How To Avoid Showroom Anxiety

How many of you have stopped at a dealership―either planned or on a whim―only to be lured into the showroom to stare at that hot new sports car so shiny you can see the reflection of every drop of drool falling from your mouth. You roll your tongue up, tuck it safely back in your mouth, and proceed to make one of the dumbest, most impulsive decisions of your life.

You buy the thing right there on the spot, and drive it home to your dumbstruck and appalled husband/wife/significant other/creditors.

Don't be ashamed; it's happened to many of us. You were attacked by showroom anxiety, and you lost the battle.

The good news is that you can overcome showroom anxiety. You can even prevent it from attacking altogether. That's right―the next time you're in the market for a sensible, affordable vehicle, or even the next time you're on your commute home from work, you can ward off showroom anxiety. All you have to do is prepare yourself ahead of time.

Know how to act before you enter the showroom, while you're in the showroom, and after you leave the showroom. Actually, this is the kind of preparation you should do whenever you're dealing with a vehicle purchase.

Before the Showroom

Before you enter the showroom, and even the car lot, know your budget, and know what kind of vehicle you need―not necessarily the kind of vehicle you want, but the kind of vehicle you need.

For example, that sizzling new two-seater convertible that gets around 10 miles to the gallon isn't exactly going to benefit your family of five that does a lot of traveling back and forth to school, daycare, work, football practice, and dance recitals.

You also need to know what your car is worth. This doesn't require as much research as you may suspect; simply visit Kelley Blue Book (KBB) online and find out how much your car is worth according its year, make, model, condition, and the area in which you live.

You can also use KBB to find out how much new vehicles are worth, as well. This is helpful information if you happen to stumble into a dealership that aims to take advantage of your showroom anxiety.

Do some investigating before you decide on which dealership(s) you want to visit. Of course, this may not help those of you who fall victim to vehicles that mysteriously drive themselves and their owners into the dealership parking lot while they're innocently on their way home from work, but it's a good idea to stay up-to-date on the different sales going on, the reputations of the dealerships, and even the different prices at which the dealerships sell the same vehicles.

In the Showroom

Ideally, you should take someone with you when you visit a dealership―especially when you enter the showroom. Someone who has a pretty good idea of your financial situation and responsibilities―a spouse, significant other, or close friend―is the best choice.

This person can act as the voice of reason when taking out a second mortgage to pay for the convertible sounds like a perfectly understandable concept.

If your trip to the dealership is a planned one, but you're drawn to the flashy car in the showroom as you're on your way to sign the paperwork for the vehicle you originally intended to purchase, go ahead―give into temptation if you just can't stand it. But as soon as you see that it's way out of your price range, walk away. Or allow the person who accompanied you to drag you away.

Whether the trip to the dealership is planned or spur-of-the-moment, do not take your checkbook, credit cards, bank cards, or cash with you. Leave them at home, or leave them locked in the car and give the keys to the person who came with you.

Denying yourself access to your money will help you leave the dealership, which is what you should do, regardless of why you're there and what you intend to purchase.

After the Showroom

Now that you're out of the showroom and safely at home, wait for the high brought on by an overdose of new car smell to pass, and then think about the vehicle(s) with a clear mind.

You're going to need to mull over the situation for more than a night, however; give it a few days, or even a couple of weeks. It may take a little while before you're able to tell the difference between really wanting the vehicle, and actually being able to use and afford the vehicle.

Remember, only return to the dealership once you know that difference.

This is also a good time to visit, or revisit, a few other dealerships. You may end up finding one that has the same vehicle for a much lower price. As long as you're not the one with the family of five, and the vehicle's not the same two-seater convertible, this just might be a great time to buy.

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