Step 3: How a Smart Salesperson Negotiates
So you've decided to sell your car to a private party and you're thinking about placing an ad online on eBay Motors or in the local paper.
Once you have placed your ad, get ready for the calls and emails. All buyers will have questions; are you prepared with answers? You may have an idea of what you need to say, but it's easy to get sidetracked by odd questions. You could be approached by a caller who tries to set you up for a lowball negotiation or by an outright scam artist. By following a simple plan, you can avoid such traps and take charge of the negotiating process so a fair deal for both parties can be reached. Know What to Say
You may not think memorizing a script is necessary, but take a tip from the pros and create some notes you can refer to when you're on the phone with a prospective buyer. The main idea is to write down things about your car and go over them, becoming comfortable with the facts and understanding what information you and the potential buyer need to exchange. Describe the Car
Ask the caller's name and use it to personalize the transaction for both of you. You'll have to be prepared to discuss the year, make, model, mileage, color, type of upholstery, the sound system, condition of tires, service history, any crashes in which it was involved, any extras and accessories -- in short, anything and everything about the car. If you aren't sure what the upholstery color is called or if your stereo is considered premium sound, find a dealer near you
and ask it for assistance, as these kinds of details may make or break a sale. Describe the vehicle in a positive manner but don't leave out obvious negative points the potential buyer is going to notice right away, anyway. Discuss Service History
If you have all of the service records, let the buyer know. If not, try to find as many as possible. Records of any recent work will help, but only if you know how many miles or months ago the work was done. Proof that you've cared for your vehicle adds to its value. Admit to Accident Repairs
Be honest about any paint or bodywork. You don't have to describe every little ding unless there are a lot of them, but you should definitely tell a caller if there has been major accident damage. Be prepared to show proof that it was repaired properly.
You may also want to put the buyer's mind at ease by providing a vehicle history report. An AutoCheck Vehicle History Report
may identify major problems, including past accidents, flood damage, odometer discrepancies and the existence of a salvage title. You may want to obtain an AutoCheck Report
on your vehicle, then provide a copy of it to each prospective buyer. You don't want to be caught off-guard if a buyer arrives with his or her own AutoCheck Report
and then informs you about a problem or discrepancy in the car’s history. Be There, Be Ready
If you really want to benefit financially from selling your car yourself, you need to make the commitment and take the responsibility to be there, ready to answer the phone and show the car. This will mean weekends spent near the phone, and weekend and evening appointments to talk to and meet the buyers. If you choose to take off all day Saturday because you want a little time at the beach, and you don't get back home until late, then most of your potential buyers will be talking to your answering machine instead of you. And, while they're waiting to hear back from you (after your day at the beach), they'll find something else to buy.