Negotiating With The Salesmanager

Negotiating Tactics ⇦ Car Sales Manager ⇨ Power of Silence

How to deal with the salesperson and the salesmanager

As we have already seen, you deal with a salesperson face to face but he/she often goes away to talk to the Salesmanager. This invariably leads to the hard-man/soft-man routine where the salesperson is your “friend” trying to get you the best deal he can from the “hard” Salesmanager. This, in itself, is a good tactic from their point of view: it makes you think that you have got someone “on your side”, working for you.

This is quite subtle and psychological… imagine if there was no Salesmanager and you were dealing with a salesperson and THEY were the person that said “No” to you. Straight away this would create, if not a confrontation, then certainly an amount of tension between you and the salesperson and would probably make you want to go elsewhere.

This is why large dealers are better at selling cars than small “one man band” dealers: having someone (the salesperson) be nice to you all the time and someone else (the salesmanager) be the one that says “No” is far more acceptable to most potential buyers. You don’t want to “lose face”; you don’t want the person you are dealing with to be “rude” and tell you that you can’t have what you want. However, you probably won’t be so offended if it is someone else, in the background, saying that.

They will play on this… the salesperson (your “friend” remember!) gives you the impression that they are trying as hard as they can to get your deal but they can’t get the Salesmanager to agree – the Salesmanager won’t budge any further on the price or the terms you want.

The salesperson will say that they have tried to reason with the Salesmanager, told them how good your car is and tried everything they can – but the Salesmanager says that they can’t do any better.

You might be tempted to think that if this salesperson can’t get you a better deal, then you have no chance of doing better… after all, the salesperson “knows” the Salesmanager and they have tried everything “for you”! RUBBISH!

These are all just negotiating tactics to make you feel like you are being treated well so that you can agree to the salesmanager’s deal without losing face. DON’T FALL FOR IT!

Ask to see the salesmanager

Instead, when you get to the point where the salesperson says that there is no point going back to see the salesmanager because the deal can’t be bettered – tell the salesperson to go and get the salesmanager so that you can talk to him/her yourself.

As long as they believe you are genuine (that you WILL be buying a car, there and then, as long as you get the right deal) the salesmanager WILL come out and talk to you.

They often WOULD be coming to talk to you anyway, in the end…

Sometimes, without you asking to see him/her, the salesmanager will come out to talk to you just before a deal is agreed. They will have got to a position where they can agree a deal but the salesmanager will come out to “chip you” a little on the deal. They will try to get you to put in, say, £50 cash or pay an extra £5 per month…

It’s a similar situation to the dealer cashing in the tax disks on all part exchange cars: let’s say that the dealer sells 20 cars a week... if they can get each customer to pay just an extra £50 the dealer is making an extra £1000 pure profit each week! That is why they try to chip you: try to get you to go just a little further.

When this happens it means that you HAVE got the deal, you DON’T need to go that little bit more, that extra £50 – just say “No” but that you will buy the car based on the figures being discussed.

So anyway, you are negotiating with the salesperson and they say that they can’t do any better – you ask to see the salesmanager – and the salesmanager comes out to see you. In some ways this is good, and in others this is bad!

It is good because the salesmanager, now involved in face to face negotiations with a potential customer - YOU! - will not want to be seen to fail to do a deal.

It is bad because the salesmanager is even more expert at dealing with customers; you are now dealing with the “hard” man/woman!

The relationship between the salesperson and the salesmanager

The salesmanager has got to where they are because they are very experienced and successful. They have seen, and used, every trick in the book and they have nerves of steel. They can look you in the eye and say “No we can’t do a deal at that… but we can do it at this” and then just sit there, in silence, staring at you. They are expert at getting potential customers to buy cars. You may not like the way some of them behave (in terms of their bluntness!), but, they are very good at their job.

The dealership would be world beating if it was staffed by salespeople who were all as expert and experienced as the salesmanager. However, this is not realistic. Staff change very frequently in the motor trade. New salespeople are brought in and trained to replace those that have moved on and these new salespeople can’t possibly have the experience and knowledge necessary to sell cars as successfully as the salesmanager.

So what happens is that the salesmanager sits in his/her office and advises each salesperson. This happens to a greater or lesser extent in most dealers’. In some dealers’ the salesperson reports literally everything that a potential customer does and says and, in turn, the salesmanager tells the salesperson exactly what to do and say back to the customer at every stage of the dealing process… what car to show them, when to get them coffee, when to get their keys off them, what to say about prices etc.

When the salesperson leaves you, for whatever reason, the chances are that they are reporting back to the salesmanager.

So whilst the dealer can’t be staffed by clones of the successful salesmanager, this system comes close…! The salesmanager gives his knowledge and experience to each salesperson… they “control” each salesperson. In fact, in some dealers’ the salesmanager is known as the “sales controller”. A good salesmanager can control several salespeople all at the same time, each one dealing with a different customer.

You will notice that, when the salesmanager does come out to talk to you, the salesperson immediately takes a back seat and will say very little from that point onwards. The salesmanager takes over completely as they are seen as the real experts in dealing with customers and few salespeople would want to chip in and, perhaps, say the wrong thing while the salesmanager is dealing with a customer. The salespersons’ view is that – “if anyone can sell a car to this customer it will be my boss”!

Now, this is good from your point of view. Whilst the salesmanager is in his office, the onus is on the salesperson to sell the car. If anything goes wrong and the customer ends up walking without signing an order, the salesmanager obviously blames the salesperson! However, when the salesmanager comes out and takes over, what happens from then on is down to them… and no salesmanager will want to be seen to fail in front of a salesperson!

So, when you are dealing with the salesmanager you have an even better chance of getting an excellent deal… you just have to keep your nerve and stick to your guns.

Remember though, they are better at dealing (telling stories etc etc) than the salesperson you have been dealing with up to that point. They will give you all sorts of plausible reasons why they can’t do a certain deal – you just have to treat this with the indifference that it deserves – remember… car salespeople tell lies… salesmanagers are masters at it!

As long as you aren’t asking for a ludicrous or impossible deal, you must just be persistent – tell them: “No, you can’t buy the car at that but you will buy it now at this”. Tell them that you will sign an order NOW if they do it at whatever. Make sure that you have got all your documents with you (for your part exchange car) and at this point put them on the desk between you and the salesmanager. If you are paying a deposit, put your cheque book or your cash on the desk in front of them as well. They will not want you to put them away again – especially the salesmanager!

Keep pushing for the deal you want. YOU tell them stories!

• That there is another car you have been looking at…
• That you just can’t afford any more…
• That your partner would have preferred a different make of car…
• That you still have another car to look at…
• That you have to go because you have an appointment to get to…
• That you didn’t intend spending that much…
• You have been here so long you are getting fed up…
• Anything…

… but that you will sign up NOW if they do the deal at whatever…

Next we learn about the power of silence...

Negotiating Tactics ⇦ Car Sales Manager ⇨ Power of Silence