A good vehicle dealer can create either a satisfying experience or a painful process that ends with you walking out the door, no keys in hand. Most customers can bear to spend at most two hours at a dealership before they call it a day, so read the following tips on how to select a dealership that you’ll not only tolerate long enough to buy a vehicle from, but want to build a relationship with.
Research dealership reviews
With so many reviews available online, doing in-depth preliminary research has never been easier. One thing to remember that a handful of poor reviews isn’t the end of the world, especially if the dealership addresses them online with a polite and receptive response.
Use your best judgement. If most reviews are poor or there’s a trend regarding people complaining about the same issue, this means the customer care could be lacking in that area. Pay attention.
Word of mouth
Learning about others experiences with a dealership, or a particular salesperson is valuable insight.
Check with trusted friends, family, and co-workers and find out what kind of experiences they’ve had at local dealerships. If someone suggests to avoid a certain dealership, ask why because context of what makes a poor experience for that person might not be a big deal for you.
How is the facility?
Most automotive dealerships are downright swanky, true showrooms. While a fake fireplace and leather couch won’t sell a car, the entire environment- from the lot to the showroom- should reflect professionalism, good attitudes and care.
The lot, grounds, service area and salespeople should clean and maintained, because a dealership that looks professional is a place you’re more likely to return to for servicing or even the purchase of your next car.
This is a personal choice. Familiar dealerships that have stood the test of time and embedded themselves in the community are often your trusted friends and neighbors. On the other hand, a new dealership may have updated processes and ways of doing things more efficiently, and they may work harder to gain your loyalty.
Talk to the service department
Sometimes salespeople will promote services that come with strings attached. Make sure you chat with the service department about what they offer. For example, some dealerships provide shuttle services to pick you up and drop you off or a loaner car for the duration of the servicing.
Always shop around
It’s common for many dealerships to be located in the same geographical area, so even if you like the first one, it’s a good idea to drop in on a few more to compare your experiences.
Buying a car isn’t only about finding the right car, it’s about establishing a relationship with a resource in your community. Take your time, do your research so the dealership you choose is one that you’ll recommend and come back to.