The Number 1 way Car Salesmen beat you on a trade in.
There is a mental side of all humans that car salesmen capitalize on daily, and most consumers never know what has hit them. They have truly perfected many factors to get exactly what they want out of you, Your Money!
The most common formula that they use is a worksheet called the 4 square. It is a form that they use to present the initial “pencil” or figures from the sales manager and it is exactly what it sounds like. It has general information at the top, like customer information, trade information and new car information. Then the bottom is broken down into 4 squares. This first pencil or offer has super inflated or super low numbers on it. The first square will generally have the full retail (msrp) in it. The second will have the down payment that they request which is designed to be so large of a number that it will almost make you choke. The next one will be the extremely low offer on your trade in. And last is the inflated estimated monthly payment. The purpose of the 3 inflated figures is to put you in shock, intimidate you, anger you and insult you to the point that you are so concerned about the inflated numbers that you pay little attention to the trade in offer that is made to you. They are betting that you will raise a stink about the offer for msrp on the new car. The 10 thousand dollar down payment or the 925.00 monthly payment.
Now we will cover what to do to stop the insanity. Rule number 1. Always go back to the trade in. No matter how upset you may be, always handle the trade first. Act like nothing else is on that page. This will cause them to become bewildered and give you the advantage. If the salesman tries to go to the other 3 figures, always ask, can we settle this trade issue before we go any further? He will then ask something similar to this, if I can get you xxx amount for your trade, can we do business right now? This is a diversion or a close depending on the salesman. If your concern is the trade, they think they will still make money on the purchase price or financing. Go right back and explain that we will get back to the other 3 figures as soon as we settle the trade in.
Once you get the figures you want on your trade, then, go one at a time through the rest of the squares. You must stay in control if you want to drive out with a new car and your money.
About the Author: Burt Corkern is an ex-salesman in the auto industry and is a regular writer and consultant for Orange County BMW and works on Ethics with dealers nationwide.