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Selling Guide > 8. Dealing with buyers

'Closing the deal'

8. Dealing with buyers

   Make sure you know what day your advertisement comes out and be ready. All the repairs should be completed and your car cleaned and valeted the day before. Your car should be on the drive, ready to go and looking like brand new!
Earlier in the guide we suggested that you list all your cars good points, features and information essential to any prospective buyer, you should keep this information by the phone. You should also have the M.O.T. and logbook handy, along with the service history if you have one.
*UPDATE* The ideal situation is if when the phone rings, you can walk out to the car. If you can be walking around the car while talking to a potential customer, it makes a huge difference to the way you sound and the confidence you have.

Sorting the chaff from the grain
   Stay near the phone and have a paper and pencil handy, and take down the name and phone number (home and mobile) of anyone who calls. If they won't give you their details, don't take them seriously. You don't want to delay a genuine buyer with a time waster who never shows up.
Answer their questions and make an appointment for them to view the car as soon as possible. Strike while the Iron is hot! This is why it is so important to have your car ready to go. It is no use having buyers phone on a Saturday, only for you to tell them that you don't want to see them till Tuesday. By then they would have moved on and bought another car.
Also, having your car in pristine condition will give you confidence in your vehicle. This message will convey it's self down the phone, and make your buyer as enthusiastic as you are. If your car is in tip top condition, you only need one genuine buyer and you have sold your car. But if your car is only eight out of ten, then be prepared to use those numbers and phone some people back.

Simple really, evaluate your position, if you have five buyers lined up, then you can afford to play hard ball. But don't lose a sale to a genuine buyer to a half penny of tar. Play fair, be reasonable, but don't be a pushover and get mugged by a fast talking wizz-kid. Remember, you are in control of this sale, take your time, think offers over, and don't feel pressured into accepting offers... if you aren't 100% happy, pass them by.

A word of caution
   Prospective buyers will at some point want a test drive. Check their driving license and insurance documents and don't let them go alone. Keep hold of the keys and don't let them out of your possession until you are in the car, it's not unknown or cars to be stolen while on test drives, if you have a friend with you, you will reduce this possibility. Use your intuition and don't be afraid of refusing to let people test drive your car. And certainly don't let yourself be put into a situation you are not comfortable with.
Don't let the car out of your possession until you have received payment in full. Make sure that cheques and bankers drafts have cleared, and that bank notes are genuine. Be very, very careful if you get offers from abroad. There have been a number of scams in the last year, where gangs have posed as dealers and paid for cars with stolen or forged bankers drafts.

*UPDATE* Especially beware of e-mails from West Africa offering to send you cheques for huge amounts of money.

*UPDATE* Beware of phone calls from companies offering to sell your car for you. "We have buyers waiting to see your car today!"
This is also a scam, they will charge large amounts of money once you hand over your credit card details, yet these buyers will seldom appear.
Although they may be advertising your car, paying in excess of £75 is outrageously expensive for ad space on an obscure web site.

Our best advice would to be to take payment while in your bank. Take advantage of their security and let them count and verify the money/draft. You can then hand over the documents and keys while in your branch.

…and once you have sold your car, make sure you inform the DVLC that you are no longer the owner. Send back the logbook after giving the new owner the S5/3 section at the bottom. *UPDATE* This is more important than ever as new legislation means that whoever is the registered keeper is responsible for fines incurred for things like non-payment of road tax.

We aren't the only ones writing advice guides, and there is a very good chance that your prospective buyer has read up on 'How to buy a car' and 'How to haggle for a used car'.

You should take a look at these guides too, if you do you'll know what kind of 'tricks' to expect from them and what they are expecting of you and your car.

*UPDATE* I recently heard of a scam, where a couple come to view a car. From the begining, one of the people says they feel ill. The other person will continually ask after their welfare and draw attention to the fact they are ill.
When they are looking at the car, they will put the child locks on and the person pretending to feel ill will sit in the back. During the test drive this person will ask to get our because they will be sick, the driver will comfort them and ask you to get out to open the door from the outside. Once you get out, they drive off. It's a simple con and I'm sure there are variations.
To avoid this, don't let anybody into your car who claims to feel ill! Secondly, do not leave the car without taking the keys. If you feel suspicious of somebody, do not take them on a test drive... ask to see their documents and proof of insurance, you can even ask them to leave their car keys behind.

Good luck!

Car valeting Articles

DannyDanny Argent ~ 20/11/03

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