< Back to front page Text size +

The psychology of car-buying

Posted by Christopher Shea  May 4, 2009 02:22 PM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

2CO.jpg2009-Toyota-Sienna-LE-006.jpg
So which will it be, Sir?

When a car dealer asks a browsing male customer, "Do you have to consult anyone else on this decision -- or are you able to pull the trigger if you see a car you like?" is the salesperson:

1. Merely soliciting information, to avoid wasting time on someone who cannot buy on that particular visit -- as well as making use of consistent survey data showing that women (or significant others in general) heavily influence family car choices?

2. Insinuating that a male who needs to ask his partner if he can buy a car is unmanly, in hopes that the customer will attempt to "prove" the salesman wrong with a decisive purchase?

3. Some combination of 1 and 2?

The question is so universal (they even use the same language) that it must be part of Car Sales 101, but I'm not sure what psychological buttons they're trying to push. Answers from psychologists or management professors are especially welcome.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

 
About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
contributors
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.

archives

Browse this blog

by category