As you probably know, one of the advantages to selling your car to a private buyer is that you’re likely to get a higher price for it than you would at a dealer. With that, though, comes the challenge of dealing with prospective buyers in an effective way. The most important thing about this process is the right kind of communication. Here we’ll explore the things to learn and remember about interacting with potential buyers.
Your communication with the buyer begins with the ad you place online (or elsewhere, but it should at least be online). An ad that’s thorough – but not overly wordy – can answer a lot of buyers’ questions even before the phone rings.
And rest assured, the phone will ring. It’s not common (or recommended) for the sale of a car to be conducted solely via e-mail, and phone calls are a much quicker way to arrange things like test-drives. These interactions will be a crucial part of finding a buyer, so your attitude as the seller on the phone is going to matter a lot. Here are some pointers to keep in mind:
- Be positive. If it’s an inconvenient time or you’re tired of fielding calls, don’t let it show. Each new call could mean dollar signs in your near future.
- Be patient and helpful. You’re bound to get some odd questions, or some people whose telephone skills could use some work, but focus on answering their questions, and if it goes well, ask if they’d like to arrange a test drive.
- Be honest. Any claim you might make about the car’s condition will be verifiable once the buyer sees the car, so don’t gamble your trustworthiness just to get a potential buyer “in the door”.
Once you finally meet your prospective buyer, it will probably be for a test drive. A test drive presents its own set of challenges, but remembering a few important points can help things go smoothly.
- Accompany the buyer on the test drive. In the worst-case-scenario of an accident or a breakdown, you don’t want to have to rely solely on the buyer’s version of events.
- Make sure the buyer has a valid driver’s license (ask to see it), and remove any valuables from your car, for obvious reasons.
- Listen to your instincts. There are a lot of scammers out there who are hoping you’ll ignore any shady vibes they give off.
If all has gone well to this point, then the negotiation stage will soon arrive. Be reasonable, and don’t let yourself be bullied. One possible wrinkle in this process could be a mechanic’s inspection report, or any other reasonable estimate of the cost of needed repairs. The important thing to keep in mind as the seller is the minimum price you are willing to accept, and stick to it.
Once the price has been decided on, cash or a certified check are the best ways to accept payment. We also suggest that you write down the buyer’s full name and driver’s license number. Once the money’s in the bank and the title is transferred, you can go ahead and breathe a well-earned sigh of relief.