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How to Buy a New Mini -- The Art of the Deal

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How to Buy a New Mini -- The Art of the Deal

  #126  
Old 02-09-2017, 11:24 AM
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Word Tracks

Car salespeople who have undergone professional sales training have been taught to use “word tracks,” which are words and phrases that are repeated during the selling process with the goal of moving the customer toward a closed sale.

Some classic examples of word tracks are:

The opportunity today
Tell me more
Smart customers understand the real value
I’m sure we can get you where you want to be
This will make you happy
Let’s see what we can do to make it easy for you to buy from us today
Am I right?


Another form of work tracking requires the salesperson to listen to the customer’s words and then incorporate those words into the salesperson’s word track:

“You mentioned reliability and safety as two important things you need in the new car you’re hoping to buy from us today. Am I right about your interest in safety and reliability in your next new car?”

The above is an example of a world class word track wherein the salesperson incorporates the customer’s stated interest in reliability and safety into a trial closing statement that includes the “buy from us today” word track, injects “am I right,” and ends with a question that elicits a “yes” statement from the customer.

The psychology behind word tracking is that the power of suggestion is at work through the salesperson's careful placement of word tracks into the conversation. The salesperson appears to be seeking confirmation that reliability and safety are of concern to the customer but, underneath that, the word tracks “am I right?” and “buy from us today” are laid in and, while the customer thinks he/she is answering “yes” to his stated “interest in safety and reliability in your next new car?,” in reality, the skilled salesperson is coaxing the customer to affirm that the salesperson is right with the “am I right?” question as well as the “buy from us today” subliminal suggestion.

Does this mumbo-jumbo work?

Well, there are a lot of trainers out there making a lot of money by training dealership salesforces on how to listen and integrate customer statements into word tracks. And there is a lot of professional sales training material out there about the importance of selecting key words and phrases to use in closing a sale as well as key words and phrases to avoid using.

For example, when a professionally trained F&I “manager” sets up a customer for the presentation of a menu of add-ons as part of the “completing the paperwork” process, the skilled F&I person will avoid saying, “purchase, buy, add-on, additional cost” or any other term that alerts the customer that they are about to be asked to spend more money than they’ve already agreed to pay for the new car.

Instead, the skilled F&I presentation will be geared to confirm customer satisfaction, assure that the process will be fast, and will reassure the customer that the dealer wants to be sure the customer fully understands all of the paperwork and all of the details of the purchase.

F&I Pro: “Congratulations on choosing that beautiful red JCW. You’re gonna get a lot of people coming up to you admiring your new car. I can see from the numbers that you’re getting a great deal. Did we treat you right? Is there anything about your experience today that we need to address to assure you’re 100% satisfied?”

Customer: “It’s all good.”

F&I Pro: “It is all good, isn’t it? Let’s get right to it while they get your new JCW detailed and gassed up and ready for you to drive home. I see that you have Allstate insurance and that it’s current. Make sure you contact them as soon as you get home to get your JCW on the policy and take the car you’ve traded in off. This paper is the DMV form that transfers ownership of your trade to us and releases your liability for anything that happens to your trade from this moment forward. Just sign here and here and that makes us responsible for your old car starting right now. I’ll make sure you walk out of here with copies of everything you sign and if you have any questions, just ask. Okay?”

Customer: “Okay”

F&I Pro: “Okay. Now, we have an opportunity for you today that I want to make sure you fully understand. Your Allstate policy covers your new JCW, as does the excellent MINI warranty that comes with your JCW. There are a few things that aren’t covered by either your Allstate insurance or the standard warranty. We have a solution for you that I want you to be aware of because most people who step up to a car as nice as your new JCW want to protect their investment and want to keep their car looking and running just as nice as it is today when you drive it off our lot. I’d like you to look at these three options and after I explain the value offered in each one, I’d like you to tell me which solution makes the most sense to you.”

Customer: “I don’t plan on buying any of the add-ons.”

F&I Pro: “What I’m about to show you are some options that many customers choose to go with, once they learn about the value. Because our dealership is so focused on keeping our customers satisfied, it’s important to our owner that every customer be given the opportunity to consider the various programs we have. Here’s a summary sheet that has the best plans and I’ll just run through them with you quickly and you can tell me which solution makes the most sense to you.”

And with that, having repeated “makes the most sense to you,” and “opportunity” and “solution,” and having talked about “most people” being interested in “protecting their investment” in keeping their car “looking and running just as nice as it is today,” the menu of add-ons is presented to the customer, without any prices.

F&I Pro: “I’ve saved us some time here so we should have you out of my office just about the time your new JCW is ready for delivery. I’ve already prepared documents showing you how the various opportunities you’re considering will work for you. Here’s the selling price of the car and here are all the drive off costs. You see we’ve given you the MINI special finance rate and I’ve calculated it at 36 months, 48 months, 60 months and, here it is at 66 months. Notice, if you choose the 66 month option, your monthly cost is lower, including our best Platinum protection package, than the 60 month option without any protection. It gets even better if you choose the Gold protection package, which, quite frankly, is probably the better way to go, but it’s up to you. And, with the 66 month option, with all the Gold protection included, if you pay the amount you would have paid for the 60 month without any of the protection, you will own your JCW free and clear in less than 66 months and you will have all the Gold protection in place even after your car is paid off. Having the Gold protection may increase the resale of your car if you decide you’re ready for another new car then, and, with the special paint and interior protection that’s included, your JCW will be looking as good in 60 months as it does today. So which opportunity makes the most sense to you? $479 with no protection or $459 with the Gold protection with the opportunity to pay off the loan sooner?”

