How Does a Car Salesman Keep From Getting Walked Around the Lot

by Tod
(New Jersey)

Question: How does a car salesman keep from getting walked around the lot car to car giving prices for each one? I am have trouble when every customer just walks up and the first question they ask me are the prices of every car.

They either say "how much is this car, this car that car" or they say "do you have a price list"

What do I answer them when they most of the time cannot afford or qualify for the car they are looking at or asking about. Every one asks about the most expensive cars on the lot and they don't have the cash, they have barely any down and need low monthly payment.

I don't want to tell them prices or give them test drives and than disappoint them that they can't buy that car. What do I do about this?

Answer: Hi Tod,

One of the best ways for a car salesman to avoid this is to not give them the opportunity to put you in this position from the start.

If you can get them in to the dealership and sit them down prior to them walking you around the lot, then you stand to save yourself a lot of time and the customer some frustration and possible embarrassment (i.e. not being able to buy the car they just drove).

Once you are able to get them inside you fill out a guest sheet with them which will give you a wealth of information.

  • Are they cash buyers
  • What kind of OTD are they looking for (if paying cash)
  • Are they financing
  • What type of payments they can afford
  • What colors they don't like (never ask what they want, but what they absolutely won't take)
  • What they need (i.e. 4 door because of kids, safe vehicle, reliable vehicle, etc)

Once you have this information "you" are able to land them on a car. I would suggest isolating the car and bringing it up close to the dealership so the customers don't get distracted by other vehicles.

Explode the car prior to them seeing it so that as soon as they walk outside you can begin your walk around and end the walk around with them getting in the drivers seat, then off you go on a test drive.

If you are not able to get
them in the dealership, then you may need to do some of your investigative questioning out on the lot (not preferred though). Once they are getting to asking you the price on the second vehicle simply ask them what their goal is.

Are you looking to pay cash or finance? If it's cash, then let them know that it is your goal to be sure to get them all the information you can on whatever vehicle they choose, the best possible OTD price and figures for their trade in (if trading) prior to them leaving that day.

FYI - Of course, your goal is to sell them the car that day, but letting them know you are going to let them leave without much of a fight breaks down some of the wall many people put up and many times leads to a sale the same day.

Once you've told them that lead into your investigative questions again. Also try again to get them into the dealership. "Let me save you some time and money, follow me" and start walking towards the dealership. Most people will follow. If you're dealing with a real hard-ass this probably won't work.

The same approach works for someone financing and just add in that you will also get them estimates of their monthly payments prior to leaving that day.

Once you find out they are financing ask them what type of payment they can afford. Once you know this and see them looking at a vehicle that's way out of that range let them know by ranging them on payments. Use $20-$25 a month per thousand.

In other words, if someone wants $200 payments, but is looking at a $30,000 rig, then let them know that they could be looking at payments in $600 to $750 range. That will make them shift gears pretty quick.

At this point, redirect them either back into the dealership to do your "Guest Sheet" (if not already done) and or steer them to a vehicle you know will be more in their range.

This is a bit difficult to explain in writing (especially because there are so many "what if" scenarios here) so I hope this all makes sense, but feel free to get back in touch with me if you have any future questions.

Take care,

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