Selling your own car can be a difficult task, but meeting the potential buyer in person can be even more daunting. Not only do you have to worry about making the sale, but you have to consider safety and whether you trust the prospective buyer to take a test drive or be fair during negotiations. You have to know the right things to say, even in uncomfortable situations. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for the meeting and what to say to the buyer.
Before the Meeting
Before you even meet a potential buyer, it is important to screen him or her. If he or she seems suspicious, trust your gut. If the person seems legitimate, set up a meeting in a public place during hours when many people will be around. Consider bringing a friend or family member along for both your safety and to witness anything that happens. If you do not have someone who can come along, let a friend or neighbour know where you are going and what you will be doing. Give them as much information as you can about the buyer so they can go to the police if something happens to you or your vehicle. Also, remove any valuable items from your car.
Talking About Test Drives
One aspect of a potential buyer-seller meeting that can be hard to discuss is the test drive. Naturally, a buyer is not going to want to pay money for a car that he or she has not driven, but it is also natural for you to be wary of letting a complete stranger drive your vehicle. One way to ease your fear is by accompanying the buyer. Be assertive and let him or her know that you will need to come along. Be upfront about how long the test drive can take - usually up to 30 minutes - or let the buyer know what route is suitable for the drive. During the test drive, you can answer questions from the buyer about the way the car operates, as well as point out positives about the way your vehicle drives.
When You Cannot Go Along
Occasionally, there may be a reason you cannot accompany your potential buyer for a test drive. It may simply be that you are not comfortable. In this case, you need to ask the buyer if you can see his or her driver's licence. If possible, make a copy of it. If not, write down the name, address and licence number. In the event the person steals your car, you have personal information to give to the police. Do not be afraid to set time limits and boundaries for a solo test drive. Whether or not you go, it is also important to make sure your insurance policy covers other drivers.
Your buyer will have questions about the car's performance, as well as the history of the vehicle. Do not fabricate or leave out important information. Provide answers to the best of your knowledge. Honesty and a friendly tone will go much further than lies and high-pressure sales tactics. If someone accompanies you to the meeting, do not let that person do the talking, as he or she probably does not know your car like you do.
Negotiating the Price
Almost every buyer will want to negotiate when it comes to price, so start by providing an amount that is slightly higher than what you really want for the vehicle. Give the person time to counter. If he or she offers a fair price, do not hesitate too much before accepting. If the person offers a price that is far too low and is not willing to negotiate, thank the buyer for his or her time, leave your name and number in case they change their minds and leave the meeting. Before accepting any offer, make sure you communicate to the buyer that the sale is for the car as it is.
After Settling On a Price
Once the negotiation is over, you have to finish the transaction. Provide a VIN number for you vehicle so the buyer can research its history. Allow him or her to take it to a mechanic for a checkup. If you are comfortable with this, you can allow it, but if you are not, it is time to end the transaction. When the buyer is ready to pay, be upfront about what kind of payment you accept. If you want cash, ask for it, or if you are willing to take a check, make sure you see the buyer's licence. If you have been honest and taken all necessary precautions up until this point, the rest of the transaction should be smooth and easy.
Dealing with potential car buyers is not as hard as it seems if you are willing to take a few extra steps. Always be upfront and honest about everything from the car's history to your rules about test drives. Communication, honesty and trusting your instincts can prevent safety problems, theft and bad transactions.