Preparing your car for a test drive

By Kijiji Autos
hands on a steering wheel test driving | kijiji Autos

As soon as you put your car up for sale, you should get ready to hit the road with potential buyers.

Make sure the time and place of these test drives highlight the car’s strengths and encourage a sale. Your initial contact with a potential buyer by phone or email will allow you to plan the test drive (but you’ll first want to read our tips on the subject).

Before heading out on the test drive, clearly establish the rules. Politely explain that you obey the traffic laws and expect the same from the customer. You can’t go wrong doing this, and most people will readily agree.

Here are a few tips that could be of help:

1. Check the driver’s license of your potential buyers

Don’t allow them to test drive the car if they don’t have their license with them. In some places, police can seize a car if no license is presented, even if the driver isn’t the owner.

2. Pick the right time for the test drive

Meeting the buyer in the evening after dark will hardly show your car in its best light. It’s a much better idea to arrange the test drive during the day when your vehicle can be seen in all its glory.

3. Set out the route

By planning the test drive in a specific area, you’ll be able to explain the car’s strong points in a familiar environment.

4. Never let a buyer take a test drive alone or with a group of people:

Ride along in the front seat where you’ll be best able to talk about the merits of the car. Also, by sitting next to potential buyers, you’ll be in a position to show them the dashboard and passenger features. There’s no need for the buyer’s entire family to come along for the ride. Too many passengers can prevent the driver from appreciating how the car handles.

5. Clean the inside of the car before the test drive

Everyone knows that a spotless vehicle is more likely to sell. It’s equally important to remove any clutter from the passenger compartment that’s not part of the sale and could leave the customer less than impressed.

6. Limit the length of the drive

 If the test drive is well planned, 15 minutes should allow potential buyers to try out the car in a range of conditions, from city streets to the highway. A test drive that’s too long won’t make the sale easier.

7. Stay in command

If customers start taking liberties, be sure to maintain control. If someone drives too fast, for example, slip in a word about the speed limit. In fact, if you take advantage of the situation to draw their attention to one of the car’s features, they’ll focus on what you’re saying and slow down.

Remember that you’re the one in charge of the test drive. If the driver does something that makes you uncomfortable, say so. It certainly won’t hurt the relationship of trust you’ve built and may even lead to a win-win deal.

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