Notice, the actual price charged for the add-ons has never been mentioned.

Word tracks – tracks leading straight off a cliff.
 

Last edited by 2017All4; 02-09-2017 at 02:54 PM.
  #127  
Old 02-11-2017, 05:29 PM
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Long but Entertaining

Variables

What makes car deals and car deal-making so interesting are all the moving parts, or variables, that need to come together to make a satisfactory car deal.

Experienced sales people often say, “Let’s keep it simple,” or “I’ll make this real simple and easy for you.”

Fine. Give me high wholesale book for my clean trade or show me exactly and honestly why you need to knock down my trade’s value, sell me the new car at or near dead invoice (or below invoice if the manufacturer is putting serious back end money on the hood to move some units), offer me the add-ons I want for 10% over actual dealer cost, offer me the lowest available buy rate on the loan or the best factory lease terms for which I qualify, don’t pack the deal with any extra fees not required by law, throw in some incentives to keep me loyal to the dealership such as complimentary weekly car washes and a nice wax and buff for $25 with the first scheduled service visit and a free loaner anytime I bring the car in for service or warranty work, move me through the paperwork and delivery in a timely fashion – don’t rush through but don’t stall or try to upsell me when we’re trying to sign all the documents. That will make it real simple and easy for everyone. Oh, and look me in the eye and tell me you’ve done everything I’ve asked and then tell me how important it is if I will do the one simple thing of giving all top ratings on any surveys I receive. Which I will gladly do.

So, here’s what the simple and easy car deal looks like:

Customer: I’m here to see George. I spoke with him on the phone and made an appointment for this time. Please tell him Mr. Laydown is here to see him as promised.

George: Thanks for coming in and asking for me, Mr. Laydown. I had the Pepper White JCW we discussed on the phone washed and gassed up and pulled around to the front for you to look at and drive.

Customer: Great. Here are the keys to my trade. All the paperwork is sitting on the passenger seat, including my current registration, my insurance, and my payoff number I got yesterday from my lender.

George: Terrific. While we look at the new JCW I’ll have my used car manager go over your trade so when we get back from the test drive we’ll have all the numbers. No sense talking numbers while we’re out enjoying the drive. Do you have any questions about MINI, or the JCW line or anything else about how we do things here at Pennies from Heaven Motors?

Customer: Nope. Let’s do a quick walk around and go for a drive. Here’s my license.

George: Perfect. I’ll make a copy of your license and get the keys to the JCW. Why don’t you wander over to the car and start checking it out. I’ll be with you in less than 5 minutes. The car is unlocked. Feel free to sit in it, pop the bonnet and the boot and sniff around.

After the test drive:

George: Is this the one for you?

Customer: Yessir. Love the car. If the numbers line up we’re good to go today.

George: Is there anyone else who needs to approve of the deal on your end or can I tell my manager that you are the decision maker on this deal.

Customer: I’m it.

George: Good deal. Let’s go meet my manager and the three of us can sit down and pencil this all out. We don’t do F&I here. My manager and I will give you our best, honest numbers. You’ll see the actual invoice and we can show you our best price on any additional products you may wish to fold into the deal, then we’ll run the numbers and if they work for you, we’ll have the guys in the back do a final pre-delivery check of the car and hand you two MINI key fobs and you’ll be on your way. I told my manager we’d be in to see him about now, so we shouldn’t have to wait. You ready?

Customer: Let’s do it.

George: Let’s do it.

In the manager’s office:

George: Mr. Laydown, this is Honest John, my manager. Honest John, Mr. Laydown here has done his online research and has been looking and researching cars for about a month and he’s selected our dealership for his new car purchase. We’ve driven the Pepper White JCW and he’s ready to hear our best deal.

Honest John: Great. While you were falling in love with the new JCW we inspected your trade and my used car manager called three of our top local buyers. Your trade is clean and we confirmed your payoff. We don’t get many customers coming into our dealership looking for what you’re driving so we were able to get a higher value by reaching out to the dealer who sells what you’ve got all the time. Here’s his best number, and here’s the other two quotes from my other most reliable buyers. They’re all close but the first guy is $500 higher, so that’s the best number we can offer you. If you like, you can drive your car straight over to him and maybe if he sees the car himself he might go a few bucks higher. If it’s worth your time, he’s about two miles up the road and I can call him and tell him you’re heading his way. Otherwise, I’ll take the car and I’ll give you the price he quoted me sight unseen.

Customer: So, you don’t mind waiting while I run down and see the other dealer?

Honest John: Why don’t we do this. Let’s flesh out the best deal on the new JCW with or without the trade – in this deal the trade numbers won’t impact the final transaction cost of the new MINI. It will only determine how much trade value goes toward the down payment. If you decide you want to go see if you can get a few more bucks for your trade, we’ll prep the paperwork and have it ready for you and George can zip down and pick you up and you can just leave your trade with the other dealer.

Customer: Sounds good. Let’s do the deal if we can.

