Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How to buy a NEW Subaru at Invoice in only 10 minutes... NO Negotiating!

Welcome to a blog that can save you real money.

Now in Alaska where I am from, one of the most popular cars on the road is the Subaru. I have personally owned 2 Subaru Impreza WRX STIs. These were great cars. All-wheel drive, turbocharged, an absolute blast to drive year round, snow, rain, or shine. The fact that Subaru's entire product line comes with full-time symmetrical all-wheel drive makes them even more appealing. This means that even the base model cars come with a very nice drive train that performs among the best all-wheel drive cars out there.

So how am I going to help you purchase a brand new Subaru from your local dealer, any where in the U.S.A. at invoice price without having to haggle or negotiate? Its simple, the Subaru V.I.P Program. This is the Subaru employee purchase program. But wait,....your not an employee of Subaru? not a problem. Subaru is a great company, low emissions cars, low waste factories, Subaru has been green and environmentally responsible long before it was the 'in' thing to be. As such they have extended their VIP (employee) purchase program to members of certain organizations. The organizations vary but generally they are non-profit, and most but not all have an environmental or recreational slant to them. You can find a full list of organizations here.

Now you just need to become a member of one of these organizations, so which one should you choose and how do you do it? Well some of these organizations have requirements but most are open to the public with the payment of a small fee, usually around $50-$100. This gives you the opportunity to support a great cause and get a good deal on a new car at the same time. I choose to support the IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) it only cost me $50 and I saved thousands on my purchase. If your not sure what group to support IMBA maintains riding trails and does park and trail clean-up so its not a bad choice. You can read more about them here.

Now you've signed up.... so whats next? Well sadly this is the hardest have to wait 6 months. In order to take advantage of the program you need to have been a 'member in good standing' for the last 6 months. This is the only catch and it does require a bit of planning on your part, so if your thinking of purchasing a new car in the next year and you think you would like a Subaru, it would be a good idea to go ahead and sign up for this. If your more than a year out then signing up won't be as cost effective as you will need to pay an additional membership fee to the organization after the first year.

6 Months go finally you are ready to purchase...what do you do now? Well you call your organization,...not if you signed up for IMBA (see above) you call them, the number is on their website and most likely in any recent e-mails you received from them. I had no wait time and was on the phone immediately. Next, tell them you want to take advantage of the Subaru program, they ask if you know what dealership you would like to purchase from, if you do, great, if not don't worry just give them your zip code and they will find one for you. Then you tell them what kind of car you are interested in. This is somewhat important, I would hope you have a good idea of what kind of car your interested in and if not feel free to go down to the dealership, however if you are going to use the VIP program you have to tell the salesperson right away. Its one of the rules that you have to let them know up front. If you'd rather do your research on the internet and are great resources for information on the latest and greatest Subaru.

After you tell them the model,they will fax off a form to the dealership and someone will give you a call. It can take up to several days but I had my call back in less than 10 minutes.

Now, if you were working with a salesperson, they probably won't be the one helping you. The rules are whoever grabs it off the fax machine (or if that particular dealership has something else in place), will help you. The phone call basically has the salesperson calling you telling you what they have, colors, options, etc. If they don't have one (unlikely) they will let you know and can probably direct you to another dealership, but they can't tell you they don't have one just to keep you away. The dealership doesn't really care in most cases that your using this program and is required by Subaru to sell you a car if they have one in stock. They will also tell you how much each one will cost. There is no negotiating, that is the price, and its a great price. You will generally save the most money on the most expensive cars and vice-versa on the lower priced models, so its good to think of it in terms of percentages.

Once you have picked out your car and decided you want to purchase it, the rest of the transaction goes just like a normal car purchase. If you have a trade in they can discuss that, setup financing, and sell you extra dealer installed equipment and services. This has nothing to do with the Subaru V.I.P. program and so you must take care. I will cover the pitfalls of trade-ins, dealer financing, and dealer extras, in another blog. But the short and sweet is sell your car privately, finance through your bank or credit union prior to going to the dealership, and decline any extras. If you followed all this the actual signing up for IMBA should have taken 5 minutes followed by a 6 month wait (lol) and then an additional 5 minutes talking to IMBA and getting prices from the salesperson.....10 minute Subaru at invoice, no haggling.

