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Thread: The 4-square sales approach

  1. #1
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    The 4-square sales approach

    Here's how the 4-square sales tactic works, and how to beat it.

    http://consumerist.com/consumer/four...-it-248445.php

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  2. #2
    mrblanche
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    Re: The 4-square sales approach

    Quote Originally Posted by chiph
    Here's how the 4-square sales tactic works, and how to beat it.

    http://consumerist.com/consumer/four...-it-248445.php

    Chip H.
    I've bought and sold a lot of cars over the years, but I've never seen one of these sheets.

  3. #3
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    Re: The 4-square sales approach

    My first new car, a 1987 Acura Integra was sold to me by a dealer using a variation on the 4 square method. I told the schmuck that I had my own financing, so he went wrote a bunch of confusing scribble over a small notepad. He asked me to sign the paper before he went to the manager. I told him instead to go to the manager with my offer unsigned and come back with something reasonable. I was on to their con. Eventually, I negotiated a price which got me to a reasonable level of $10625 for the car and I sold the trade myself. I'm sure that they would try new tricks, but I like to keep my eye on the ball.



  4. #4
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: The 4-square sales approach

    I was expecting to see the four square pop out when I bought a car a few months ago, and was surprised not to.

    I think maybe they have a fallback plan for buyers who like to think they're in the driver's seat. I had the numbers that I wanted to pay worked out before I went to the dealer, having looked up the MSRP and "Invoice" prices, and done the math with loan estimator calculators. However, they couldn't find the car I wanted, and I let them substitute one with more options than I was planning on. So my numbers were out the window and I had to guess where I thought the "Invoice" would be for the substitute car. BUT, once a car was selected, I took the early lead in the process by taking a piece of paper, and writing down what I wanted to pay, and what I wanted for my trade-in (not much...), handed the piece of paper to the salesman, and said "If you'll take that I'll buy the car today". That let him know that I wanted to negotiate on price, not payments, and we stayed on target from there. After a few back-and-forth sessions with the invisible Sales Manager, the final price was not far from my original proposal.

    After a purchase price was agreed upon, volumes of paperwork came my way, and the wait for credit approval, then a few more back-and-forths about down payments vs. loan duration vs. APR%. There was a 3.9% Customer Incentive program at the time, and I was hoping to qualify. After a LONG wait, I did. Rather than trying to talk me into a large down payment, I had gone in hoping to make a large down payment and they managed to talk me out of it.

    And then, after I was well and truly worn out, having been there for several hours, and thought we were nearly done, they handed me over to the shark who handles the extended warranty packages. And that's where they got me back. I wasn't mentally prepared for this step, and while I bought the most basic package, and for a seven-year/70,000 mile period instead of the 10/10 package they started out with, I still paid too much because I let him talk payments instead of price. He successfully played off my unspoken fear that VW reliability might be risky, and the more I resisted him, the stronger he came on. It was a very well-run scam. I think it was their revenge for not letting myself get steamrollered during the vehicle price negotiation.

  5. #5
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    Re: The 4-square sales approach

    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    then a few more back-and-forths about down payments vs. loan duration vs. APR%. There was a 3.9% Customer Incentive program at the time, and I was hoping to qualify.
    Taking a laptop to the dealership with a spreadsheet already set up works really well.

    All I had to do whenever they presented a new set of numbers was copy the previous column and change the values to match what the current offer/deal was.

    Eric - is there a place on the board for uploading something like this? (assuming I can still find it)
    I'm willing to share.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  6. #6
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: The 4-square sales approach

    That would be excellent. I am spreadsheet-impaired as far as creation goes, but can use ones that others have created.

    I did have a calculator with me though.

  7. #7
    ColleenC2
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    Re: The 4-square sales approach

    This is really good, the last time I bought a car was 5 years ago, now I am going to buy two, helping my daughter and myself, I have my wants but for some reason I am leaving the Ford family and looking at other makes, so I am really concerned that I can get the best price so I don't feel used.

    We will be paying cash for both vehicles, so I don't worry about financing, I am confused over the MSRP which I know and the Invoice and what is the wiggle room, We are planning to buy a 2007 and I have heard that the price comes down in December is this true?

  8. #8
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    Re: The 4-square sales approach

    Whoops. I need to go ahead and work on the spreadsheet. It's slipped my mind.

    The 2007's are starting to go on sale now, as the 2008's hit the lots. If you wait until December, the prices will be even better, but the selection will be greatly reduced as all the 'good' cars will have been sold.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  9. #9
    ColleenC2
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    Re: The 4-square sales approach

    If you wait until December, the prices will be even better, but the selection will be greatly reduced as all the 'good' cars will have been sold.

    Well, finish the worksheet and help me out, The research on the vehicles I want, I have found that most everything I want is optional so I know that I am going to have to pay additional for them and I guess after I buy have the work done, i.e. navigational system, UV tinted side windows etc.

  10. #10
    mrblanche
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    Re: The 4-square sales approach

    Decide what car you want, and research the price with Consumer Reports. They can get you within a couple hundred dollars of the invoice price. You may actually be able to get under that number this time of year.

  11. #11
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: The 4-square sales approach

    Quote Originally Posted by ColleenC2

    We will be paying cash for both vehicles, so I don't worry about financing, I am confused over the MSRP which I know and the Invoice and what is the wiggle room, We are planning to buy a 2007 and I have heard that the price comes down in December is this true?
    Prices on 2007s have been down since June or July.

    If you wait 'til December to shop for an unsold new 2007 car, you'll be stuck shopping for Chevy Malibus, Pontiac G6s, Dodge Avengers, and other fleet car type vehicles. That's a big sacrifice to make, just to get a slightly better deal.

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