Honest John: Okay. Here’s the invoice on the JCW. We will sell it to you for $500 over this invoice amount and you get a sunshade or a MINI cap and coffee mug from our parts department thrown in plus every Saturday if it’s not raining we offer free car washes from 9AM to 4PM, first come first served and the earlybirds move through pretty fast and usually get free donuts and coffee. Also, when the computer in your car tells you it’s time for your first service visit, which is free, we include a full exterior detail with wax and we do a pre-delivery type interior cleaning, all at no charge. It’s worth about two hundred bucks.

Here’s a list of all the various extended warranty products offered through MINI USA and here’s a comparison of the third party products. If you’re at all interested in any of them we can go over the differences in detail for you. We mark them all up 10% over our cost and you can add them to the monthly payment or pay upfront by increasing your down. All the prices are right there on the information sheet.

The best subvented lease from MINI USA is a 36 month/10,000 mile per year offer which is at a great rate but the thing you should know about a lease is you need to return the car in near-new condition and the tires need to be high quality run flats like what’s on the car now and they can’t show much wear, and, of course, if you like to do modifications then leasing isn’t the best way to go unless you plan to remove the mods when you turn the car back in. If we fold in the MINI $925 lease fee, which is pure profit for MINI, you get the best money factor. We can eliminate the lease fee but the money factor goes up and it ends up costing you a little more over the life of the lease – like about $5/month more in your case. If you pay the lease fee as part of the drive-off it saves you money because you don’t have to pay interest on the fee, but you have to pony up the $925 up front.

And I’ll show you our best offer, assuming your credit is top tier. Should we run your credit now to confirm you qualify or do you want to wait until you see all the numbers? I hate to run credit until we have a deal because too many inquiries can impact your score.

Customer: I checked my FICO yesterday, it was 795 on the 850 scale.

Honest John: If that holds when we run it today, you’re qualified for the best rate. So, to get our best numbers for the lease and for the buy, just tell me what you want to do for the down and how long of a term you want me to show you, and if you want any of the extras. This way, the numbers take care of themselves and you know all the costs per month and the total cost of this transaction.



In this magical situation, the customer, having already done extensive research on line, knows that he’s being offered a killer deal. After Honest John prints out the numbers, the customer can agree to the deal as offered or the customer might say:

Customer: I understand where we are on the trade and your numbers square with my research. It might be worth a shot to go visit the dealer who is going to get my trade to see if I can get a little more. If you call him and tell him I’m on the way do you think it will take less than an hour?

Honest John: I’ll call him right now and see. Just remember, he is guaranteeing to pay me what I quoted you having not actually seen your trade. If you go see him and for whatever reason he decides having seen the car he can’t go as high, then whatever his number is, that’s what it will be and you’ll just sign the car over to him, he will handle the payoff, and George will come get you and bring you back here. If we do it all here, then you sign your trade over to us, we do the payoff, and the number stays where we quoted it to you just now, which is $500 more than either of my other two buyers.

Customer: You’ve got a point. Not worth the hassle and the risk and the complications for a maybe. Go ahead and write it up.

George: You want a Coke or something while Honest John does his thing? This takes about 15 minutes to get it all together.

Customer: Go ahead and do the lease without any of the extras and do a 60 month best rate loan with my net trade equity as the down and fold the two year deluxe Gold Package extended warranty into the 60 month deal since I plan to keep the car about 7 years if I decide not to lease. And run the same 60 month loan without the Gold Package so I can see the difference in monthly payment cost.

Honest John: Perfect. So we’re clear, with the best offer we have on your trade, the trade equity gives you $1,266 for the down. With your credit that should fly. It will make your payments higher and you will be paying more interest cost even on the best rate. It makes no difference to me, but if you throw in another thousand or two down, you’ll owe less and pay less per month.

Customer: Thanks. Let’s see how the numbers come out, and if you can, tell me how much less per month my payment would be for every additional thousand I put down. I’m gonna go use the rest room.



When the numbers are run, and now everyone is invested into the deal, there is one more chance to grind. The customer can look at the numbers and, for example, if he wants to buy the car and have a 60 month loan, he knows that every dollar he can shave off of the monthly payment saves him $60 because $1 times 60 months is $60. So let’s say the monthly payment is $566. The customer can say:

Customer: I think we’re almost there. I’m fine on the trade. I’m absolutely committed to keeping my trade equity as the full down payment. If you can get those 60 monthly payments down to $550 a month even, I’m ready to sign the deal.

In this case the customer has basically asked for a $960 additional discount, after seeing that the deal as offered is only $500 over invoice. Not likely to get this on this car at this margin, but if Honest John meets him half way, or even says the best he can possibly do is $559.99 on the payment, then the customer has just shaved off another $360 from the total transaction cost.

The customer doesn’t have to worry if there’s a little more in the trade or if there’s some invisible back end money or if there is anything else the dealer can move around. It’s the dealer’s move.

If the dealer holds firm, the customer can say:

Customer: After all this, we’re so close. Honest John. George. Please don’t let this deal collapse over a few bucks a month. How close to $550 can you get me with everything else staying the same?

Honest John: I think we are really at rock bottom here.

Customer: Well, my trade and $550 a month for 60 months max was the top of the high end for me and is stretching me beyond where I wanted to be. I agree that the Gold Package warranty at your great price is good if I keep the car as planned, so I need that. But we gotta get that monthly stroke down. Why don’t I take you up on that Coke, George and we can let Honest John do his magic and get me closer to where I need to be? I want the car and I’m looking forward to giving you all top scores on the CSI surveys and I will if we can get these numbers where I need them to be and get this deal signed and done. Come on George. Let’s get that Coke while Honest John does his thing.

