What to do after the test-drive

So, now you’ve been on the road and tested a vehicle. You’ve evaluated the many different factors and offerings of the car. And you might find yourself pretty enthused at the car you just drove. Once you’ve returned to the dealership from your test-drive, it is likely that a salesperson will try to push you to start the process of buying the car. That’s their job, after all. But, no matter how happy you are with the test-drive, now is probably not a good time to start the negotiation process. Stick to your plan and move on with your other test-drives. If this was your final test-drive, then it’s just about time for you to go home, sit down, and review your findings. As my old pappy used to say… “never buy a car when your emotionally caught up”… Thanks, Dad.

So what do you do after the test-drive?

One final step to take before you go home is to evaluate the dealership and the salesperson.

How’s that dealership treating you?

In all relationships, first impressions are lasting impressions. This statement holds true for business relationships as well. Some things to think about… Were you well treated and respectfully serviced at the dealership? Did you feel pushed to buy or were your interactions with the salesperson natural and comfortable? How was the “honesty quotient” of the sales process? These and other questions are important to ask yourself because once you buy a car from a dealer, you may need to deal with him or her again in the future.

Test-driving vehicles with a number of dealerships gives you a good dealership-evaluation and comparison opportunity. Don’t settle and buy from a dealership with poor customer service. Low prices usually won’t compensate you for a bad experience with a particular dealership. As with all businesses, salespeople should treat you with integrity and respect – this should hold true with dealerships. Unfortunately, there are a number of times in which salespeople will not uphold the standards of business that they should. So, evaluate each dealership just as you would evaluate the car you are considering purchasing:

  • Did you get all the information you needed or did the salesperson avoid giving some of the information you requested?
  • Did the dealership offer references or did they respond well when you requested references?
  • Was the salesperson responsive to your questions or did he/she seem to “dodge” some of them?
  • Was the dealership clean and well-kept with a feeling of professionalism?
  • Were you treated in a respectful and polite fashion by the salesperson?
  • Were you uncomfortable or uneasy in any part of the process?
  • Was it easy for you to arrange the test-drive or did you have to jump through hoops to arrange one?
  • Are you confident that the dealership will help you after the sale with problems or issues with the car?
  • Did the salesperson use pressure sales-tactics or aggressive closing techniques trying to get you to buy?
  • Did the salesperson “go the extra mile” to give you service and information to aid your decision?

The dealership you buy from should be one you feel comfortable with not just when you’re buying, but in the future as well.

Time to go home and reflect

Now that you’ve done all of your test-drives and assessed the dealership, it’s time to go home and review and evaluate your findings. If you’ve done it right, you should now have three or four vehicles that are in serious consideration for your purchase. At this point, it may be good to sit with your spouse or partner and discuss what you have discovered in the process… a second opinion can often be helpful.

Take all of the data from each vehicle evaluation and compare it with the others. You may find that one is a clear winner and that will be your choice. But, you may also find that two of your choices are close. That’s where your personal preference comes into play.

At this point, it’s probably valuable to understand the common mistakes that many people make when buying a car. Knowing them ahead of time could save you money, remorse, aggravation, and headaches in the future.

Get on the road today.


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