There are a lot of professions in the world that are related to cars. Most notable, of course are racing drivers and mechanics, but for the most part people ignore arguably the best know-it-alls of them all – salesmen and saleswomen. People who deal in used cars are not only familiar with how cars should behave on the road, they are familiar with the mechanical intricacies, they follow the news and can evaluate a car so well that they can do good business by merely buying and reselling. This is a profession for you if you want to make money from being around cars. However, it’s not all fun & games. You have to know certain things before getting into the business and here’s the main ones.
The business is constantly up & down
What most people fail to recognise is that the business of selling used cars is very up-and-down. There could be months when your stock is selling like hot cakes, and there could be weeks when not a single car leaves your lot. Be ready for that, and accept it as a challenge which should push you to value your next customer.
In the long-run, car purchases are somewhat stable (over longer periods of time), but if you take daily or even weekly examples and the statistics of a shorter period – your data can be very inaccurate.
You need to be extremely persuasive and able to stretch the truth
Sales seems like a very easy job. However, even though requirements for becoming a low-tier and entry-level salesperson are low, the best sales people out there are some of the most successful businessmen and businesswomen you can find. Car salesmen, especially have to be able to persuade the clients into buying. If you aren’t willing to push the customer, persuade, shrewdly negotiate and even stretch the truth sometimes – this job isn’t for you. It’s hard to succeed in used car sales when you’re 100% transparent and honest all the time. You have to read a particular buyer and appeal to their urges and needs in the best possible way. It doesn’t help that you have little time to impress them either.
You have to know all specialised mechanics and repair shops
Buying used cars from people and reselling them for more money can be a profitable, but a very draining task. Often times, resellers buy the car from a person after negotiating on the price, fix some superficial issues or major issues that have been hindering the life of previous owner and then sell it for a higher price. But, let’s not forget that the car has to be repaired and repaired quickly.
It’s important for salespeople to have connections in the car repair business. For example, lots of them have their ‘Audi guys’ or ‘Turbo guys’, service shops that only deal with Audi cars and those that only repair turbochargers respectively. For example, a service like steering wheel refurbishment or restoration can be required. But would you know that a company like Woodensteeringwheels.com existed and could do just that? If not, it’s unfortunate because you might lose out on some profits.
Legal knowledge is almost a must
Selling used cars isn’t without its downsides. One of the major ones is customer complaints. After they buy a car, they can comeback after a while and complain about specific issues that have occurred just after they’ve purchased a car. Different countries, different US states and every region has its unique contract law and a competent and goal-oriented seller should be familiar with what he’s obligated to do in case of issues and conflict.
Most of the time, after the cars leaves the lot and if you haven’t hidden some major issues on purpose (for example that there’s no airbags or if the brakes are not good enough for public roads), the customer has nothing to complain about. Regardless of that, it may differ.
You have to be inside of forums
Let’s say you sell 5-12 year old BMW’s. What’s the go-rate for a full automatic gearbox replacement on a 535i F10? Is the iDrive in the F01 7er known to be buggy? How hard is it to replace the electric window controls on an X5? You have to know as many rough estimates of the repair costs as possible, along with being knowledgeable about the engineering and what’s beneath the hood and chassis.
Join forums of owners to be aware of common problems, expensive repairs and easy fixes. It takes some time to get to know a car, but after 4-8 months, you should become a better expert which will help profit from sales.
How you negotiate is key
Resellers must understand what are the weak points of every car, how to fix them, etc. Since everything is about money, the reseller should be in touch with the market and never overpay for the car that they’re buying for future resell.
Every negotiation is different but there’s two common approaches on how to negotiate before purchasing to drive the price down:
- Arrive to the meeting and begin inspecting the car
- Be polite but comment every possible detail that you have an issue with. Click your tongue or slightly exclaim after noticing something. Seem like you complain, but do it methodically without showing irritation, just seem annoying-ish.
- Try to find any thing that you can complain about (rattling sounds while driving, worn tyres, scuffed rims, anything works)
- Complain about the ignition even if it seems fine (unless its perfect)
- Take it for a test drive and complain if there’s anything wrong with the car’s handling even slightly.
During the end try to turn the conversation to something like ‘Well, I don’t know, let’s talk about the price’. Use this to negotiate it down because you will still seem interested in the car which the seller would not want to let go and because of the many well-placed complaints, could be pushed towards bending for your will.
- It’s a riskier technique but it can still work
- Arrive after you’ve told the seller that you’re really interested in buying the car. If he or she mentions that the car is in excellent condition, say that you will likely buy on the spot if everything is as is.
- Surprise, surprise, after arriving you gradually become less and less impressed by the car. You notice dents, scuffs, creaks and everything there is to notice while slowly losing your excitement
- After the test drive you offer a much lower price saying you’ve expected a car in excellent condition which this wasn’t. The seller could be caught off guard and can try to negotiate the price down to not lose the deal. More so, they can get afraid that the car is really in bad condition which in their mind, jeopardises the future chance of sale.