At which point the customer gets up and starts leaving the manager’s office. There’s more than a 50% chance that payment will come down, at least a little bit more. After all, there is at least $500 of gross in play. Not to mention the back end money dealers hate to touch on any deal.

Moving parts. Playing with the variables. It’s what car dealers do best, so the wise customer makes the dealer do it, to the customer’s advantage, right down to every dollar in that payment.
 

Last edited by 2017All4; 02-12-2017 at 10:32 AM.
  #128  
Old 02-13-2017, 02:56 PM
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This thread is great, but the entitlement that everyone should get a car for invoice really rubs me the wrong way.

But hey, if you walk into the supermarket and demand to see the invoice for a gallon of milk... I guess so be it.

This 'invoice-chasing' sales tactic hurts everyone. It devalues the product, it costs the salesperson money, costs the dealership money, and costs the manufacturer money, which eventually drives up costs because they can't make enough money to cover manufacturing costs.

Would sure be nice if I didn't get paid on profit margin.
 
  #129  
Old 02-13-2017, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Zillon View Post
This thread is great, but the entitlement that everyone should get a car for invoice really rubs me the wrong way.

But hey, if you walk into the supermarket and demand to see the invoice for a gallon of milk... I guess so be it.

This 'invoice-chasing' sales tactic hurts everyone. It devalues the product, it costs the salesperson money, costs the dealership money, and costs the manufacturer money, which eventually drives up costs because they can't make enough money to cover manufacturing costs.

Would sure be nice if I didn't get paid on profit margin.
I, for one, COMPLETELY AGREE with you, Zillon. It is particularly brutal for those who, literally, make their money on the margins. It would be more reasonable for line salespeople to get some of the back end $ on tight margin deals. Somebody's getting paid -- it outta be the guy on the sales floor who has to take us maniacs for test drives

Where it gets complex is in the valuation of cars. As another thread explores, resale values for used MINIs, like so many other brands, drops quickly and drops A LOT. I have given the example of a 2008 $86,000 MSRP Jaguar I purchased as a CPO lease return less than 2 years after it was first leased. When I got the car it had 13,000 easy miles on it, it was absolutely flawless, the dealer added brand new tires and brake pads, the Select Edition Jag inspection/extended 6 year warranty, and I paid less than half of the original MSRP for what was essentially a new car.

So, we customers scratch and claw and grind off every dollar for a vehicle that drops in value the moment we drive it off the lot.

The entire thing is nuts.
 
  #130  
Old 02-13-2017, 04:50 PM
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How many people will actually do what is suggested in this thread? I suspect very few as it is complex and people buy MINI with emotions.

Dealers should just set a price and stick with it. Offer sales as needed to juice sales, most everyone would be happier.

I get all crazy about the price of a car and in the end if it cost $1000 more than the lowest price the dealer would sell it at not a big deal. It's the process that ticks me off and the finance people who I really have issues with. They get a double dose of sleaze training.
 
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  #131  
Old 02-13-2017, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Minnie.the.Moocher View Post
How many people will actually do what is suggested in this thread? I suspect very few as it is complex and people buy MINI with emotions.
So true. And for those who do approach a car purchase as a complex, high dollar, serious business negotiation, the result is the joy of the car at a good price.

HOWEVER, interestingly, it is often people who pay the most who report the greatest satisfaction with their purchase experience. Go figure! I wonder if it's because folks who lay down and pay full freight are treated with great courtesy and joyfulness by the dealer. Or maybe full-freight buyers are better able to just focus on getting the car they want and thus don't get caught up in trying to do any fancy dancing with a car dealer.
 
  #132  
Old 02-13-2017, 05:20 PM
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Post about Objections posted in General MINI Talk:

https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...ml#post4279696
 
  #133  
Old 02-13-2017, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by 2017All4 View Post
So true. And for those who do approach a car purchase as a complex, high dollar, serious business negotiation, the result is the joy of the car at a good price.

HOWEVER, interestingly, it is often people who pay the most who report the greatest satisfaction with their purchase experience. Go figure! I wonder if it's because folks who lay down and pay full freight are treated with great courtesy and joyfulness by the dealer. Or maybe full-freight buyers are better able to just focus on getting the car they want and thus don't get caught up in trying to do any fancy dancing with a car dealer.
People who don't haggle are more inclined to be happy carefree folks. They trust and take things at face value. I know plenty of them, wish I could relax a bit like they do, I'm learning!
 
  #134  
Old 02-13-2017, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Minnie.the.Moocher View Post
People who don't haggle are more inclined to be happy carefree folks. They trust and take things at face value. I know plenty of them, wish I could relax a bit like they do, I'm learning!
So what would be really great is if, when Mr. and Mrs. Happy Carefree showed up at a dealer to buy a car, they said "We'd like that red one over there. What can you do for us?"

And, in response, the salesman said, "Let's take it for a test drive. If you love the car and are ready to buy today and everything is in order with your credit and we can agree on a fair price for your trade in, which we need to value at about $3,000 less than you could sell it for yourself because we will need to recondition it and make a profit when we resell it, then I can tell you right now we can offer you $1,000 off of the MSRP of that new red car you pointed out over there, and we can sell you some additional warranty products if you would like which we price at 10% over our cost. We can get all of this done in less than 2 hours if you've got the time and are ready to go."

