Last weekend we met with an RV sales rep who goaded me to the dark side. I left there, harboring thoughts of someone’s imminent doom. You can bet it wasn’t mine.
If you’re an upfront, ethical RV sales rep who visits your grandmother every Sunday, this blog isn’t about you. But, just as there are mediocre teachers and lazy lawyers, there are RV salespeople whose ancestors cavorted with masked bandits; ours qualified. Allow me to share.
Why were we even on an RV lot? Why are we looking, yet again, at RV’s when we just bought a lovely Jayco travel trailer that we all love? Because it’s a travel trailer. We discovered Day 1 that while hitching, unhitching, and towing a trailer works for lots of folks, it’s not for us. Frankly, we lean to the lazy side. So, we’re checking out B+’s or C-‘s (short Class C’s): which puts us back on the lots.
Here’s some do’s and don’ts we’ve learned from hanging out on RV lots. And for those of you who’ve “been there, done that” for years, I’d love to hear back from you. Woodall readers can benefit from your expertise. Here we go:
- Don’t tell RV staff what you can spend on a monthly payment. Those in the know (not me) say unequivocally that buyers should discuss actual price only. Sales reps can juggle numbers so virtually any price will come in at your “monthly “ figure. The price doesn’t go down: the interest just gets manipulated.
- Don’t assume you and RV staff are using the same language. For instance, when we indicated the actual price we were willing to pay on a coach we liked, “he” grandly came down to our price; but with all of our trades, large cash down, and other stuff, we still would have been paying the original sticker price. Thank God for smart husbands.
- Don’t believe, “I guarantee you this coach will be gone before this show (day, weekend, etc.) is over, because you just don’t see a coach with these features at this price.” On principle, I called back three weeks later. Every single RV we had looked at is still available as I write. Also, we looked at one RV three months ago and it’s still on the lot, too!
- Don’t assume every RV salesperson is out to have his/her way with you and steal your money. It’s just not true. I’m going to write a blog on what constitutes a good RV sales rep. They’re out there.
- Do say immediately, “You seem like a nice guy, but I’m telling you right up front we’re not ready to share any financial or personal information today. However, we’d like to look at some RV’s and learn some things.” When we’ve said that, RV staff were respectful. Disinterested, but grudgingly respectful, and we got to see RVs.
- Do your homework. Search the internet. Take printouts of RV’s in your price range to the lots. We’re more rational at home and less dazzled by what we can’t afford. And the RV rep sees you’re not a complete fool.
- Do get on chat forums like Open Road’s Forum link on Woodall’s home page
You can ask endless questions of people who know everything there is to know in the universe about buying and selling RVs. I wish my Rving maniac of a Dad were still alive. He would have so loved this RV chat world.
- Do take a legal pad and pencil. I write down almost every word each salesrep says. They are a bit nerve wracked when I look at my notes and quote them, “Yes, but earlier you said…”
- Do get your hackles up when you hear, “What would it take to get you in to this coach today?” That’s unquestionably high pressure sales and each sales rep has been trained to ask that. I always answer, “About a million dollars cash. Really.’
- Do appreciate RV sales reps are human beings; they’re warm-blooded mammals who bear their young alive and are covered with fur, just like us.
- Do buy a book (there are many) that tells you all about the negotiating process. I have several, but my favorite is The RVer’s Bible : Everything You Need to Know About Choosing, Using, & Enjoying Your RV” by Kim Baker and Sunny Baker . Check out Chapter 3, “Buying and Selling Your Dream Rig”. The next chapter, “Financing, Insurance, and Warranties” is pretty darn good, too.
Isn’t it all just a great adventure, friends? I hope you write back. I’d love to hear about your RV lot daze!