Last but not least, enjoy your new car and make all your Subaru friends jealous with how much you paid. A great Subaru enthusiast site is Nasioc, you can find alot of great information on your new car and even make some new friends.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Howto: Get a discount on almost anything

So I figured we could start with something simple and easy. How to save money on almost anything..... Sounds great right? Then why aren't more people doing it. Everyday I see people paying more than they should or even need to. For the most part its important to remember the NUMBER ONE RULE OF SELLING (which in my opinion should also be the number one rule of buying), never charge less than the seller is willing to pay, and its inverse never pay more than they seller is willing to charge.

Now this may seem pretty simple, but you would be surpised how often it is overlooked. Washers, driers, refridgerators, stoves, couches, cars, clothing, even snowboards and bicycles, people forget this rule while making purchases everyday. This is also perhaps one of the only rules that applies to just about EVERYTHING not just retail sales.

Remember, there is the asking price and the selling price, and really it comes down to a battle of the wills. Which party is willing to surrender first and accept the terms of the other. Most often its the buyer, they come into the store or contact the private seller, etc. and pay whatever the store, salesperson, or seller is asking, no questions asked about the price. Its my opinion that you didn't really get a "good deal" unless you paid the least amount the seller was willing to take (or close to it). You bought a chevrolet malibu at $3000 under blue book from a guy on craigslist? Did you get a good deal? I don't know, would he have taken less? Did he know something about the car that made it worth less to him that he didn't tell you about? Did you make an offer less than what he was asking first?

As a general rule you should always offer less than the asking price. How much less really depends, its a fine line between offering enough to keep them interested but not insulting them with a low-ball. Now, I for one would never be insulted by a low ball, I would just laugh and say "no". But I am not everyone and everyone is not me. Some people get upset. Don't be afraid of hurting someones feelings, this is business and they will get over it. If their feelings are hurt, they need to be adult enough to deal with it. Unless you want to subsidize their feelings with your money, which of course is what happenes alot of times.

As a general rule of thumb 5%-10% is not unreasonable to ask in a retail situation. This is to be tought of as an additional 5%-10% off of any sale or promotional pricing. In a private purchase situation you can do more in most cases. The reasons for the above rule of thumb is simple.

Retailers) Percentages work better than dollars because everything is in percentages, profit, loss, commission, everything. Therefor don't expect $500 off a $1500 (~33%) purchase. That doesn't have enough meat left in it to really justify the sale.

Private Seller) You can often get more out of a private seller for 2 reasons, first, its used, second, private sellers are not a business (most times) and are not as concerned about profit as they are at getting their money out of something. Think of a private seller as the clearance section at your favorite retailer. They want out of it and as such you can often pay 40%-50% or less than the retail value. NEVER pay retail from a private seller, they have no overhead, they have no employees, and YOU have no recourse if something goes wrong.

Dispite all my typing on this subject, its actually fairly simple, and is very little "work", this is not haggeling. Know how much the item your purchasing is worth and how much you should pay, not a 'fair price', that just another way to describe lots of profit.

The worst that can happen is they say "no".

So primary points......
1) never pay asking price
2) Offering less than asking is not haggeling (its being smart)
3) Paying less than retail is not a "good deal".
4) Paying the least a seller will take is a "good deal".
5) Don't worry about the sellers feelings (they aren't worried about yours)
6) Good starting point for retail is 5-10% below sale/promotional pricing.
7) Good starting point for private seller is 40-50% below retail.
8) Never pay retail from a private seller, you'll regret it.

The first entry.......why you should read this blog (and care).

Hello, and welcome to my blog.

Now why should you care? Why are you here in the first place?

Well, to answer the first question, it quite simple, because this blog can save you money. Sales is my profession, and one underlying thread that I have learned connects almost everything that the consumer will purchase is that there is always a way to pay less for something. You don't have to be rude (in fact this will harm your cause more than help it), you don't have to know some secret hand shake. The plain fact of the matter is that every day millions of people leave money on the table when making a purchase, and I can help you stop doing that.

This blog will cover, every few days or so as I have time and see fit, a different aspect of retail sales and how you can maximize your purchase power and avoid some of the pitfalls laid in place by the retailer. Furniture, clothing, cars, appliances, essentially any retail operation. All of the information contained here will be completely legitimate and legal, no smoke, no mirrors, just things that are often either unknown or overlooked and as a result cost you money.

The retail industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year to squeeze the most money from the consumer, most of this researching the consumer and then educating their sales staff to take advantage. They are armed and ready to do battle for your dollars, are you?

If you've read this far, please grab some coffee, sit back, and welcome to my blog.