To which Mr. and Mrs Carefree say, "Let's do it and let's make it easy and fun for all of us and skip all the haggling. We know you won't cheat us on the trade and $1,000 discount is very generous and would work fine for us. Let's go for a test ride and you can get us familiar with that cute little red MINI."

And done.

IF, and I mean IF, the dealer doesn't low-ball the trade or pack the new MINI or bump the loan/lease rate, or upsell a warranty to a trusting couple who gets a new car every three years and only drives 10,000 miles a year, and, and, and....

Trust, but verify.
 
  #135  
Old 02-14-2017, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by 2017All4 View Post
So what would be really great is if, when Mr. and Mrs. Happy Carefree showed up at a dealer to buy a car, they said "We'd like that red one over there. What can you do for us?"

And, in response, the salesman said, "Let's take it for a test drive. If you love the car and are ready to buy today and everything is in order with your credit and we can agree on a fair price for your trade in, which we need to value at about $3,000 less than you could sell it for yourself because we will need to recondition it and make a profit when we resell it, then I can tell you right now we can offer you $1,000 off of the MSRP of that new red car you pointed out over there, and we can sell you some additional warranty products if you would like which we price at 10% over our cost. We can get all of this done in less than 2 hours if you've got the time and are ready to go."

To which Mr. and Mrs Carefree say, "Let's do it and let's make it easy and fun for all of us and skip all the haggling. We know you won't cheat us on the trade and $1,000 discount is very generous and would work fine for us. Let's go for a test ride and you can get us familiar with that cute little red MINI."

And done.
And that's pretty much the way I bought both Minis. Didn't hardly haggle on my trades (a 2001 Jeep GC that had some problems, and a 2007 MCS that didn't) paid list for the 2007 and got maybe $2500 of the JCW mostly dealer installed stuff. But I knew I'd not be able to find another JCW Coupe in that color with Recaro seats anywhere else. And the MA didn't bug me about extended warranties and the financing dude. Just sign the deal, get it washed, and go.
 
  #136  
Old 02-14-2017, 08:59 AM
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Why Go Through All This???

Minnie the Moocher makes a good point when he says, “How many people will actually do what is suggested in this thread? I suspect very few as it is complex and people buy MINI with emotions.”

Car dealers trained me to do it because of the games they play.

In the mid-1980’s Jeep came out with the Cherokee Limited. It was, at the time, very popular because it was the very start of the SUV craze and here was a solid 4 wheel drive rugged Jeep all yuppied out with nice leather and bells and whistles and a powerful straight 6. Had to have one.

I spotted a classified ad (yes, those were the days before the internet when you scanned the newspaper for car ads). The car advertised was a red Cherokee Limited with a few thousand miles on it for several thousand below what new ones were going for – supply was short and demand was high and they were packing them out the door at full MSRP plus mandatory dealer add-ons. Take the package or no Limited for you. Yet here was a fully loaded one, on a local dealer’s lot, at a nice discount.

My wife and I drive up to the dealer and tell the salesman we are interested in the Cherokee Limited and he says he only has two on the lot, both white ones and both new and fully packed. I ask about the red one and he says he doesn’t know anything about it – must have been sold.

We test drive one of the white ones with the salesman sitting in the back seat closing hard during the entire test drive. They get us into the office and “into the box” and we do a couple of back and forths and they aren't moving on price.

My wife thanks the salesman and says, “For the kind of money we’re talking about here we could get a Mercedes,” and she starts to rise from her chair.

I’m sitting in the chair next to her, closest to the door. As I start to get up from my chair a hand reaches around from outside the doorway and gently comes to rest on my shoulder and starts to press me back down into the chair. God’s truth!

The gentleman attached to the hand on my shoulder pops his head into the office and says, “Give me just a minute. I’m sure we can work something out that will make you happy.”

To make a long story shorter, they take us into the garage area and there, sitting pretty as could be, is the red Jeep that is the advertised special that got us into the dealership. I pull out the newspaper ad which I had in my wallet and confirm that the VIN in the ad is indeed the same as the VIN on the red Jeep we’re looking at.

An hour later we drove the red Jeep home at the advertised price. And we had to force the dealer to lower the interest rate because they tried to bump that on us as well.

One hears these wild stories. Honest professional car salespeople of today cringe when they hear this stuff. It happened to us. It is still trying to happen in old school dealerships all over this country.

The wealthiest people I know don’t lay down on car deals because, while everyone wants to focus on the joy of a new car, people I know don’t want to be reminded of how they got hoodwinked every time they look at their new car. They want to smile and feel the joy. Joy that many car salespeople do all they can to drain from the car buying experience.

Post Script: I actually returned to the “scene of the crime” and turned in the red Jeep a few years later and leased a new black one that was even better. I dealt only with the general manager of the dealership and, after telling him what happened with the red Jeep, he made very sure I had an excellent experience with the acquisition of that second Jeep. Which I did.

I also vowed that I would become a student of the car sales process and learn all I could about how it works. Horrifying as it has been to learn about the many tricks and manipulations and deceptions that are taught to car sales people by old school “pros” and trainers, I have also come to appreciate the difficult roles the line car salesperson is asked to play in how cars are sold.

It is my opinion that there are ways customers, by becoming informed, by being truthful and straightforward, and by preparing themselves to conduct a serious business negotiation in a direct and honest manner, can help the car selling process to be above board and, at times, fun and satisfying, and profitable, for everyone involved.

