"You never get a second chance at a first impression." I must have heard that adage a million times during the 12 years that I sold cars. And it's true: If done well, the first impression a salesperson gives a customer can go a long way toward setting her at ease. A bad first impression, though, can set the stage for a bad few hours for all involved.
But what about the first impression the shopper gives the salesperson? Many buyers don't know (or don't think) that the first impression they give the salesperson is valuable, too. Those first several minutes can determine the flow of a deal and either get the salesperson on your side or relegate him to the role of a guy who's merely trying to sell you a car. And here is a car-business insider tip: You always want the salesperson on your side. A salesperson on your side might mean a few extra bucks off the deal, time shaved off the paperwork process or an extra-clean car when it comes out of the wash.
As a former car salesperson, I have a few suggestions for things a shopper can say to make a deal easier and let the salesperson know exactly where you stand — all for your benefit.