He took the check out of his pocket like it was the sword he was about to use to end the battle. The numbers on the right side: $1000 less than what the man in front of him had said was the lowest possible he'd take.
"This is it" - My father.
There was a severe lack of understanding. The man in front of him had grown so accustomed to people like my old man.
Accustomed isn't even the word..
The manager at this Boston used car dealership handling the deal studies people like my father. Boston, like Los Angeles and New York, is so culturally diverse. He knows the drill. It's almost like he knew from the very start how low my father intended on offering him.
You see, there's a reason why most salespeople aren't as intimidating (or tall, stern, and monotone) as their managers.
Salespeople are meant for you to get along with.
Managers on the other hand... They are there to make sure foreign negotiation practices don't rob their dealership dry of any profit or dignity!
I remember like it was yesterday. My dad was finally replacing our beat up Ford station wagon. We were looking all over the place for a decent Honda Accord, Mitsubishi Galant, Toyota Camry.
The man was exhausted. Foreigners aren't your typical 40 hour work week type people. Most are either small business owners, or are making ends meet working 60-70 hour work weeks.
The ultimate Catch-22!
They don't have the time to:
- Make any sense whatsoever.
- Explain how they got to their number.
- Discuss a different car option.
- Be polite.
So who wins?
This is the unwritten rule of all negotiators:
NEVER. BACK. DOWN!
I'm looking at my father almost in shame, telling him in Armenian: "Please stop dad, this is not going to happen". This is when my mind changed completely.
I've never seen a smirk that big on my dad in my life.
This was all a game I had absolutely no skill in. The lesson my dad was teaching:
WORTH MORE THAN MY COLLEGE TUITION.
The managers main intention is to learn. He's trying to figure out when he's going to crack it open and put an end to the deal grinders, the foreigners coming in with their bargaining tactics.
This deal wasn't gonna happen today.
Not a chance in hell.
Maybe not even tomorrow. The manager was way too pissed off to even do it.
But guess what?
In the words of my dad, "Whether he likes it or not".
He was 100% right.
Whats worse to a manager?
- Losing a deal?
- Swallowing his pride?
You guessed it.
The idea is, and any foreigner walking into a dealership knows it:
They don't care for salespeople. They know they are just there to show them a car. Because really, is that not all they are supposed to be doing?
Managers are who they are really after.
I've learned that the system is trying to fix this problem though.
A lot of dealerships now are willing to accept ridiculous offers if they've been backed up. Services like TrueCar, Edmunds PricePromise, and KBB have made consumers a little bit better prepared when going in and dealing with salespeople.
Will this ultimately put an end to extreme bargaining tactics that foreigners are acquainted with?
Using a broker or an intermediary such as myself usual does help though.
These guys are usually in business to get the deal to happen a lot quicker, they promise volume to dealerships, and usually have a decent enough relationship with the managers to be able to pull off insane deals such as the ones being sought after by people like my father.