Purchasing a car is a rewarding milestone in life. The first question when searching for a Cadillac dealership is: “Which one?” You’ve got lots of options. Take the search for a Cadillac dealer in Dallas/Fort Worth for an example. If you look up “Cadillac dealer DFW,” you’ll probably see close to 15 dealerships that just specialize in Cadillacs, and that doesn’t necessarily include dealers that sell other vehicle brands as well.
We’ve all seen the stereotype of the shady car dealer in movies and television. Unfortunately, these dealerships are not just figments of the imagination but also a real threat to new car buyers and why such guides as this one exist. How can you know that a car dealership is worth its weight? Let’s find out.
Top dealerships are honest, relationship-oriented, and connected to the community. A good dealership will make it a point to establish relationships, even when they don’t turn into sales. You’ll know a good dealership by its rapport and understanding that customer satisfaction and maintaining a good reputation matter more than financial gain. Here are a few ways to identify a dealer that isn’t trying to hustle you:
The dealership lets you know that the vehicle you’re looking at may not be right for you based on your needs, even when that choice might have resulted in a higher profit. They will try to steer you towards a car that fits what you’ve told them your needs and budget are, rather than just pushing a sale.
The dealership is sure to inform you about discounts, incentives, and other financing options that keep you from paying more without you having to ask.
The dealership is upfront about how a vehicle’s features may be pros or cons for your driving needs.
The dealership offers a wide array of options-from inventory, financing, service, and more, based on what you need, not just on what’s most hyped.
A trustworthy dealership will listen to you and tailor their feedback, suggestions, and questions based on what you’ve said. They ask the relevant questions and follow-up with helpful answers. Dealerships understand that a happy customer is a customer who will recommend them and return, so they should be trying to help you find the best car, not the most expensive one.
Dealership culture is another key aspect of your relationship with the dealer and what you can expect. Do employees seem available, happy, and ready to help? Many companies have something akin to a foot rule. If a customer is within a certain number of feet, employees are required to check in with them. So, how can you identify a good dealership culture?
Help is readily available. Bonus points if you’re approached with sincere care, not sales pitches. A good dealership knows that you need to be heard, not be a sounding board for the inventory that may not be right for you. Also, you don’t become insignificant once the sale is made. A car is an investment, and, chances are, you’ll be back either in-person or over the phone with questions, needs for upgrades, and, eventually, repairs. A good dealership will never treat you like a burden just because they’ve already gotten your signature and card information.
A reputable dealership will make sure that you’re happy with your purchase because they know that a strong relationship built on honesty and sincere connection means that they are truly serving the community. That relationship should extend into every department beyond sales. You need a dealership that will be there to help if you need recalls done, repairs made, or financing issues resolved.
Business reviews are your friend when searching for your next car dealership. All reviews are not created equally, however. Dealership blogs or discussion groups are examples of marketing-based and unofficial coverage. That’s not to say that there’s no honest feedback there, but there can also be quite a bit of bias to wade through. Use multiple different sites and platforms to see how people are reviewing a company, so you have a better chance of getting a well-rounded picture of how they usually operate.
You know the ones. The dealership that’s always shouting over the airwaves, on every billboard, and making over-the-top attempts to garner a little more business. That’s not to say that advertising is bad. Businesses must advertise to stay afloat and let customers know they exist. However, those that advertise aggressively are desperate for a reason. More than likely, they see little repeat business, which says a lot about their company culture. This may not always be the case, but it can be a red flag to look out for.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If a dealership offers prices and offers that don’t add up or seem a little too appealing, there’s likely something else there. This can take many forms. It’s not unheard of, for example, for some dealers to send out mail-in flyers (often even in the form of scratch-off games), letting you know that you’re a winner of a smaller product to get you through the door. Advertising pricing that you may not qualify for is another “bait and switch” tactic. Be wary of such methods. You can rest assured that everyone they encounter is the “lucky recipient” of their next shady deal, and at the end of the day, it probably isn’t actually a “deal” at all.
Check to see how the dealership itself is maintained. This may seem like an insignificant factor. After all, you’re purchasing the car, not the lot and building. However, a well-kept, comfortable building is a sign that they care about more than the bottom line.
Is the dealership clean? Is the exterior tidy? Do they offer extra amenities, such as space for children to play, a comfortable sitting area, a beverage table, or other extra comforts? If salespeople are lounging around not paying attention to customers, people are getting yelled at, or the place looks like a dump, it’s best not to stop at all. Presentation matters in the world of sales and marketing, and you want to find a dealer who puts their best foot forward in presentation as they will also do so when working with you.
Does Size Matter
Large dealerships are impressive. Who can enter a sprawling lot of shiny new vehicles, manicured lawns, larger-than-life decorations, a huge building with sprawling showrooms filled with more shiny displays and not feel amazed and overwhelmed? This clearly indicates healthy financial gain. But are these dealerships better?
This may be the case. If a dealership is financially successful, it has done so by selling a lot of inventory, suggesting a great business model, culture, and supportive environment. However, this is not always the case. Many factors play into financial success, such as location (is the dealership right on a busy highway?), competition (how many other dealerships are nearby), marketing savviness, etc.
None of those factors indicate that a dealership is relationship-oriented and knows how to take care of customers. It’s best to take a holistic assessment of the dealership by analyzing all of the factors. If the dealership has a good reputation and favorable reviews, then the size of the lot is not as important. However, a big lot does mean a lot of options, so if you like choices, a large dealership is at least worth looking into.
Research Your Options
It seems obvious, but find out about the car you want. What is its normal retail value, features, drawbacks, perks, gas mileage, etc.? If it’s a used car, have there been any recent recalls? Find out about the dealership’s options, policies, and more on their website. The adage that knowledge is power is hardly more true than on a car dealership lot. If you know the car you want, average price, and dealership advertised offerings, you’re in a position of power when negotiating and discussing the car.
Congratulations on approaching the milestone of a new or new-to-you car! You could hardly choose a better brand than Cadillac as they have a long-standing reputation for excellence. You can’t go wrong with a Cadillac, but make sure you don’t go wrong with your dealership choice. As you look at your dealership options, make sure you can tick the following boxes on people orientation, healthy dealership culture, solid online reviews, and a great dealership atmosphere.