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My Public Service Announcement - The RIGHT WAY to Sell Your Car

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Old 03-23-2012, 10:19 AM   #1
2011 Norwood Gathering
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Jason E's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Bradenton FL
Posts: 3,434
Car: 97 Z28 / 00 SS / 11 CTS-V Coupe
Engine: LT1 / LS1 / LSA
Transmission: T-56 / T-56 / 6L80E
Axle/Gears: 3.42 / 3.42 Auburn / 3.23

My Public Service Announcement - The RIGHT WAY to Sell Your Car

To give the reader some background on me, and to lend validity to the below, I've been in the car business for 12 years. I have been the General Sales Manager for a medium-sized Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealer for the past 6. I know what it takes to sell cars, and to attract people to products. I have also on a personal level bought and sold 3 Third Gens in the past 2 years. As a hobby, I live/eat/sleep/breathe 3rd and 4th Gen F-Bodies. They are what I am truly passionate about. I hope my advice is helpful to those selling their cars. If you've been struggling to sell yours, pay attention...I believe this thread can help you.

Top Five Problems As a Buyer

There's a myriad of things that irritate me when it comes to trying to buy a car, especially a third gen. These cars are between 20-30 years old now...none are perfect, and many are pretty rough. After looking at countless Third Gens over the past 15 years, here are the top 5 things that turn me off from buying YOUR car. This is the process I use myself when I am ready to consider your Third Gen.

1) Use proper grammar and punctuation when creating your ad!!!!
How am I supposed to take you seriously when you cannot even write? If you are old enough to own a car, you are old enough to write properly...the way I am. If I can't read what you are writing, I am going to assume you are careless and did not take care of the car. A short ad is one thing...a poorly written one is something else entirely.

Look at the ad I just used to sell my 86 Trans Am in TWELVE DAYS...

After a ton of time weighing the pros and cons, I've decided to sell both of my third gen Trans Ams. This one in particular is an '86 with 34k miles. I am the third owner of the car. The factory options are as follows...

-305 TPI/A4
-Power windows, locks, mirrors and drivers seat
-9 bolt posi rear with rear disc brakes
-Upgraded cloth interior

Anyone reading this that knows me, knows that I restored the exterior this car last Summer to represent TGO at an event in OH back in September. The car was shown alongside frame-off 1st and 2nd gen vehicles, and showed very well. I received a ton of compliments on it. Mechanically the car is 100%...all I've needed to do is complete all the routine maintenance, replace the valve seals, etc. Everything works perfectly. The car needs nothing but a driver. The interior is stains, never been smoked in, etc.

Last year's restoration (with less than 1k on it) included...

-Complete repaint of exterior. All ground effects were removed, along with the bumpers, hood, decklid and doors. There are ZERO tape lines...this car was painted right. I had Dent Wizard go over the entire car before painting, to help ensure the straightest possible result. The paint is hasn't been painted long enough to have a single ding or nick in it!! No waves...its gorgeous. FAR superior to anything GM put on this car...

-All 4 wheels have been re-finished professionally...they look like brand new.

-The rear spoiler is a new Hawks fiberglass replacement, with a black crackle-type finish that emulates the original 86-correct finish.

-All-new, correct stripe kit from Phoenix Graphix...with all decals in the right spots, no less Also added the hood bird...

-Professionally re-wrapped OEM leather steering wheel

The car is 100% stock except for the addition of an 86-correct "screaming chicken" to the hood, and an Alpine CD player with an iPod cable hidden in the ashtray. I have dozens of pictures to document what this car looked like before, during and after the work was completed. This car stands tall against frame-off restored cars...its that clean. I have a copy of the writeup Muscle Car Review did of the event, and the car did manage to make it into the background of one of the photos

If you want a beautiful, original Trans Am to get in, turn the key, and drive anywhere from the local cruise night, to a judged car show, to a road trip, this is your car. With no t-tops, its tight and rattle free. With low mileage, everything about this car feels like brand new.

This ad was on here, and a modified form (leaving at the car show stuff) was on Craigslist. I had used car dealers I wholesale cars to call me up, compliment me on the ad (they knew it was my car), and ask me jokingly if I could write their ads for them Remember, this is YOUR investment. Put some time into it!

2) Do not write things that are not true
Nothing torques me up more than someone says their car is rare, and they have NO CLUE what they are talking about. No, your IROC is not 1 of 500 with t-tops...its not 1-of-whatever-you-say-it-is, normally. When I smell BS like that, I run. If I know more about your car than you do? Forget it. If you write something in your ad you are stating as fact, make sure it IS fact, first.

3) Do not lie to me about the condition of your car
Do not assume your customer is stupid. Do not assume that you know more than they do. The number one irritation I have is driving hours to end up looking at a car that is NOT what I was told it was. When I schedule an appointment, I am serious. Always assume your customer is serious. Take them seriously. I ALWAYS ask the seller to "walk the car," and tell me where the flaws are. Has the car been repainted? Are all the emblems in the proper spots? What condition is the glass in? Is there any noticeable rust, or evidence of poor bodywork?

Then I ask them to open the doors and the trunk. Is there visible wear? Fading? Damage, such as cigarette burns? How does the headliner look? The dash pad? After this, I ask them to start the car. Did it smoke on startup? Is the check engine light on? Do all the gagues work, and do the readings make sense? Now, have a seat. Do ALL the power options work? What does it smell like in there? Do we see any evidence of water damage?

