“How did you go at the dealership?”
“Not great.”
“How so?”
“It just didn’t feel like they were listening to me. I told them what we were after and the fellow I talked to completely ignored half of my questions.”

Has this ever felt like you? Have you been in the situation before where you’ve been looking for a solution and the one you were provided with just didn’t match the questions you were asking? When the matter in question is a meal ingredient or the type of glue to use for a weekend project, the result can be mild frustration or disappointment. A vehicle purchase, however, has a lot more riding on it. It’s the kind of investment that lasts years and ensures the safe and proper carriage of yourself, your family, and your stuff. So, how do you make sure the folk who are selling you a car understand what you’re actually after?

Communicating Needs

There’s a rising trend in folk who purchase cars today to research different makes and models before ever visiting the dealership. There’s pretty logical reason for this too – there’s now so much information that we can research online, and if we’ve already got a good idea of what we’re after, that means we can even the playing odds against the ‘used car salesman’ fellow.

But what do you do with all that information once you’ve got it in front of you? How do you condense all the factors that make up the ANCAP safety rating into a list of priorities that you can take to the dealership and then clearly communicate in order to find the kind of vehicle that best suits you?

The first step is to nut out those priorities, and work out what ranges are acceptable for you. Here’s a list of things to work out:

  • Price range (roughly how much are you looking to invest? Are you looking to purchase outright or are you going to pay things off over time?)
  • Age of vehicle (If you’re purchasing a brand new vehicle, this is going to be a little easier, but if you’re looking at a second-hand option, what age range do you have in mind?)
  • Range of accumulated kilometres (and the amount of wear and tear you’re already expecting on the vehicle)
  • Average number of passengers
  • Expected terrain/environment (A hatchback isn’t going to hack back-country territory, and an SUV isn’t necessary for inner city living)

The next hurdle to overcome is making sure that these needs make it through to your point of contact.

Getting The Point Across

Of course, working out what you’re after can only be half the battle when it comes to navigating the world of vehicle acquisition. The world of car dealerships can be a hard one to make your voice heard in, and that’s because for a long time, the main place where you’d go to learn about the latest new or most faithful used car would be the dealership, particularly if you weren’t a ‘gearhead’ to begin with. The industry’s been used to working with folks who’ve known less and to its detriment, has been slow to change. But it needs to.

So what do you do?

If you’ve got a list of your needs worked out, use your interactions with dealerships to help work out what final decision would work best for you. If your needs are indicating that you should look for a sedan or a station wagon, use the time on the floor to check the candidates and see what would best suit.

Be firm with your needs, but be willing to hear out the suggestions of your point of contact (as long as they add to what you’re looking for.) If you’re after something in x price range, and they’re suggesting something that’s a little north of that, then check out why. Perhaps the range for budget and k’s that you’re looking for will serve up a vehicle that will shortly need a major service, and they want to help you navigate around that sneaky cost. Perhaps the sales team can prove to you that the option they suggest has a better safety rating than the vehicle you initially had in mind.

Weigh carefully any suggestions against your needs, but take them with a pinch of salt. There’s always going to be a little bit of a bias going on with a car salesperson.

So, How Are We Any Different?

At Manning Valley Automotive, we’ve come to the realisation that folks who come to visit us like to already have a clear picture of their solution in mind. This means a couple things for us – we’re much better off helping you find the right solution for your needs as opposed to pushing this or that purchase. We’re also going to be more helpful to you if we seek to understand your needs and therefore, what the right solution is going to be.

If you’re still working out what your needs are, if you’re looking for something that might fit those needs, or if you want to talk to us about a particular option that you think is best, then feel free to contact us. Our goal is to deliver the highest quality service and to find the right solution for you, so we’d be keen to chat.