How to Sell Used Cars Without Selling Your Soul

If you are new to selling used cars then this guide is for you. It is hard to find a comprehensive and informative guide that will help master the art of selling pre-owned vehicles. It seems that the information out there involves the memorization of procedures which are either too difficult to learn or just not ideal for the non-seasoned sales person. Here are some basics to get you going.

Tip one: Do not lie

As a general principle, people can smell a rat. Unfortunately, people in the auto sales industry are synonymous with shady business ethics and lies. When I first started selling vehicles I was told to say anything and everything as long as it brought people to the dealership, and later, into the car and driving away. This included the fabrication of any given autos true mechanical integrity. If the engine would start rough when it was cold, we were instructed to warm it up if someone was going to come by and look at it. Of course we would let the managers know if we thought something was not working properly but this would not always get results. The standard motto insinuated the wasting of money and time and to let the customer deal with it once they owned the car. If you know something is wrong with a vehicle, do not lie and say it is ‘in pristine condition.’ Simply divert the customers attention to another comparable vehicle. Only if they are dead set on the vehicle in question should you get into the specifics. Once you lie, you have to keep lying. The web of lies tends to grow exponentially and you may find yourself stuck with irreparable damage and a lost sale. It only makes you look like you have the same bad ethics as used car sales people everywhere.

Tip two: Be yourself

At the dealership where I was employed, the value of having a specific sales method was constantly drilled into me. The only problem was that those methods were not my own. They had worked for the ‘super stars’ of the business, so why not me? I do not fit the classic mold. I do not like to trick people into thinking they need something when they do not. I chose to allow people to browse the inventory on their own accord. Who needs a total stranger circling you like a vulture, blabbing facts and statistics while you decide on a very expensive purchase? There is a time and a place for that. How would you like it if a store clerk was trying to sell you energy drinks when all you want is some toothpicks? I certainly would not be back. This method was not too popular with the ‘powers that be.’ But, the way I saw it, I did not like being pressured so why would anyone else?

However, if there was interest in a certain vehicle or the customer was lingering around a car, then I would approach and begin what would soon become a solid closing process. People almost always appreciate an approach without pressure. When you talk to someone, try not to be nervous. Talk as though you have already closed the sale. It will make you more confident and, therefore, likable. Do not be afraid to look a person in the eye. If you like to joke, then joke. If a more serious attitude is your thing, fine. Just do not appear to be giving the ‘cold shoulder.’ Remember: If you like a person and treat him or her accordingly you will, in return, be liked as well. A person will buy a car from you because they like you.

Tip Three: Know your inventory

Make sure you know how to disable an alarm feature. Know where the gas cover release mechanism is located and where the hazard light switch is found. Take the car for a drive. How does it handle? What does the stereo sound like? How much room is in the trunk? Little details like these will go a long way when describing to someone the true benefits of owning a particular car. Other facts such as actual MPG, vehicle history, recalls, etc, can always be referenced. Who has the time and energy to memorize the engine output ratio for five hundred vehicles?

Do not lie, be yourself and know your inventory. The rest will fall into place. Do not be afraid to try new methods as you discover your own. I did and was consistently the top seller of the dealership. After a while, upper management left me alone to do my thing.