If you need to sell your car, and aren’t sure how to go about doing it, there are few simple ideas that will not only help you to sell your car faster than you’ve ever thought possible, but also to get the best price, perhaps even a little bit more than you were expecting.
These techniques are based on emotions and psychology, and have been used for years by salesmen and women to maximize their profits and to get their products into the hands of happy customers.
First of all, make sure your car is really worth what you are asking for it. If there is damage that you aren’t willing to disclose, then you will have an angry customer on your hand. Even though these techniques will likely work, regardless of the condition that your car is in, you need to be upfront and honest with any repairs or drawbacks to the sale.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get on to the good stuff. I’ve been studying sales and persuasion for many years, and have worked in various industries, including car sales. I know the techniques that work, and what doesn’t work. When you apply some of these ideas, your car will be gone, and your wallet will be filled with money eagerly given to you by a happy customer.
The first concept is social proof. People want to buy what everybody else is buying. Social proof was illustrated brilliantly in Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion.” When you can get across to your potential customer that there are many other people that also want to buy your car, their own desire to buy will naturally increase.
How to do this? If you are placing an ad online, be sure to mention that your make and model is very popular. How do you do that? Easy. Just use the words “very popular” to describe your car. For example, instead of saying “for sale, 1998 Toyota Corolla,” you can say “For sale, the very popular 1998 Toyota Corolla.” Sounds cheesy, but it works. Another way to use social proof is to imply there is a high demand for your car. Instead of saying, “for sale, 1998 Toyota Corolla,” say “For sale, the very popular 1998 Toyota Corolla. This car has been always been in demand.” Again, sounds cheesy, but it works.
The next concept, again illustrated in Cialdini’s book, is the concept of scarcity. Whatever might not be around for a while, people seem to want more of it. When the Concord announced it was going to stop flying, demand for tickets suddenly skyrocketed. There is a reason many ads will say, “For a limited time!”
They use that corny phrase simply because it works. So how can you use this to sell your car? Think of a legitimate reason for putting a limit on the sale.
“In demand 1998 Toyota Corolla, for sale only until the end of this week. Email for details.”
You don’t even need to give a reason, and it can still have a powerful effect on your sale.
The next idea is authority. When people hear something from a recognized authority, they are much more likely to be influenced. So how do you connect authority to your car sale? Google the make and model of your car along with “awards” or “consumer reviews.” Doing this with a 1998 Toyota Corolla yields several results. One was a four and a half star review from epinions.com.
So lets see what happens when you combine, social proof, scarcity, and authority all in one.
“For sale until the end of this week ONLY. The always in demand 1998 Toyota Corolla. This very popular and reliable model received a 4.5 star recommendation from epinions.com. Please email for details.”
Now, doesn’t that sound better than:
“For sale. 1998 Toyota Corolla. Email for details.”
Not only will you get more hits, but also more people will be interested in buying your car. Which brings up yet another psychological influential factor. Competition.
In the above-mentioned book by Professor Cialdini, he illustrates a story where a fellow made some money on the side while in college. He would buy used cars, spend a few weeks cleaning them up and fixing minor damages, and then re-sell them. Whenever people would be interested in the car, he would schedule an appointment with them at a specific time. But he would always schedule two or more people at the same time. They would show up, and start a bidding war right there on the spot, and he would always sell these cars for much more than he paid for them.
While that might border on unethical sales practices, it illustrates the almost untapped power that exists when you apply simple psychological influence ideas to selling your car. You’ll sell it a lot quicker, and make more money.