There’s a lot written about how to look round a car you’re thinking about buying. There’s not so much on how to show someone round a used car if you’re the person doing the selling. Read on for some top tips.
Get yourself ready
First of all, decide how much you’re going to sell the car for. Think about the price you want in an ideal world and the price you would settle for. The latter will vary depending on how desperate you are to sell the car and how much you need the cash. Then look at examples on car sales websites to make sure your figure is in the ballpark.
Make a list
Once you’ve settled on a price, make a list of all your car’s good points. These might include everything from the fact that it’s got air conditioning to it only having had one owner from new. Look around at the competition. If there are a lot of diesel versions and yours is petrol, be sure to point that out.
Equally, you might want to point out that not many versions of that model combine both sport and comfort packs – but your car does.
Be friendly, not slippery
You’re selling your car, not winning new friends. Chances are you’ll be selling the car at your home. After all it’s a bit dodgy if you show someone round a used car at the local supermarket car park.
When your buyer turns up, it’s polite to offer them a cup of tea/coffee and they might want to visit the loo. The more comfortable someone is when they’re looking at your car, the more likely they are to want to give you some money.
What you don’t want to do is be too slippery. They’re not your mate so don’t ask after their family or enquire about their holiday plans.
Before your buyer gets there, make sure you’ve got all the necessary paperwork to hand. You don’t want to be rooting around in the back of your wardrobe to find the V5C registration document.
You should also try to reunite your car with that long-lost parcel shelf and any other components that have spent time gathering dust in the garage.
Be honest, don’t cut your own throat
When you show someone round a used car and the buyer asks questions, it’s your legal obligation to answer honestly. About the only protection private used car buyers have is that the seller has described the car accurately.
That said, if you want to make the most money possible, you’re not obliged to bring faults to the buyer’s attention. If they don’t notice that big dent at the bottom of the door, that’s not your fault. What you can’t do is tell them that it’s part of the design.
The secret of a successful salesperson is that they listen to what the buyer wants. They then tailor their offering to that buyer. If the buyer is looking at the car for their daughter, tell them how easy your daughter found it to drive, how excellent the visibility is and how cheap you’ve found it to run.
Don’t be desperate
If the buyer doesn’t look particularly interested, don’t start reducing the price immediately. Let them make the running. Then see if their offer is acceptable and how it fits in with what you want for the car. Just as you can walk away when you’re buying a car, be comfortable as a seller to let the buyer walk away. If they really want it, they’ll be back. And the ball, price-wise, will be in your court.
Give the buyer time – but not too much
No one likes to be rushed. But there is only so much time someone can look at a car if they’re interested in buying it. Don’t rush buyers but there comes a time when you can legitimately ask if they’re thinking of making an offer.
If they’re taking a test drive
Make sure they’re insured. Don’t just accept the ‘it’s covered on my current car’ line. It probably isn’t. And you don’t want your car in the hands of someone who has never driven it before and isn’t covered.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.