Step 6: Making contact
The car buying websites usually work through car dealerships: they send your information to a number of car dealerships; then, the internet sales department of each car dealership will contact you with a quote. To get to the point of receiving quotes, you need to fill out a form or a questionnaire on each website. The form asks about your contact information and other items. There are a few important questions on that form that you need to answer:
1. How soon do you plan to buy the car?
Recommended answer: within one or two weeks. If you answer “within a few months”, the dealers won’t take you seriously, and you won’t get good offers.
2. What distance would you drive to pick up your car?
Recommended answer: 100-150 miles. Using such distance will yield a larger number of dealerships to pick from, giving you a better chance of getting a low price.
3. Do you need financing?
Usually, it’s better to arrange your finances through a bank or a local savings and loan association, before you approach car dealerships. More often than not, you can get a better interest rate and lower fees at a bank or at a local savings and loan association than at a car dealership. Having the finances prearranged will also give you more leverage over the car dealers.
In any case, when you go to pick up your car, you can ask the dealer about financing and compare the dealer’s rate to the rate you got from your bank or savings and loan association.
Similarly, it’s usually not wise to discuss the trade-in of your old car, before finalizing the price of the new car. First, agree on a price for the new car, then bring up the trade-in, if needed.
4. What is your email address?
List a reliable email address that you check several times a day.
5. What car make and model are you interested in?
Enter the car model you selected.
Fill out and submit the questionnaires on all the websites you chose to use; try to submit all questionnaires around the same time, so you will get all dealer responses around the same time.