Now, if I was you (and I HAVE been you), I do all this when each prospect calls me VOLUNTARILY. The buyer doesn't even have to ask. I want to be as informative, helpful, and straight up as possible. I sold my 88 TA to a guy from Erie, PA just the other day...5.5 hour drive each way. He agreed to buy it before he saw it because I was THAT detailed. Every little detail, good and bad, I told him. I did not want him to show up and be disappointed.

So, assuming we are doing well, I'm going to schedule a time to come see you. BE ACCOMODATING.

4) Once I see you, if I think you're hiding something, I'm GONE
Assuming I have driven for hours to see your car (lets face it...these cars aren't common, and finding a good one takes work), if I show up and this car is a major letdown, I will hurt you. Let me paint 2 pictures for you.

I drove 4 hours to buy my 88 TA. It was VERY nice. It was NOT exactly what she told me it was, though. The tires were totally the wrong size. She said the car had never been repainted, but I could see it had been. When pressed on that one, she remembered the previous owner told her he had painted it about 10 years prior. But, for the most part, she had been honest with me, and the flaws I found were not deal breakers. She had told me about the cracked spoiler, the occassional SES light (that was on when I bought it), and a few other things.

Compare that to the 89 GTA I had looked at 4 weeks prior. After driving 2 hours to see this "19,000 mile beauty that just needs a spoiler), I wanted to punch the seller in the throat. I was gone in 10 minutes. This "immaculate" car showed all the signs of having been stored in a barn with the windows down for 10 years. There was bird crap etching all over it. Under the hood, there was surface rust and oxidation EVERYWHERE. The undercarriage had extensive surface rust. The seats showed evidence of having been cleaned after being totally filthy.

See the difference between those 2 sellers, and how they appeared to me as a buyer?

5) Don't be a jerk to me
If I take time to look at and consider your car, let me look it over. ALL of it. Don't rush me. If I take more than one hour, get irritated. But I want to drive this car on the open road. I want to hit an interstate if one is nearby. I want to test all aspects of it to see what I'm really getting, and to see if you've been honest. But if you're sitting in the corner, tapping your foot, looking impatient and checking your watch? If I'm inconveniencing you, I can definitely buy from someone that is more accomodating....

Selling tips in the next post....
Jason E is offline  
Old 03-23-2012, 10:36 AM   #2
2011 Norwood Gathering
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Bradenton FL
Posts: 3,434
Car: 97 Z28 / 00 SS / 11 CTS-V Coupe
Engine: LT1 / LS1 / LSA
Transmission: T-56 / T-56 / 6L80E
Axle/Gears: 3.42 / 3.42 Auburn / 3.23

Re: My Public Service Announcement - The RIGHT Way to Sell Your Car

Top 5 Tips to Sell FAST

1) Price it right
Do your homework. Know what your car is WORTH. As we say all the time, a car is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. However, watch trends. Spend 30 days before you post your car and research. What do you see comparable cars selling on here for? On eBay? I use eBay as a guide all the time...personally and professionally. Where else do you KNOW what a car did or did not sell for? Look at what you have invested in it, look at what other people are asking for comparable cars (assuming you can find comparables) and price accordingly. Don't assume a sucker will walk through the door and pay whatever you are asking for it. I find this a lot with older folks...ones who have no idea how powerful the internet is. The internet makes everything accessible, and I have no problem driving 2 hours to get a better car for less money. Wanna sell it fast? Know what else is out there, and price yours a little less than comparables. Buyers will notice.

2) Put your ad out there
Don't just post on your local Craigslist. Don't just post it up here. If it doesn't sell in 30 days (yes, I said it...30 days is all it should take for a quick sale), stop being cheap and throw it on Auto Trader/ Get some exposure for it!

3) Put your car out at the right time
Don't expect to get over market value for your car in December in MA. Don't expect to get top dollar for it during Love Bug season in FL, when everyone is hiding their cars. I waited until March 1st to list mine, because I knew winter in New England was not a good time to sell. Why throw it up in January, when no one will care, and then have to mark the price down multiple times to keep people interested in March/April? If you can, wait and sell at the most opportune time (I realize not everyone can do this).

4) Clean your car!!!
I don't want to see grainy, crappy CL pics of your car with dirty wheels and McDonalds bags in it. Have some pride, people! The better it looks in the pics, the more likely I am to pick up the damn phone!

5) Be accomodating when the customer calls
If I've taken the time to pick up the phone and call you, assume I am serious. Give me your time. Tell me about your car. GIVE ME A REASON TO COME SEE YOU. But don't oversell me. I would rather go see a car someone gave me an honest description of, and told me about flaws, then question the validity of someone swearing up and down "my car is perfect! You gotta see it!"

No car this old is perfect. Ever.

In case anyone is wondering why I took the time to write all this out, its because I would love nothing more than to see our enthusiast base become stronger, more educated about that which we love, and be proud of what we have. Part of that pride comes from seeing the value of what we have climb. I also want this enthusiast base to represent itself well, and that comes through dealings with others.

I got every dime of what I was asking for both my cars, without negotiation. I priced them right, I knew what I had, I bent over backwards to accomodate my buyers, and voila...I got good money for both in no time flat. I did not get top dollar, as I did not ask top dollar. But I am happy with what I got.

They were great cars. They ARE great cars. They deserve better representation than what our owner base gives them at times and should be held to high standards.
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