As a former car salesman for over 17 years, I have had a lot of experience with buying and selling cars. There are many factors involved in determining the actual car you buy, where you buy it, when you purchase it, and at what price you pay for it.
There are two basic vehicle purchase scenarios. One is the traditional route of going to an automobile dealership and dealing directly with the salesperson and, two, is the more and more popular method of buying “online” and basically, by-passing the salesperson until it is deemed absolutely necessary to visit the showroom.
Let’s follow the traditional route for this article. Many prospective buyers of this scenario come into the showroom to “look around”, ask a lot of questions, and ask for exact pricing. At this point in the buying process, this consumer seems to have no idea what they are looking for, whether their selection will be a Toyota, Honda, Chevy, or Ford; whether it might be a used or new car, whether to choose a sedan or SUV, whether they have considered financing type, and when they want to buy the car.
I am mentioning all of this because all salespeople are paid almost entirely by commission, and since they are paid on commission, their income is based primarily on how many units they sell each month. Sales managers set monthly quotas for each salesperson. Therefore, a salesperson is entirely focused on the buyers who have a good idea which car they are interested in and who tell you that they are looking to buy a car fairly soon.
A salesperson’s job is to demonstrate one or two vehicles, and they guide the customer into selecting the “right” car for them, based on their needs and budget. But, the customer should come into the dealership with a fairly good idea as to which vehicle they would like. The salesperson encourages the customer to take the car for a test drive and points out the features and benefits of the particular model. Upon return, it is customary to “negotiate” a “fair price” for both the customer and the dealership.