But don't ever try to convince me that $500 for paint sealer ('mop and glo', as it's called in the car biz) or 200% mark ups on extended warranties represent a good, or fair value for anyone. I'm just sayin'.
 
  #137  
Old 02-14-2017, 09:30 AM
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Listen to this, one of the funniest and most-enlightening hours of radio ever. Afterwards, check the "web gallery". Classic.

https://www.thisamericanlife.org/rad...e/513/129-cars
 
  #138  
Old 02-14-2017, 10:44 AM
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I wholeheartedly agree on finance managers, usually.

I would rather present options to customers myself and allow them to choose and ask questions and if the answer is no, the answer is no.

It should be as simple as that.
 
  #139  
Old 02-15-2017, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Zillon View Post
I wholeheartedly agree on finance managers, usually.

I would rather present options to customers myself and allow them to choose and ask questions and if the answer is no, the answer is no.

It should be as simple as that.
Well, you can't make this stuff up. Here's the latest, quoted directly from Automotive News:

With margins routinely squeezed on new vehicles, many dealers are relying on F&I sales to drive profits, but customers are often skeptical of the value of F&I products. By introducing those products on the showroom floor or in videos, dealers can educate customers on product value before they step into the F&I office.

More often, dealers have been holding the F&I product discussion on the showroom floor, said Eric Fifield, executive vice president of sales and acquisitions strategies at EFG Cos.

Salespeople should mention products as the customer walks through the showroom or does a test drive, and as the customer sits in the waiting area, dealers should play informational videos, he said.

“Video is one piece of that,” he said. “It’s just another tool or aid that helps with that transaction.”

A low-pressure video plants the seed with the customer, he said. “You’re tapping into getting the customer to think about … protecting their purchase.”

If customers already have been learning about service contracts, GAP protection, prepaid maintenance and ancillary products for 15 minutes, when the F&I manager begins the product conversation, it has become more familiar.

“It’s not a brand-new process,” he said. “They have been hearing it a couple times throughout the transaction.”

Most customers don’t want to watch a video of someone selling them something, said Dave Robertson, executive director of the Association of Finance & Insurance Professionals, but if the video is “properly crafted about customer care at the dealership … it’s an effective way to make a segue” from sales to the F&I office.

When dealers can explain the product visually before the buyer goes into the F&I office, “The customer has already been exposed to what these products are in a nonthreatening, casual environment,” Robertson said.

The introduction to F&I should happen when the customer agrees to buy a vehicle, said Marie Knight, vice president of strategic relationships at Zurich North America. The F&I manager should conduct a brief interview at the sales desk. Later, while the manager gets the paperwork ready, Knight suggests he or she play a product video in the F&I office. It keeps customers engaged, and if they have a question, the F&I manager is there to answer it.

“There is a lot of information given to customers in a very short amount of time,” Knight said. One of the benefits of giving them information early is that it “gives them a minute to review information outside of the pressure of the finance office and allows them an opportunity to do that without a salesperson.”

F&I product penetration increases and chargebacks decline when dealerships use informational videos, she said.

The next step is dealers putting those videos on their websites, Fifield said.
 
  #140  
Old 02-16-2017, 07:21 PM
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So I am getting ready to start this process. I want to get the JCW Clubman and want to follow the advice on here (THANKS!!). I am having trouble finding good information on pricing from places like Edmunds and TrueCar. Anyone have a good source so I can be a well informed buyer?
 
  #141  
Old 02-16-2017, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by zagman View Post
So I am getting ready to start this process. I want to get the JCW Clubman and want to follow the advice on here (THANKS!!). I am having trouble finding good information on pricing from places like Edmunds and TrueCar. Anyone have a good source so I can be a well informed buyer?
It is a bit tough with the new JCW Clubman model. The best you can do with Edmunds/True Car is to build a Clubman S All 4. They don't have the JCW pricing yet.

Another way to go is to build a car, or two on the MINIUSA site and use the standard formula to calculate approximate invoice:

1. Take the MSRP from your MINIUSA build, subtract the $850 shipping.

2. Take the MSRP less shipping and multiply that by .92.

3. Add the shipping back onto your 92% number and that's about invoice, give or take.


Now, on the JCW they don't put as much back end cash "in the trunk" for dealers.

But, on an ordered car, if you have more than one dealer in your region, you should be able to do invoice plus $1,000 minus any incentives. You'll have to call a dealer and find out what incentives, if any, there are. Usually its low interest rates or good lease residuals and .00132 -.00134 lease money factors.

Also depends on if you have a trade in, etc.

You can always PM Zillon who sells MINI's to get the scoop. Depending on your locale, he might be able to do something for you that's friendly.

I can also give you the name of a manager in SoCal who is up front with numbers. You could email your build to these guys to see what comes back.

Good luck.

Focus on the car more than the deal. These Clubbies are sooo much fun!

Good luck. PM me if you want my SoCal dealer contact.
 

Last edited by 2017All4; 02-16-2017 at 08:05 PM.
  #142  
Old 02-18-2017, 02:31 PM
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So, what are we really saying here???

This is the reality. Car dealerships are businesses designed to sell and service cars and they are in business to make money doing these activities. They are not non-profit charities. They do not hire social workers.

Sales managers build teams of people who are there to sell cars.

Service Department managers hire service writers who are motivated to provide decent customer service and to earn extra commissions by writing profitable service orders.


