Don’t Be Fooled by Four SquareThis sales technique is meant to confuse car buyers
Ever seen one of these before?
If you have ever shopped at most other car dealerships, you have. In the automotive business, this worksheet is known as “Four Square.”
It’s sole purpose is to distract you from the most important part of a vehicle purchase: the price.
Car buying involves a lot of numbers, and this system preys on the customer’s lack of detailed knowledge and their reluctance to admit they don’t understand.
Here’s how it typically works:
The worksheet’s four boxes are filled in with a handwritten trade value of your current vehicle, price of the vehicle, downpayment amount, and monthly payment. The last two will be much more than you want to start with in order to begin the negotiations. Notice there is no line-by-line breakdown.
Once you have told the salesperson which numbers you don’t like, usually the downpayment or monthly payment, the salesperson will fold the four square so that you are only looking at those two items.
The salesperson will ask what you prefer and cross out a number and replace it with yours. After a go-around with the manager and some negotiations with numbers, you will arrive at downpayment and monthly payment numbers that are more appealing to you. So, maybe they stretch out the loan term or switch to a lease, but note these negotiations are never about the actual price of the vehicle.
If you are determined to get a certain amount for your trade, they will hem and haw, but then change it on the worksheet. But they will also increase the price of the vehicle to balance it out – without you noticing since they have successfully distracted you from the vehicle’s price by concentrating on all the other numbers involved, lease payoff, payment, loan term, and more.
Four Square will confuse you into thinking you negotiated a deal down to what you wanted to pay, when in reality, the price of the vehicle actually went up in order to give you a trade value, downpayment, and monthly payment you felt more comfortable with. The process is deceptive and borderline illegal.
While many of you have probably had this experience firsthand, here’s an article that explains it in great detail.
The good news is you will NEVER see one of these at a Runde dealership! We don’t want to put anyone in a vehicle they can’t afford, and we pride ourselves on sticking to the budget you set out from the get-go. Our prices are clearly itemized on our website so that you know which rebates you qualify for, and which you don’t. We don’t advertise prices that are unattainable to the average person just to get you in the door.
We are not what you expect when you hear the words “auto dealership.” No pushy sales pitch, no tent sales, no confusing numbers game — just genuine customer service and prices we are proud of.
Let us show you the Runde difference.