1. Don't be a dick.
This is Rule Number 1, obviously. If I don't like you, I'm not inclined to bend over backwards trying to please you. In fact, I'm more likely to try and rip your head clean off. I'm a pretty easygoing guy, and you have to be a real prick to get on my bad side. So, let's avoid all that and just be polite.
2. Don't grab anything away from me.
I had a customer that snatched a paper out of my hands. Don't do that. I hate that. Of course, this kind of goes hand-in-hand with not being a dick.
3. Do let me know that you have a trade-in before we start working numbers.
Every car-buying advice website out there tells you that in order to get the best deal, don't tell the salesman that you have a vehicle to trade until you've agreed on a price for a car. That's bulls***. First of all, I get screamed at if I don't know you have a trade-in before I go in to get a deal for you. Second of all, I know I've asked you if you had a trade, and if you said no, you just lied to me. In more practical terms, if we are oceans apart on the price of the vehicle, I might be more inclined to work the manager to give you more for your trade if I like you.
4. Do disclose up-front if you have financial issues.
I know it's embarrassing. But please tell me if you have financial problems (poor credit, short time on the job) before you ask me to show you every car on the lot. It saves me so much time, and you don't get your hopes up for a vehicle you can't afford.
5. Do be a "price-shopper".
It's a LOT easier to be a "price-shopper" as opposed to a "payment-shopper". I don't like to talk payments, because your credit is your fault. If it's good, it's good because you made it that way. If it's bad, it's because you made it that way. I can help you secure a loan with favorable terms, but it's easier if we have agreed on a price, first. But remember Rule Number 4. Tell me if you have financial issues before we start.
6. Do have a general idea about what you want.
My job is to make you want to buy a car, and to lead you through the process in an easy and comprehensive way. My job is not to make a decision for you in regards to what car you actually buy. You know if you want a car, truck, or SUV. It makes my life a lot simpler if you clue me in.
7. Don't come to the dealership if you don't have time.
One of my biggest pet-peeves is people that come into the dealership and don't have enough time to get anything done. You can access the Internet almost anywhere now. If you come in and tell me you only have 5 minutes and you want my best price on a vehicle, I'm going to ask you if you want to set an appointment to come back.
8. Do allow me to accompany you on the test-drive.
Generally speaking, I don't talk a lot on the test drive; it's not like I'm going to be in the car with you when you're driving it day to day. But, it is easier to answer any questions you have about the vehicle if I'm in the car there with you.
9. Don't bring your kids.
Buying a car is a long process. The shortest amount of time I've ever done a car deal in is right around 2 1/2 hours. It only takes one obnoxious toddler on a leash to take your mind off what you came in to accomplish. It's more beneficial to everyone involved if you leave the kids at Grandma's house.
10. Don't be impatient.
Like I said, 2 1/2 hours, minimum. You're about to make a decision that is going to cost you a significant portion of your income for the next 5 years. 5 more minutes of me squaring your deal with my manager isn't going to kill you.