Working With a Dealership - The Sales Process
Many car dealerships are family-owned businesses that are committed to satisfying their customers.
Car dealers are in business to make a profit, just like any other business. We hope you’ll respect the dealer’s right to make a reasonable profit. If you do, we bet the dealer will respect your right to get a fair deal
Use your BlueHarbor sourced loan to assure a quick, efficient, pleasant purchase experience. A few things to be aware of:
Controlling The Dealership Sales Process.
With financing from a BlueHarbor lender, you control the sales process. With money in hand, you have the credibility and bargaining power of a cash buyer. Armed with knowledge about the sales process, you can have a pleasant buying experience.
Each dealership works a little differently, but there are some basic things you can expect:
Greeting and Fact Finding.
When you arrive at a dealer, a sales consultant, whose job it is to help find you the vehicle that best matches your need, will typically greet you. Just like at any sales business, sales consultants come in all shapes and sizes and with a range of knowledge and attitudes – most are knowledgeable about the vehicles they sell and the competing vehicles. Even so, you may want to do some research online or with family before you visit the dealership.
The sales consultant will usually ask you questions about your lifestyle and driving habits. He or she will probably also ask how you’re going to pay for your vehicle. Let the sales consultant know up front that you’ve pre-arranged your financing already. Since you have your BlueHarbor loan in hand, you know exactly what you can afford Sales consultants work on commission and do not get paid if you walk away. If you’re uncomfortable with their suggestions, let them know that you would rather not purchase from them if they cannot accommodate your needs.
Presentation and Test Drive.
With knowledge of your particular needs, the dealer sales consultant will probably offer to present one or more models to you. This may be a formal presentation in the showroom, or a brief look at a vehicle on the dealer’s lot. This is your time to learn about the models the dealership offers. Ask lots of questions. Check out the models the sales consultant recommends, and don’t be shy about asking to see others. Test-drive vehicles that interest you. The sales consultant will accompany you on your test-drives to answer questions and to maintain compliance with dealership test drive policies.
Don’t see the car you want in stock? If you are happy with the dealership experience so far and you do not need a vehicle immediately, ask the sales consultant about ordering a new car. It is not uncommon today to “build-a-car” online and then order that exact car. If you have the time horizon and patience to wait for your new vehicle, this can be an excellent way to get exactly the car you want. Make sure you go to the dealership and test-drive the same model optioned as close as possible to the vehicle you want before ordering.
Accessories and Add-ons.
Your sales consultant or finance and insurance (F&I) representative will probably present a variety of factory and dealer installed options that you can add you your vehicle. Such items as upgraded audio systems, Bluetooth cellular phone packages, and specialty tires and wheels can add to your enjoyment of a new vehicle and enhance its long-term value. An extended service contract can add to your sense of security if you plan to keep the vehicle beyond its original factory warranty period or if you are buying a used vehicle.
You may also be offered such add-on products as paint sealant, rust proofing, VIN etching and non-factory alarm systems. Consider these add-ons carefully. While some of them can be quite useful or valuable, they will add to the total price of your vehicle and will increase your monthly payment if they are financed. Don’t buy anything that you don’t understand or don’t feel you need.
Once you decide on a vehicle, you’ll be ready to negotiate a deal. Though some dealerships offer “one-price” selling, where their best price on vehicles is available with no haggling, most still follow a negotiating process.
In some dealerships, you’ll negotiate with the sales consultant. In others, you’ll work with a sales manager or a finance and insurance (F&I) representative. Often, the person you negotiate with will need to check with a manager at key stages in the process.
Relationships pay off in negotiations, so try to build a good working relationship with the sales consultant or manager. Remember that dealerships give the best deals to their best customers. Repeat business matters to dealers.
Take your time and think through your offer. Check the numbers to be sure you’re getting a fair deal. If you feel rushed or uncomfortable, ask for a break. With your BlueHarbor sourced loan, you’re in control of the process. Have realistic expectations about what you can get and what it will cost.
Once you agree on the terms of your purchase, it’s time for the paperwork or contracting stage. You’ll probably be working with a new person here – the finance and insurance manager or business manager. The finance and insurance manager, commonly known as the F&I manager, often has a favorite lender and may ask if you’d like to switch your financing to that lender. He’s doing this because he makes commission off the loan from the lender he is recommending. Even if it sounds better, it likely will end up costing you more in the long run. Remember that your BlueHarbor provided loan is based on extremely competitive rates and terms. Check the numbers carefully. Make sure the price of the vehicle, and the value of your trade-in if any, stay the same when comparing the dealer’s loan offer. Also make certain that the terms of the loans are similar – you want to compare apples with apples. The BlueHarbor loan process is designed to put you in control by eliminating variables that can be difficult to understand and manage in the heat of the purchase. Be careful before ceding that advantage to the dealership.
Often, the dealership will be ready to deliver the vehicle the same day you buy it. In some cases, they may need to prepare the vehicle or install accessories that you ordered. That may take a few days, depending on what’s involved.
When you buy a new vehicle, you can expect the sales consultant to spend some time with you reviewing the vehicle’s warranty, showing you the owner’s manual, and explaining how to operate the vehicle’s various features and options. The delivery should also include a review of the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.
Before accepting the vehicle, look over the car over carefully. Check for dings and dents, ripped or dirty upholstery or leather, and things that just don’t appear right. Ask the dealership to correct any problems that you notice before you take delivery – they almost always will. If there are problems that can’t be fixed right away, or accessories that will be installed later, ask the sales consultant to write down a list and have it signed by the sales manager.
Service and Maintenance.
Many dealerships offer complete service and parts departments to help keep your vehicle in top condition. With a new vehicle purchase, the manufacturer offers a standard warranty that covers many things that could go wrong. In most cases though, you’ll have to pay for regular maintenance such as oil changes, filter replacements, and normal wear and tear items such as tires and brakes as long as those items are not defective in some way.
Ask about your dealer’s service department hours, and whether they offer (or require) phone or on-line appointments. Find out if they have loaner cars available while your car is being serviced. If you have specific questions about service, ask to speak with the service manager. Most dealers are more than happy to have you tour their service facilities.
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