© 2012 Aaron Atkinson

The Art of the Buy

Laura is in the market for a new car. She thinks she’s decided on the Prius. We go to the local Toyota dealership and each drive it for a few miles. Ken is our salesman. He’s pleasant in the car, just as he should be. But when I tell him that while we’re not going to buy one today, however we would like to work through a few of the numbers, before our eyes he turns from a sheepish test-driving salesman, to the wolf set on closing the deal.

Laura and I talked in the car on the way over to the dealership. She tells me that she doesn’t want to negotiate. That’s ok, I am. And I’m ready for his games…

Ken: You know, today is a great day to make a deal on a car. The sun is shining, gas is expensive, it’s the end of the month and the end of the quarter.

Me: Ken, I like the way you think. Today is a great day for you to make us a great deal on a car. Let’s start with Laura’s Civic. We’re thinking about trading it in. How much is it worth?

His guys check it out, he works the numbers and returns.

Ken: Well, it’s ten years old and it’s got a few door dings. So we’re prepared to give you $2000 for it.

Me: Ken, that’s insulting. Door dings? The car is worth more than double that. Heck, it’s worth more than $2000 just sitting in our driveway holding the cement down.

Ken: You know, you’re right. How about $3000?

Me: Better, but not good enough. No thanks. I think we’ve decided to sell it on our own.

His face sours. He’s sharp enough to know that he’s losing us on account of his bluff. But I don’t want to lose him quite yet either. This is kind of fun.

Me: So Ken, I’m going to cut to the chase. We are going to shop your best deal around. You’ve got one shot to give me your very best and final offer on how much you can take off that sticker price.

Ken: Well the lowest I can possibly go is $100 over invoice. That’s the price that I’d get it for if I bought one.

Me: How much does that take off the sticker price?

Ken: $1200.

Me: Not good enough, Ken. Laura’s uncle works for Toyota. I think we’ll go ahead and give him a call and see what kind of deal he can get us.

Ken: Ok, let’s assume I believe you about her uncle working for Toyota…

Me: Let’s not assume, Ken. It’s a fact. If we’re going to assume, let’s assume that you’re telling the truth about only being able to take $1200 off.

The tables have turned. His eyes narrow. He’s desperate and he plays one last card.

Ken: You know gas is only going to get more expensive. And when it does I’m not going to be able to make any sort of deal with you on that car. In fact, if you don’t buy soon, we’re not going to have any Priuses left on the lot.

Create urgency. I like it. But we saw this one coming.

Me: Ken, when do you think you’ll run out of cars?

Ken: Oh, I don’t know. May?

Me: May? So you’re telling me that if I want to buy a Prius in May, I can’t buy it here? I thought it was Toyota’s job to make cars.

Ken: All I’m saying is that it’s simple supply and demand.

Me: Ok. If we choose to buy a Prius this month, we’ll give you a call. But if it takes us 30 days to decide, I’m going to assume that you don’t have any more, and I’m going to buy one from another dealership.

Ken: No! You don’t want to do that. We offer a lifetime warranty on all of our cars.

Me: Ken, you just told me that you’re not going to have any cars. You know what, thank you for your time today.

We shake hands. His grip was a lot weaker than when we first walked in.

Back in Laura’s two, no wait, three thousand dollar car…

Laura: I hate car shopping.

Me: You do? I love it.

Laura: I can tell. And it’s twisted.




  1. Heath
    Posted April 27, 2012 at 2:41 am | #

    I love dealing on cars

  2. Aaron Atkinson
    Posted April 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm | #

    Your a man after my own heart, Heath. I enjoy it too. Especially when you don’t need to buy one any time soon. It’s a little bit like playing poker with five aces up your sleeve. 🙂

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