Car sales: What is puppy-dogging?

Walking into a car dealership, thinking about buying a car can be intimidating. Car salespeople have many different techniques for selling and you might feel as though you are being used when talking with a salesperson. Being aware of these techniques can help you from feeling scammed by a car salesperson.

One of these techniques is known as “puppy-dogging.” This may conjure up images of soft animals with big, sad eyes. But how does this apply to car sales?

What is puppy-dogging?

Puppy-dogging is in fact, related to small canines. This technique is often credited to pet salespeople. The strategy is based around the idea of taking an item home to “test out.”

In pet sales, the salesperson will let you take the puppy home for a day, to see how you like it, with the promise that you can return it in a day or so, without penalty if you do not like it after a test run. The idea is, after you have experienced the joy of having a puppy in your home, you will grow so attached to it that you will not want to return it after and you will end up buying it.

How does it apply to cars?

Car salespeople adopted this same strategy. The dealer will let you test drive a car for a while. They may even let you drive it back to your house and park it in your driveway, so you can get a feel for what it would be like to own it. They hope that after you have seen it in at your house and experienced driving it for a while, you will be so drawn to it you would rather keep it than return it.

Does it work?

The theory behind this sales technique makes sense. After you have experienced the joy of owning a car, even temporarily, you will likely feel more inclined to buy. 

Though this technique is effective in giving you a feel for how it would feel to own a car, it may pressure you into making a decision you are not ready for. Be aware that car salespeople use this technique. If you feel you may be susceptible to giving into this technique, before you are ready to make a purchase, you may want to avoid the “test run” or “puppy dog.”

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