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Confessions of a Car Salesman

…the system was not set up for educated people who thought for themselves, it wasn’t to help customers make informed decisions. The system was designed to catch people off guard, to score a quick sale, to exploit people who were weak or uninformed.

And of course, they use a lot of subtle psychological hacks to achieve this.

“When you negotiate, this sheet should be covered with numbers,” Michael said. “It should be like a battleground. And I don’t want to see the price dropping five hundred dollars at a pop. Come down slowly, slowly. Here I’ll show you how.”

The process begins by asking the customer how much they want for a monthly payment. Usually, they say, about $300. “Then, you just say, ‘$300… up to?’ And they’ll say, ‘Well, $350.’ Now they’ve just bumped themselves $50 a month. That’s huge.” You then fill in $350 under the monthly payment box.

Michael said you could use the “up to” trick with the down payment too. “If Mr. Customer says he wants to put down $2000, you say, “Up to?” And he’ll probably bump himself up to $2500.” Michael then wrote $2,500 in the down payment box of the 4-square worksheet.

Scarcity

Then we filled in the information about the car on the 4-square. We then picked up the phone and called the tower. Michael held his hand like a phone receiver with his thumb and little finger sticking out. “You say, ‘Yes sir. I have the Jones family here with me and they have just driven a beautiful new whatever model, stock number blah blah blah.’ Then you say, ‘Is it still available?’ Of course you know it is. But you want to create a sense of urgency. So you pause, then say to the customer, ‘Great news! The car’s still available!’

Create the illusion you work for the customer.

“But here’s the beauty of this system,” Michael said, “these numbers aren’t coming from you — you’re still the good guy. They’re coming from someone on the other end of the phone. The enemy.”

Avoid even numbers

“Here’s another thing. Never give the customer even numbers. Then it looks like you just made them up. So don’t say their monthly payment is going to be $400. Say it will be $427. Or, if you want to have some fun, say it will be $427.33.”

Tempt them

They never go for a demo if you ask them. ‘Cause they know they’re weak. If they drive it they’ll buy it. The feel of the wheel will seal the deal, my friend. So you got to kidnap them, man. Just slam the door and take off. Come on, let’s go.”

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