There are several steps to take to ensure that you receive the best possible price for your car. Many of those steps are taken before you put the car on the market and you can read about those here.
The final step is usually negotiating with potential buyers; if the buyer is interested but you have not agreed on a price then it is your negotiation skills that will be the difference between both parties walking away happy and the deal collapsing.
Don’t get caught off guard and accept a price below what you want. Half the battle is having a plan, being prepared for negotiation, and knowing how you will respond.
Consider each of the following and you should end up with an acceptable price.
It is critical to the negotiation process that you have set the correct asking price in the first place: that is, a realistic estimate of the value, plus a little ‘padding’ to take into account negotiation. Of course, this cannot be changed during negotiation, so make sure that time has gone into considering and setting this price correctly upfront, before meeting buyers.
Be careful with establishing a price from online guides like the Glass’s Guide or Blue Book as they do not take into account the true condition of your car. They are estimates only. As a general rule, add at least 10% on to give you room to negotiate.
Ideally you should set a lowest acceptable price, but also have a middle and top figure in mind. It’s important to go in with the right expectations.
After the test drive, remind the buyer of the asking price. Most likely they will try to negotiate. If there are no other interested parties and you want to sell quickly then you may be open to negotiation, though keep this information very guarded.
Re-visit the benefits of the car: tell them what they’re getting for their money and include information on the remaining warranty, full-service history, recently renewed tax, or anything else that adds value to the car.
It’s not incumbent upon you to point out all of the car’s faults though you want to be honest when asked. Don’t volunteer information about any faults that the buyer has not picked up on but DO mention repairs you have made.
It’s good to let the buyer know that there are other interested parties – even if this is not entirely true. You would like to close the sale as quickly as possible so this is a good way of weeding out serious buyers from time-wasters; if they aren’t prepared to pay the asking price, ask them what they would be prepared to pay to drive the car away.
If they want to go away and think about it then maybe they are wasting your time; don’t drop the price unnecessarily – let them go and they can call back if they change their mind.
Don’t lower the price below the minimum acceptable
You can move a little on your price but never below what you have set as the lowest acceptable. Some sellers ‘freeze’, see the dollar signs flash before their eyes, and accept an offer too quickly.
It is easier to say ‘no’ firmly if you have other buyers lined up; in any case, you should be prepared to decline an offer and await other offers to come along unless they are prepared to pay close to your asking price.
How the buyer is going to pay you may affect the price you accept. If a buyer has cash and is prepared to pay you on the spot, and you have all the documentation ready to go, then this may encourage you to accept the offer. If it involves cheques clearing, or the buyer having to prove they have the funds to pay, then you are less likely to accept a negotiated offer.
Covering all of the above when you get down to business with a buyer should help you reach a satisfactory conclusion to negotiations.