level: Many times men salesmen do not extend the common courtesies to women as they would to men.
- Negotiations: Women generally prefer not to negotiate pricing, and dealerships want to.
So. How can women make the buying experience at the dealership level enjoyable and efficient?
- Do your research. If you are trying to buy a new car, then diligence online is a must. Visit Kelley Blue Book, and especially new innovational sites such as TrueCar.com for participating dealerships. True Car not only will give you retail and wholesale pricing, but will indicate fair and good pricing to pay, by zip code. On used car purchases, True Car will show what is being paid for similar models and mileage, and will indicate if the prices are above or below market value. Compare several sites against each other.
- Never walk into a dealership cold. Always contact an Internet Manager prior to your arrival at a dealership. If you feel a distrust for this person, then simply cut the phone call short, and try again with a different manager either there or at a different dealership. Make a firm appointment time, keep it and don’t be late. Keep in mind that dealerships will trade vehicles to accommodate a specific desired model for a customer. Don’t allow the dealership to substitute a model just because they may not have your desired vehicle in stock, unless the substitution will work for you.
- On new car purchases, get a firm price commitment from the manager for the actual amount you will pay for the vehicle, before tax and license fees, and then with those fees included. Have them email that price to you, and be sure to bring it with you to the dealership. If they won’t give it to you, then go elsewhere. On used cars, it will be difficult to get a fixed price as there are other variables, such as condition, mileage, and needed features for you to consider. However, still rely upon True Car or other similar organizations to give you an idea of what you may be paying. Remember, a good Internet Manager will try to help, rather than lose you to a competitor.
- If you have a trade vehicle, then research to find what this vehicle may bring in trade value. Here it is important to get your commitment price of the new vehicle separately from the trade value, as the real trade value can be buried beneath an inflated new car price. If your trade vehicle has little value, then donate the vehicle to a good cause and take the IRS deduction.
- Know your budget limitations and stick to them. Buying a vehicle for cash is one thing, but using your credit on a monthly payment contract requires an amount down that is comfortable for you, and a monthly payment that is workable. Avoid long term contracts over 60 months if at all possible, especially if these contracts are at a high interest rate, as you can pay as much as 40% more for a vehicle over the contract term.
- Carry your research in with you, and spread the information out in front of you at the manager’s desk for easy reference. Many regular sales personnel can be put off by this, as they may like to operate in vagueness to make more money on the deal, but a good Internet Manager will recognize that you are there to do business and will welcome your attempts at efficiency.
- Regarding using your credit, know what your credit score is going in, and if you can get a better interest rate with a credit union than what the dealership can offer, then bring that pre-approval – for the amount quoted to you by the Internet Manager – with you. This will help avoid any late fees added on without your participation that may cause you to go over budget.
- To sum it up, be well-researched, find a trustworthy Internet Manager, and stick to your guns. Remember, not all dealerships are not undesirable. Check out Yelp. Talk to any friends that can relay their experiences. Be courteous, and try to find enjoyment in being in control. It will pay off for you.
Tom Procter is a former California Public School Teacher, Businessman, published Author, and 18 years as Internet Manager with Saturn, Ford, GMC, Subaru, Mazda, Mercedez-Benz, and Acura.