My first experience of selling on Dubizzle was two years ago when trying to sell on the vast excess of office furniture in the school building we were moving into. I was quite taken aback by people’s expectation that they could negotiate the asking price down to ‘for free’ or that buying one table entitled them to several others as part of the deal. The one big difference this time was that the item was mine, had four wheels and had been my daily companion around Dubai for several years: my beautiful dark blue MX5.
I had thought I would get quite a bit of response as there are not many MX5’s in the city and this one was unique in that it was a US import and the only soft-top convertible automatic in the country. The advert had only been on for an hour when the first call came through followed by a variety of texts and emails all interested in meeting to view the car. I had expected hard bargaining but what I did not expect was to meet a rich slice of humanity – nuts included.
Here is my guide to The Eight Traits of Car Buyers on Dubizzle:
This prospective buyer already has, or has had, at least one car of the same model. It is highly likely that he will wish to share pictures of cars past and present with you at length. I say ‘he’ as almost invariably The Collector will be male and quite possibly have an associate male collector with him. He will appear highly knowledgeable about this particular model of car and be keen to amaze you with his technical spec recall. The line of conversation will focus on reinforcing that you, the owner, actually knows nothing about the car you have been driving. This will be most relevant if the current owner is female. In fact it is incredible that you have been able to find the door. Essentially The Collector is a timewaster but you will have already have lost countless hours or days by the time you realise this as he will have blinded/bored you with his deep understanding of all things car. The purchase is skilfully delayed as more information is sought or shared until he has exhausted his repertoire or the seller has lost heart. This car buyer is unlikely to complete the purchase: the conversation and the chase is what he is most interested in.
The Moral Purchaser
This prospective purchaser is the one who when hearing they are not at the top of your list of viewing appointments will be keen to advise you on the process of selling. They will assure you that they will be giving the asking price and would not try to negotiate with you, as so many other less honourable prospective buyers will. This may be so but it is more likely that this moral stance will evaporate the moment they see the car will make an absurd offer. This buyer may, deep down in their heart, not wish to scam you but this is exactly what will happen. This car buyer is highly unlikely to complete the purchase: the feeling that they have done the moral thing is of more value that the car itself.
Here we meet the heart and soul of car purchasing, the buyer who is determined by whatever means are available to beat you into price war submission. This prospective buyer will usually reveal his traits at the start of the conversation with a phrase along the lines of ‘what is your lowest price’ or’ is the price negotiable?’ before ascertaining any other information about the vehicle or arranging a viewing. Their aim is solely to begin negotiating as soon as possible. If the seller gives any sign of weakness the hunt will begin in earnest. Negotiating price is a normal procedure; after all we all like to think we have got a bargain. What makes this buyer different is their lack of humour and/or conversational banter, which can put the seller on the defence right away or intimidate them. Every slight ‘ding’ or potential issue with the car will be used as a bargaining lever, even if there are no significant body work or mechanical issues. This buyer is genuine and if the seller is strong enough will agree to the sale as long as they feel that they have gone below the mythical lowest price point but you will feel as if you have gone through the mill to get there.
The Soul Barer
This prospective buyer will appear to view the processes from initial contact and viewing as some form of counselling or therapy, especially if the seller is female. This particular buyer’s traits will become evident very quickly controlling any conversation to be about his previous cars, other cars he has viewed. He will also bring into conversation his family, job, previous jobs and a myriad of personal information that is in no way relevant to the purchase or car related in any way. I have used the pronoun ‘he’ to describe this buyer as it appears that it is the overweight male in his late 50’s who seems most disposed to this particular trait He will be on his own, Soul Barers will not have a sidekick. The seller may find it difficult to move this buyer on to further discussion about the car in question as every comment will prompt further discussion on previous cars and personal connections. It is highly unlikely that this buyer will complete the sale, as the seller will probably have all but given up trying to discuss the purpose of the meeting with their head spinning with the emotional offloading which has just occurred. It may be the seller who calls the process to a close not feeling able to face a couple of hours in the RTA completing paperwork in the company of this kind of buyer.
The Wife Purchaser
As the heading denotes, this buyer will be male and as he has taken on the role of car purchaser in the partnership will be alone. He is easily identified as the context of the interest in the car will always be very similar: they only have one family car and he is looking for a run-around for ‘the wife’. The reason given for ‘the wife’ not accompanying him on this viewing will be that she would just fall in love with the colour. How this is buyer is responded to and how the discussion will develop may depend on whether the seller is male or female. One thing which will become apparent no matter who the seller is, is that ‘the wife’ will not be aware of the prospective purchase and that the car is probably far more suitable to the buyer. It is, therefore, unlikely that this sale will go any further when ‘the wife’ finds out.
The Illiterate Shopper
I have included this particular trait as there appear to be a high number so such prospective buyers around and keen to get in touch with you. Of course they are not strictly ‘illiterate’ but they do seem unable to take in the information provided on the advert. They will enquire about make, model, millage all of which, in addition to other relevant information, will be listed on the site advert. No seller objects to answering further questions about their car but will become rather jaded by repeatedly providing the same basic information. May be it is that they are jogging your memory just in case you have many cars on the site for sale or perhaps that they cannot believe it is such a good deal. One thing is for certain is that whether these are genuine buyers will probably remain unknown, as the seller will have already lost faith in the likely hood of the sale.
This prospective buyer will not reveal his background initially and will appear to be your ideal sale until the very last minute. They will be very keen and focused on the car’s history and service records whilst praising the seller on the good condition and foresight if it has been regularly maintained: good salesman techniques. Again much positive reinforcement will be given to the seller after a test drive with reference made to the feel of the steering and breaks. At this point the seller is feeling quite positive about the deal going through and begins to relax especially when the buyer has been able to make some personal link whether through sport, music or some other interest. This buyer does not need time to think over the purchase as, as you will later realised, has already done his homework. Discussion about sale and transfer will be swift with a condition put in about RTA testing results. Money up to this point has not been further discussed. When it does come to money, this buyer will give you a much lower price than the seller is asking explaining that, after careful consideration, they will not be able to sell the car on due to a whole list of reasons including the time of the year and the car market in general. Now it may be that all their reasons are valid and that if a seller is in need of a quick sale this may be the option for them: fast sale, cash in hand or bank draft and no more viewings. There may be sellers who will still hold out for more money but it will be worth keeping this prospective buyer’s number should the need arise.
The Genuine Deal
This prospective buyer is not easy to spot. It is highly likely that they will have been one of the seller’s first calls and may have shown ‘Negotiator’ or ‘Moral Purchaser’ traits initially, which may have put the seller off. What will make them stand out is their genuine on-going, yet not pushy interest in how the sale is going. The seller will have been lured by some of the other traits first and as each one falls by the wayside this buyer will still be in the seller’s mind. When viewing does happen there will be some discussion about previous cars and it will become apparent that this buyer does have car knowledge but is keen to talk with the seller rather than at them. The seller will learn a little about the buyer but will not feel emotionally burdened. This buyer is not buying for anyone else and although alone he will have at least one friend with whom to discuss the car and the sale. Although the negotiating will be serious with much bargaining and reasoning from both sides it will be a friendly discussion ending with a mutually conditionally agreed price – passing RTA testing being the condition. The seller will be happy with the deal and even the process of transfer will be amicable ending with the new very happy buyer offering a lift.