Yesterday we went to Indianapolis with two purposes in mind. The first was to get a new battery from the Apple store for our old computer which would no longer turn on. While we were in the Apple store we also were to take a class on Numbers software. The second purpose was to look for a replacement for my aging mini-van.
We have been car shopping for several months now. Country Guy loves to do that. He spends much time researching the appropriate price to pay by looking up the value of our present car at Edmund's and/or Kelley Blue Book, so he will know how much the car dealership should allow on a trade in. He researches all the rebates and kick-backs the dealer and or company is offering, then he determines what options he wants on the vehicle and discovers the sticker price for all those options. (This research is much easier now because of the information available on the Internet. He used to buy books and visit car dealerships to determine these facts before he was ready to go car shopping.) When he has all this information he searches the data bases of car dealerships on the Internet to see if they have any vehicles with that sticker price because he knows those will have the options he is looking for. After he has done all this it is time to visit those dealerships which have those exact vehicles sitting on their lot to test drive a few and to begin negotiations.
Country Guy says the key to getting a great deal on a car is to know how much you are willing to pay, and to have a pretty good idea of how much the car dealership can sell the car for and still make a profit. If you can stick to these facts, be patient, and be willing to walk away from the deal if they do not accept your offer you will come away saving yourself several thousand dollars. The "sticking to these facts" is the part that makes me uncomfortable. I don't mind walking away and never allow myself to get into the "gots-to-have-it" mode, but I feel much tension as the time spent in the dealership increases and Country Guy continues to state the amount he is willing to pay, and sticks to it even as the salesman tells him, "we just can't do that"; "we can't even buy a car for that price"; "there is nothing left for us if we sell it for that price"; "let me see if I can get a little more out of your trade-in but you're going to have to work with me"; "can't you help us out here with a little more money"; "let me take your offer to the boss one more time but I'm sure it is impossible", etc. etc. etc. When you're negotiating with Country Guy this takes several hours so you also have to have much patience. He is excellent at this so I begin feeling sorry for the salesman. After the salesman has come down in price significantly, but not to Country Guy's range, I begin thinking we should compromise a little. I may even suggest this in private while the salesman is checking with his boss after Country Guy's latest refusal of their offer. (Note: if you are with someone who is negotiating always make sure this suggestion is made in private or expect much wrath from the negotiator.) Country Guy always reminds me this is just part of the procedure, and continues to hold his ground.
He had made this offer previously to 3 or 4 car dealerships in the past few months, so I was not very hopeful this negotiation would produce a new car either. But we choose to believe that when an offer is turned down that car wasn't the one for us and so we wait for a new one to come on the scene. This approach has always paid off for us. Saturday I became the owner of a beautiful new silver mini-van with gray and black interior and a sun roof which had not been in any of the other vans we had looked at. I am thrilled with it. We have to go back to Indy to pick it up this week, so we're planning to take another class at the Apple store. Isn't it amazing how the Lord really does cause all things to work together for our good when we trust Him?
FYI: Country Guy purchased the car for several thousand dollars under invoice. He really seems to enjoy this process and is excellent at it, so if any of you need a good negotiator, give him a call. I told him it is too nerve-wracking for me so would it be all right if I stay home next time? He agreed that I could. I don't think I'm an asset in the negotiations. By the time they're over I am way too sympathetic to the car dealership. :o) Country Guy reassures me that they wouldn't willingly give a car away so I can be certain they also made a profit in the process. I know he's right, but the process to me is agonizing.
After the offer is finally accepted Country Guy wonders if he paid too much.