Children are expert negotiators. Give them the chance, and they will negotiate everything: bed time, snacks, homework, dinner, fun, and so on. In their child-like minds, of course, they are only in it for themselves. They do not care who else wins or sufferers, as long as they get their way. When my youngest was 3 years old, he had one-word negotiations. He would march into a room and yell, “Snack!” and expect the world to stop rotating while somebody got him his cheese and crackers. My older children are sneakier about how they “negotiate” (dare I say manipulate?). Imagine getting woken up at 3:35 in the morning to be asked, “Can I watch Netflix?” Children can figure us adults out rather quickly. They are always trying to negotiate things to their advantage. If you are going to sell your vehicle for top dollar, you are going to have to negotiate the price and terms of the sale.
There are 2 indispensable elements of negotiation. Without both of these things, you end up with nothing and worst and manipulation at best. First and foremost, in order to have negotiation, you have to have commitment. In order for there to be actual negotiation, there must first be 2 committed parties. In the case of negotiating the price and terms of your vehicle sale, you have to be committed to selling it, and somebody else has to be committed to buy it. Closing and negotiating are 2 separate things. If you do not have a committed buyer in front of you, you may as well set up a mirror in front of yourself and negotiate in the mirror, because the only person you are negotiating with is yourself. As you can see, there is an order and process to selling your car. If you are going to sell it for top dollar, you have to follow the steps in order. First get a commitment to buy, and then negotiate the price and terms of the sale.
What do you do if someone wants to negotiate before committing to buy your vehicle? The easiest thing to do is simply remind your customer that pricing does not matter, if he does not like it. Say something like, “I understand that you're concerned about money. We all are. -nothing else matters. Am I right? ” Your customer will almost always agree with this statement. It is the truth, and there is no logical way around it. Nobody is going to pay for something he does not like. This word or something similar will bypass premature negotiations almost every time and allow you to continue showing the vehicle.
Not only must there be 2 committed parties for successful negotiations, both sides have to win something. This is where children most often get it wrong. They're in it for themselves and nobody else. They have to be taught to look at the bigger picture. For negotiations to work, everyone has to win. I played basketball in high school. I can tell you that nothing upset me more than losing. I sacrificed when I lost at Monopoly until I was at least 12 years old. Nobody likes losing. So in negotiations, having winners and losers is a very bad thing. The reality is, either sides sides win or both sides lose. There is no middle ground. If you are going to successfully negotiate, both you and your customer need to leave the negotiations feeling like winners.
There is no hard and fast rule for how negotiations run, when you are selling a vehicle. It will be different with each customer. Some customers are like children. They want what they want, and there is no reason with them. Some customers will believe anything you tell them or show them on paper. Most customers just want to make sure they are getting a fair shake on the deal. They way most people do that is to ask for price concessions. As a private seller, that is about the only thing you have to concede. So be prepared to negotiate the price.
Here is how to do it and retain money (most of the time). First, do not be afraid of your price. You know your market. You've prepared the vehicle and priced it right. Stand by it. Ask for all the money, and wait for your customer to respond. It is vitally important not to speak until after your customer says yes, no, or counters. If the customer counters, do not accept the offer, even if it is reasonable. Counter with an offer of your own. Only move in increments of $ 50 – $ 100. This will build value in the price you originally asked. Usually about the 3rd time, your customer will accept an offer. That is not a hard and fast rule. The main thing is that your counter-should move in small amounts, not large amounts. As long as the customer feels like he has negotiated and gotten some concessions, he will feel like a winner. And you are getting a price reasonably close to what you originally asked; so feel like a winner.
There is one other issue to discuss. Once you have agreed on a price, the customer has to pay you for the vehicle. You need to have it firmly settled in your mind what payment you will accept. Here are some dos and don'ts about receiving payment.
1) DO NOT offer to finance a vehicle, unless you are prepared to re-possess it. There is a great deal of liability involved in financing a vehicle. Unless you are well-versed on the particulars and have a written contract, this is an option you should never consider.
2) DO NOT release the vehicle to your customer until the check or money order clears your bank. If you decide to accept a personal check or money order from your customer, make it clear that you will release the vehicle, once it clears.
3) DO NOT accept vehicles in trade, except the customer has a clear title. If you do accept a trade, do not release your vehicle to your customer, until you have the clear title to the trade in your hands.
4) DO NOT accept credit cards or traveler's checks as payment. The potential for fraud is too great.
5) DO accept cashier's checks, with the same caveat as a personal check. It has to clear, before you release the car. The turn-around on this is faster than personal checks, but you still need to beware of fraud.
6) DO accept cash. This is by far the safest medium of exchange for your purposes. I would urge you to consider only accepting cash as a form of payment. Every other form can be forged or tied to fraud. As long as you follow these precitations, you will alleviate many sleepless nights and headaches.
We have covered much ground in this series. We have discussed how to recondition a vehicle so that it is ready to sell; how to price it to sell in a particular market; how to market it successfully at minimum cost; how to convince a customer to buy it; how to negotiate terms, price and receive payment for the vehicle. If you have followed this whole series, you may have discovered that selling a vehicle on your own is a major pain in the neck and fraught with potential liabilities and even potential physical danger. You may be wondering if there is another way to sell your vehicle that is much safer and simpler. There is: trade your vehicle in for another one or sell it to a dealer.
The trade-off, of course, with selling your vehicle to a dealer or trading it to a dealer is that you will not get as much for it as you would if you sold it yourself. The reason is that the dealer will have to prepare it for sale, price it competitively, market it, and sell it for a profit. The dealer will have to do the steps that you would have done, if you were to sell it yourself. This is why trade-in values are always less than private sale or retail values. The dealer also incurs the risks to safety and liability that you would have incurred, if you were to sell it yourself. These are all things that a dealer has to weigh and manage when it buys a vehicle. The difference is, as a business entity, a dealer is better equipped to deal with these things than you are as a private seller.
If you are planning to sell your vehicle, you owe it to yourself to at least receive quotes from dealers, before deciding if it is worth it to sell it on your own. If you are planning to replace your vehicle with a different one, you especially need to discuss this with a dealer before trying to sell it on your own. Most states offer tax savings to people who trade in. Because of this, the real value of your vehicle in trade is its market trade value PLUS the tax savings. Often, this can amount to what you can sell it for privately. I had someone call me the other day and tell me that he sold his truck privately for $ 14,500. When we figured his trade value and tax savings, the total was $ 14,850. He cost himself $ 350 by selling it on his own. Whether you want to sell your vehicle or replace it, your first step should always be talking to a dealer. If you do, you can often save yourself time, money, and the many headaches of selling it yourself.