Sales managers are encouraged to provide training and guidance to their sales teams. They provide motivation through sales contests and incentives (spiffs) for selling cars and moving the metal out the door.

Historically, most of the sales training is focused on gaining and maintaining control of the selling situation through the use of various techniques designed to manage customer emotions and behavior with the goal of closing the sale while maintaining as much gross profit as possible.

Over the past few decades, gross profit margins have collapsed so that now the difference between invoice and MSRP is in single digits in many instances. Even on a $40,000 MSRP transaction, that leaves less than $4,000 in gross profit from which the salesperson gets paid, the sales management team gets the bulk of its bonus money, and all of the rest. Not a lot of wiggle room when one considers the massive overhead of a modern car dealership.

So manufacturers, in an effort to maintain sales and production volume, have resorted to all sorts of “back end” funding schemes as a means to get more money to the dealers – money that they try every way they can to conceal from customers.

And then there are rebates, special financial, lease deals, and other “front end” incentives designed to create the illusion that the retail customer is getting financial help from the manufacturer to fund a new car purchase.

In the case of MINI, for example, they charge a $925 “lease fee” and they might offer a $1,000 rebate, netting the customer a whopping $75.00 extra on a MINI lease. That’s right. The $1,000 rebate nets out to SEVENTY-FIVE whole dollars to help defray the lease cost of a new MINI when a $1,000 rebate is offered on the car.

We have also learned that if a dealer is using one of many popular selling systems pushed by national trainers today, the entire selling process, from the moment the customer contacts the dealer until the key fob is handed over and the customer drives off in a new MINI, is a disciplined, well-orchestrated sequence of behavioral interventions designed to close the sale.

According to the top trainers, a well-managed dealership sales program is a fully-integrated system wherein sales, service, parts, internet, receptionist, and after sale follow up are all disciplined, managed components of a professional selling process.

Of course, in reality, people are people and dealerships are not precision military operations. Discipline is often maintained by humiliation and threats and pressure, rather than mentoring and support and positive reinforcement training. In the most common practices, it is the threat of being fired for not “hitting the numbers” that is the primary motivation tool used.

So, as customers, we walk past the balloons and banners and stare longingly at the shiny metal, looking forward to making the MINI of our dreams our own, while, on the other side, the sharks are smelling blood and everyone at the dealership is pumped up, usually because a screaming manager has put the fear of god into them, and they are ready to pounce.

We must respect the incredible self-control the line salesperson uses to suppress all of the anxiety and fear as he or she patiently answers customer questions, goes for the test drive, and sits down to calmly work out some preliminary numbers that someone sitting at “the desk” or in “the sales tower” will re-write and manipulate and juggle around until there’s a handshake and money changes hands.

Knowing these dynamics are in play, to greater or lesser degrees, depending on the dealership’s management philosophy and the skill and professionalism of the sales team, is what gives the sophisticated and informed customer the opportunity to create a successful sales transaction at a fair and reasonable price.

The choice for the informed customer really comes down to heartbeats. If a customer can’t be bothered, then buying a new car is easy. Go in, pick out the one you want, pay the amount the salesman tells you to pay, accept whatever they offer for your trade, agree to some add-ons, sign the papers, and get on your way. Simple and, worst case, you pay a few grand more than you probably need to. But if that doesn’t matter, easy-peasy and you’re put together and done.

Some of us don’t run our lives that way. We have been rewarded for learning, and planning, and using mental and emotional discipline and focus to achieve clearly defined goals. Those who function in this mode do not have stressful experiences at dealerships. Rather, they have experiences ranging from amusing to gratifying. And, almost always, they end up paying less than others for new cars.

Wherever you are on the range between “can’t be bothered/okay to pay more” to “Squeeze the last dollar out of the deal,” there is an opportunity waiting for you in a dealership near you.

Aristotle philosophized about the golden mean, that magical space somewhere between the extremes. Most of us fall in there somewhere. We give a little, we assert a little, we get a decent deal, we leave a bit on the table for the next customer.

I admit that I function more along the lines of the philosopher Kierkegaard, who said purity of heart is to will one thing. I know that’s how the dealership’s sales team is thinking. They want one thing, a closed sale. And I want to give them what they want… on my terms as much as possible.

So, with a relaxed and easy style, knowing the numbers and knowing I can always walk away if the deal gets weird or the pressure tactics get particularly nasty:

I tell the salesperson right upfront what I want to say yes to;
I stay focused on my goal and keep the numbers clear and in front of me;
I ask, politely and clearly, over and over for as many times as it takes, for what I want;
and I give the dealer the opportunity to provide it for me.

This has worked, with varying degrees of success, every time. Sometimes it’s a good deal, sometimes it’s a killer deal. Once, on the last day of the month and the last day of the quarter at the end of the model year, the dealer offered me a truly once-in-a-lifetime insanely good deal just to move that one final unit that would put their store over the top for some big bonus money. That deal was more about luck than about my skill.

Usually, it’s about snagging all available rebates and specials and getting the sale price down to where the dealer makes a few bucks, gets 10’s on the CSI survey, moves a unit, and I drive away in a car I love at a really good price and value for me.

How do you do it?
 

