Churchill magazine

Meeting a car buyer? Read our tips.

Updated on: 23 September 2020

meeting a car buyer

Like it or not, that grumpy so-and-so kicking your tyres is a customer. Treat him (or her) as such and you stand a better chance of selling the car. However, you must always stay in charge of the situation.

Answer the telephone politely, answer questions directly and don’t flannel. If you are honest and straightforward you are more likely to hook a potential buyer.

When it comes to making an appointment don’t allow yourself to be trapped into an inconvenient time, or become a prisoner in the house waiting for someone to put in an appearance.

Always take the enquirer’s telephone number. Never make the appointment late in the evening, or agree to meet anywhere other than a familiar location.

Meet and greet

When the buyer arrives, be friendly and helpful and do not act as though you are desperate to sell your car. Don’t talk too much or fuss around the buyer. Crucially have all the documentation neatly presented.

As for the car simply ensure that all the doors are unlocked, raise the bonnet and leave the buyer to it, but don’t leave the keys with them! Then retire gracefully, stay in the vicinity, but let the buyer look around.

Don’t offer to do anything, like start the car or go for a drive, until they ask. Also, leaving them with the car makes it less likely that they will criticise and put you on the defensive.

  • DO make it easy for the buyer but stay in charge of the situation

  • DON’T fuss around, or crowd the buyer

Test drive

If the buyer wants a drive the most important thing to remember is that you should remain in control at all times. Make sure that you drive first, this is so you can show that the car can be driven smoothly and there are no problems with a crunching gearbox, juddering brakes or a sluggish performance.

Drive to a quiet road and invite the potential buyer to take the wheel. Under no circumstances should you ever leave the keys in the ignition if you get out to swap seats – this is a golden opportunity for a car thief.

Direct them along a local route which avoids built-up areas and school-run snarl-ups. Don’t babble. Silence often provokes favourable responses from the driver and they effectively begin to sell to themselves. Don’t make any observations on the car’s condition, which could later be interpreted as a misrepresentation.

  • DO drive first and stay in control

  • DON’T babble!

Making the deal

Be polite, low-key, and helpful. Never offer any reduction in price even if you think it will help to finalise the sale – until you have been asked that would be pointless. You will be giving something away for nothing. State the price and then be quiet, the silence puts the pressure back on the buyer.

When the buyer makes an offer, make sure you know what your profit bottom line is, the minimum you could accept to make it worth your while. Obviously never drop below that figure. When negotiating, don’t allow yourself to be chipped in price by £100s. Counter with smaller £25-£50 drops in price.

Use the benefits of your car to justify a higher price, such as the full service history, recent new battery or the alarm system, effectively the things that can’t easily be removed from the vehicle.

Golden rule: Never stop taking enquiries until you have been paid in full for the car.

For flexible car insurance, see what Churchill has to offer.

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