Father's Advice #2: Doing Homework, holding frame, saying no, and walking away
I am going to share another one of my father's advice that has served me well since I was in high school. It was after my dad took me with him to buy a new car when I was ten. I don’t remember all the details, but I think the advice still holds true today. Most of the older people in this sub know this, but for many of the people younger than high school age who never had to buy a car, car salesmen are very slimy, but they use some very basic tricks to make sure the deal is in their favor. Some of them include hand-offs, bluffing that "the computer tells me that it is worth this much", "let me talk to my boss," etc. This was about to be my first of several lessons I got out of this unforgettable car buying experience.
Lesson 1. Do your homework.
After my dad and I had walked around and looked at the cars. The salesman, let's call him Nick, then came to my dad with a sheet of papers with a few "deals" and "packages" he could offer my dad (a very common trick some of these salesmen do to "entice" the customer to form an emotional attachment of sorts to a car they find to their liking). The very first reaction my dad did was to take his pen scribble through the numbers and tell Nick, "I appreciate these offers, but I don't like these fuzzy numbers. They are too fuzzy for my taste, and I know that this model car had been sold at X price with y parts and accessories." Nick, out of surprise, said, "Let me talk to my boss about this." (Another common trick) I was surprised by this, and my dad took me to the side and privately told me, "Gmflag, always do your research before entering any negotiation. Don't be fooled by all these "packages" and "deals" that are given. Always think what are really being offered in these so called "deals." The same can be said for whom you choose as friends and even girlfriend or wife. Always think and look behind the so-called package what is truly of value to you."
Lesson 2: Always be willing to walk away
So, Nick brings his boss, let's call him Tim. Tim takes both my dad and me to his office with Nick following along. (Another trick in the book of salesmen...the handoff). So Tim has his computer positioned on his desk so only Nick and Tim can see the computer monitor with my dad and me sitting across from them. My dad and Tim get into quite a negotiation struggle. My dad refused to budge on a deal he wanted, with Tim doing whatever he can to not give my dad what he wanted. After a while of haggling going nowhere, my dad says, "Come on gmflag, we walk." As soon as my dad and I are about to leave the room, Tim immediately cracks, “Wait, I misread the computer. We can offer you closer to what you want." My dad responds sarcastically, "Oh really?"
Lesson 3: Always Hold Frame despite the circumstances
Tim and my dad re-enter negotiations. It got to a point where things started to get a little nasty. I failed to mention before that Tim was already quite frustrated from before negotiating with my dad. He was already starting to lose patience as he kept offering a lower and lower deal but not to my dad's liking. Tim lost frame "Gmflag's dad, why can't you just take this deal? It's the best I can offer you at this time. Do you not have the money and credit to pay for it?" We can do a payment plan." My dad immediately responds, “I know you guys can do better. I know you guys can sell it for cheaper. You already have my credit report. It's perfect. My income is x, and you know that is plenty enough to pay for one of these cars. You're just insulting my intelligence now. I grew up in IBM marketing, and I know every trick in the book on how to make a sale happen, and this is child's play. Gmflag, let's go." Nick, who had been sitting there quietly watching, immediately went to turn the computer from us, and say, "Wait, we are sorry, we can go low!" "DON'T TURN THE FUCKING COMPUTER TOWARDS THEM!" Tim immediately interjected and turned the computer back. It was too late, my dad and I had already seen the numbers on the computer. It was exactly what my dad wanted. Tim, knowing that he had lost, acquiesced and gave my dad the deal he wanted for a car.
After my dad and I bought the car and went home, I remarked to my dad, “Why were you so angry and hard on them?" My dad looked at me and said, "I am showing you how to negotiate and get what you want in life. It isn’t just about asking nicely. You got to know what your value is and don't back down from it. Always keep calm and know there is always a way to get what you want. Car salesmen are a perfect example of slimy people you will meet. You see what happened at the end there with Tim and Nick? They lost their cool. We got the deal we wanted because we were able to capitalize on the mistakes Tim and Nick made when they lost their cool. Let that be a lesson to you to always keep your cool no matter what. Don't be afraid to walk away. If a deal is not going in your favor now, know that you can always get it at a later point. Don't form an emotional attachment too easily to something that you want that you know that you can get at any time. You see, Tim and Nick were too attached to making this deal happen with me. They know they depend on this sale for their income. I can get the car anytime I want, but I was just wondering how far I can go to get the deal I want. People will dance around you, act stupid, and make you angry, whatever. Never lose your cool. The moment you do, you lose. By the way, don't tell your mother I said this, but this principle holds with dealing with women too. Women will tell you to express yourself more, blah, blah, and blah. Don't listen to them. Always keep your cool. Dealing with women is an art form; that is another lesson for another day."