When I was a new salesperson “green pea” customers would ask me, what was the best price on every vehicle. I remember telling the customers the MSRP, and then, in a whisper, telling them I sold one yesterday for $2,000 less.

The customer would look at me and smile. So off on a test drive we would go. After we had completed the demo drive the customer would ask again, “So Darin come on, tell us, really what's the best price you can do it for?”

Before I knew it, I would be negotiating right on the lot. I would even tell them we could probably take more than $2,000 off. These customers loved me. Off to my office we would go. I would pull out a worksheet and fill in the information on the car.

I would ask them for an offer, wrong move, (refer to the May and June issues of Wards Dealer Business headlined, “How to negotiate”) and then they would say, “We want a $4,000 discount off the MSRP.” I would ask how they thought we could do that. They'd respond, “Come on Darin you can get it for us, just go and tell your manager that's all we are willing to pay.”

Off I would go to see my manger, telling him that these people are going to buy. Today! Now!! And he'd say, “Tell them we can give them a savings of $400.”

I tell my manger that they only want to pay $26,000. He'd ask how did they arrive at this number? I would hesitate and then tell him a white lie, “I told them I could take off at least $1,000, and then they said…” My manager would say, “Darin, how do you get all of these crazy low-ball, no-gross customers?”

You know the rest of this story. If we even get the deal, the gross would be so low that it's almost not worth doing.

Every customer wants the best price. Give it to them, but do it right.

If there were a prize for the most asked question in car sales, “What's your best price?” would get it hands down. How you handle this question will determine if you sell the vehicle and if you maintain any gross profit.

There are three points in your selling steps when you hear this question.

Following are some of the best word tracks you can use.

Point 1

When the customer says, “What's your best price, bottom line?” during your vehicle presentation, try one of these:

  • “Mr. Jones, I'll be more than glad to give you the best price, but I have to make sure that we pick the right vehicle for you, OK?”

  • “Mrs. Allen, my job at the dealership is to help you find a vehicle you really want and then I'll give you the best price, OK?”

  • “Ms. Lee, we can be flexible with our prices but I have make sure this is the vehicle you really want, OK?”

(Always proceed with your presentation and demo.)

Point 2

When the customer says, “What's your best price, bottom line?” during or after your demo drive, try one of these:

  • “Sure Ms. Lee, when we get back to the dealership I'll go and get you the best price, OK?”

  • “OK! Mrs. Allen, follow me and we'll go and get you the best price.” (Proceed with selling the dealership, asking for the order, the worksheet, etc.)

  • “Great! Mr. Jones, so you liked the ride and all the features of the vehicle? OK, then follow me and I will get you the best price, bottom line.” (Proceed with selling the dealership, asking for the order, worksheet, etc.)

Point 3

When the customer asks the same question in your office at the start of your negotiations, just tell them:

  • “No problem, I'll get for you the best price right now.” (Proceed with asking for the order, the worksheet, and then negotiate).

Always ask yourself, “Why is this customer buying from my dealership?”

Darin's Wrap Up

It comes down to timing and wording. Not every deal is going to be a high grosser, but if you hold on until the timing is right, you will be able to increase every deal by $500. Practice your timing when, what you say, and how you say it. Have fun and keep your eye on the ball.


The Automotive Sales College recruits and trains new and experienced sales people. The College is also holding a two-day course in Las Vegas, March 12-13, instructed by Darin George. If you would like a faxed copy of the course outline call 1-888-681-7355. Darin will be at the 2002 NADA Convention in New Orleans, booth 5710. Stop by.