Last edited by 2017All4; 02-18-2017 at 02:37 PM.
  #143  
Old 02-18-2017, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by 2017All4
How do you do it?
Pretty brief answer for me. When I went in to test drive a Clubman S and a four door Hardtop S back to back so I could decide which I wanted, the MINI dealer had a tarted up four door on the floor ... that wasn't selling. Turned out the particular combo they had ordered — Volcanic Orange + premium package + JCW exterior — wasn't very attractive to the local market. Had been sitting there for a year.

Talked to my sales guy about the cars, was up front that I wasn't planning to buy for a few weeks because I was about to go on a 2-week vacation, met his manager because that's how it works , and assured my sales guy (unprompted) that if I bought it would be though him because I respect the time investment he had made into working with me.

Went home, talked with my spouse. Did some calculations. Next morning, sent an email to sales guy and laid it out: my budget was fixed, I'd like to buy that tarted up floor model, here's what I'd like to pay all-in, do the deal and I'll come get the car Friday. My offer was for MSRP less 12%.

I bought the car on Friday.
 
  #144  
Old 02-18-2017, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by bratling View Post

Went home, talked with my spouse. Did some calculations. Next morning, sent an email to sales guy and laid it out: my budget was fixed, I'd like to buy that tarted up floor model, here's what I'd like to pay all-in, do the deal and I'll come get the car Friday. My offer was for MSRP less 12%.

I bought the car on Friday.
Qualifies as a killer deal done right in my book
 
  #145  
Old 02-21-2017, 06:29 AM
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I live in the Seattle area. Here we have two dealerships, both owned by the same group. When I bought my 2010, I went through all the hoops trying to get a better deal, and was told flat out- we never discount MINIs. I went to the other dealership just to see for myself, and got the same answer.

I tried my best but ended up walking out- hoping that the salesman might have some sort of "deal" he could pass on to me and contact me later. No call for several weeks. (Those were the days when MINIs did sell at MSRP as a normal practice at many dealers according to this forum)

I fell in love with MINIs after spending a fair time at the dealers, and a few months later MINI offered a $1500 rebate and I ordered a car exactly how I wanted it.

Not sure if the dealers here budge more now- I feel like they must with all the competition from other small cars.
 
  #146  
Old 02-21-2017, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by bratling View Post

Went home, talked with my spouse. Did some calculations. Next morning, sent an email to sales guy and laid it out: my budget was fixed, I'd like to buy that tarted up floor model, here's what I'd like to pay all-in, do the deal and I'll come get the car Friday. My offer was for MSRP less 12%.
I bought the car on Friday.
You got a great deal IMO. The fact that the call had been unsold for awhile probably helped on the price. I should have driven a harder bargain for mine, which had been on the lot for 9 months when I bought it. Coupes weren't selling well, and JCW's cost a lot more. Sticker was $41k including the "dealer add-ons", which I didn't pay for. I only got like $3k off mine. I think I paid sticker for my 2007.
 
  #147  
Old 02-21-2017, 12:54 PM
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As I've stated before, the 8% number that has been repeated in here several times is not the 'true invoice.'

True invoice is more around the 5-6% mark. Just a food-for-thought for everyone to consider.

5-6% is a great deal. Anything beyond that should be considered a fantastic deal. Right now there isn't much in terms of incentives from MINI, aside from a current $1000 loyalty offer that's good thru the end of February.
 
  #148  
Old 02-21-2017, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Zillon View Post
As I've stated before, the 8% number that has been repeated in here several times is not the 'true invoice.'

True invoice is more around the 5-6% mark. Just a food-for-thought for everyone to consider.

5-6% is a great deal. Anything beyond that should be considered a fantastic deal. Right now there isn't much in terms of incentives from MINI, aside from a current $1000 loyalty offer that's good thru the end of February.
Thanks for weighing in, Zillon. So, whatever the "real invoice" is, would $1,000 over invoice on an ordered JCW Clubman, less any applicable incentives, be a do-able deal in today's marketplace?

Also, I've been hearing rumors that MINIUSA moved away from the rebates they had last fall and are now just passing back end $ quietly to dealers attached to volume incentives, so that dealers are being encouraged to offer "specials" on their own web sites on a small number of selected cars. Any truth to this?

Also, it is interesting that special finance rates and national lease deals are no longer published on the MINIUSA web site. So now it appears that consumers must rely on dealers to provide info on best available rates.

What I'm seeing is that dealers don't provide a lot of detail about the deals they do offer, making it difficult for consumers to do much front-end calculation. Which is fine, if the dealers are honest and forthcoming, and don't do the F&I two-step and obfuscate the numbers.
 
  #149  
Old 02-21-2017, 04:57 PM
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Lol, ALL 4- gotta love your last sentence.

Btw - what is your background that you have acquired this automotive purchase wizardry?
 
  #150  
Old 02-21-2017, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Minnie.the.Moocher View Post
Lol, ALL 4- gotta love your last sentence.

Btw - what is your background that you have acquired this automotive purchase wizardry?
What can I say, I've bought a lot of cars over the years and have had many adventures in car dealerland. One tries to learn from the experiences one has.

My professional background is in the behavioral sciences. Thus, the process always fascinated me, especially when I observed salespeople try sometimes clumsy and sometimes amazingly slick and polished attempts to use "psychology" on me.

I have also had the good fortune to have deep conversations with several dealership general managers as well as line salespeople who have been surprisingly candid in response to my questions. People like to talk about themselves -- especially salespeople who often feel dumped on and misunderstood. Ask the right questions and answers are often forthcoming.
 

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