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Success Story: Rebecca Silva

Written by Zach Shefska

Zach Shefska is Chief Executive Officer of Your Auto Advocate. Zach co-founded Your Auto Advocate in 2019 after convincing his then retired father (sorry, dad) to join him in an attempt to make the car buying process more confidence-inspiring and consumer friendly.

February 17, 2021

We love to hear stories from our community members when they’ve used Your Auto Advocate to score a great deal on their dream car. We recently received an email from one of our members who shared the recent experience she had when using our strategies to buy a new Toyota RAV4. 

Today’s buying story comes to us courtesy of Rebecca Silva.

Background: An Inexperienced Car Buyer Focused on Finding the Right Price

Rebecca started off her email to us with a bit of background information about herself. She openly admits that she is oftentimes too trusting, had never bought a car before, and was terrified of going to the dealership alone. At the same time, she had been following the content provided by Your Auto Advocate and felt empowered by what she had learned.

With a specific car in mind — a 2019 Toyota RAV4 with a weather package — she carefully followed the price of the vehicle. Using the Suggested Offer in the Market Price Report, she was able to determine that any price below $30,000 would be a fair price to pay for the car she had picked out.

One day, she received an email about a car that fit all of her specifications. Armed with information, she headed to the dealership. Rebecca even brought her laptop, snacks, and a drink so that she would be well-prepared for the long car buying process.

At the Dealership: A Tough Negotiator

Before she left for the dealership, Rebecca had two things in mind:

  1. Collaborative information sharing
  2. A fair price

Rebecca made up her mind that if the first condition wasn’t met, she wasn’t going to stick around to find out about the second one. This is one of the tips that we share often, and it’s great to see that she had the right mindset going in for her time at the dealership.

We’ll let Rebecca tell you the next part:

“After the test drive, I was asked the requisite question, ‘Did you love it? Could you see yourself in it? Wouldn’t you like to drive it home?’ I shrugged it off and said that the car was decent. The sales rep didn’t try to use any other emotional manipulation tactics on me after that. Thank you, Ray! I was well trained for that one!”

Not only did she nail that part of the sales process, but as financing was brought up, Rebecca expertly redirected the conversation to the topic that she wanted to focus on first.

Once she was ready, she asked for the service records and reconditioning report, based on another tip she had learned from Your Auto Advocate. Fortunately, the sales rep that she was working with was happy to provide this information, satisfying her first criteria for making a purchase.

At one point during the early negotiations, Rebecca noticed that she had been taken in by the “I’m your friend” routine. Thanks to her self-awareness, she was able to keep her head in the game and focus on getting the best deal possible.

Once she was ready to talk pricing, Rebecca asked for the out-the-door (OTD) price breakdown with an itemized list. She quickly noticed that there were several fees lumped together, so she sat down with the sales rep to break down exactly how they had reached the target number.

As a prepared shopper, Rebecca opened her laptop and compared the DMV title and registration fees with what she was being charged. She even took it a step further and showed the sales rep the Black Book breakdown and the Your Auto Advocate Market Analysis tool. They looked up the Kelly Blue Book price together.

Rebecca was told by the sales rep that they’ve never come across a shopper like her before…she told us that they said that three times during the course of their three-and-a-half hours together. We love to see our readers make a strong impression!

In the F&I Office:  Having the Freedom to Say “No”

Once it was time to move to the F&I office, Rebecca had a thoroughly broken down OTD price in hand and was ready for the final step of the car buying process.

Rebecca was in a position to buy the entire car outright with cash. However, she learned from Your Auto Advocate that it’s better to finance the car and pay the loan off a few weeks or months later. This is due to the fact that many dealerships have different prices for cash purchases and financed purchases, since they also make money from financing.

She proceeded to go through the financing process. Instead of negotiating over every item on the breakdown, she asked for a lump sum discount that would encompass some of the fees she didn’t agree with.

Thanks to all of her preparation and her use of tools to determine the right price, Rebecca knew to ask for $500 off of the final price. The doc fee of $115 and the VIN etching fee of $50.45 were both encapsulated in this discount request.

The dealership agreed to her $500 discount. Then, it was time for the F&I manager to make his pitches. Rebecca said “no” to every offer. It’s great to hear that she was confident and calm enough to reject every sales tactic. It took about 45 minutes for the F&I manager to realize he wasn’t making any further sales.

Did Rebecca Get a Good Deal?

We’ve often said that the best indicator of a good deal is how you feel about your purchase after you drive off of the lot. Rebecca felt like she got a great deal, which means that she did.

Rebecca used all of the tools available to her to research the car she had in mind. She kept an eye on market fluctuations and was prepared to pounce when a good deal appeared, which she did. Much of the knowledge that we’ve imparted through our videos and blog posts were able to be put into action, and Rebecca walked away with a great deal on a car she loved and none of the extras that she didn’t care about.

Overall, we’d say Rebecca got an excellent deal on her 2019 Toyota RAV4! If you’ve had a great car buying experience using the resources at Your Auto Advocate, let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

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6 Comments

  1. Brian Murphy

    Sounds like a good deal. I’m looking for a RAV4 hybrid and the inventory is really low and I think that is going to hurt me. Good thing I can wait until late fall to purchase….

    Reply
  2. K. Wheeler

    What additional items did the F&I manager try to push? I’m clearly a novice as it seems like if Rebecca agreed to dealer financing he wouldn’t have anything else to offer.

    Reply
  3. Richard Borowski

    Rebecca’s success is validation to Zach’s and Ray’s formula for success… information to decisions to outcome. Personally, I think they are reinventing the future… If there’s a wild card in all this it’s the lack of willingness of dealers to deal due to market conditions in 2021.

    Reply
    • Zach Shefska

      Thank you for the kind words, Richard. It’s awesome to see that we can help people (and have fun doing it). Thank you for being a part of the community.

      Reply
  4. midiman007

    Which Model Rav 4 did she purchase? I didn’t see it in the article or did I miss it.

    Reply

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