Summer is over, which means that young kids across the state of Utah are back in school. Just as they have always done on the first day of school, kids wandered into their classrooms and nervously searched for familiar faces—friends, neighbors, classmates from the previous year—anyone to diminish the sense of the unknown. Many adults feel those same nervous feelings walking into a car dealership for the first time in a long time. Already nervous about the prospect of making a big purchase, they’re never sure whom they’re going to meet. To help that grown-up nervous kid in all of us, here is a comforting preview of the three people you can expect to meet at the car dealership.

The Sales Professional

At most new or used car dealerships, there’s a good chance that the first person you meet is a friendly sales representative. You may think you know car salesmen and women, but you probably don’t. Contrary to common stereotypes, these are hard working, honest business professionals. Often, they love interacting with people and, if they’ve been trained well, they are wonderful listeners. They spend their days sharing their product knowledge with walk-on customers and following up with past contacts. Be upfront and honest about your intentions and your situation and your sales representative will use that information to steer you toward the right car and the right deal.

The Finance Manager

After you and the sales rep come to an agreement on the price of a car, you’ll meet the finance manager. At the most basic level, this person’s job is to secure auto loans for customers by utilizing the dealership’s network of lenders. Usually, you’ll sit in his or her office to review paperwork and discuss any add-ons you might be interested in. Like their counterparts in the world of sales, a small number of auto dealership finance managers have given the entire bunch a less-than-favorable reputation. A good finance manager will be a valuable resource—helping you to understand taxes, fees, warranty options, and other incidental charges and additional fees. While you may end up buying a few extras during your time with the finance manager, be sure that you are only agreeing to things that you fully understand and accept.

Service Technician

Once all of your paperwork is finalized, you’ll often get a quick tutorial on how to use your new car’s features and functionalities. While this part of your experience may differ from dealership to dealership, the tutorial will often be guided by a customer-facing service technician. Knowing every car inside and out is part of these peoples’ job descriptions. By helping you bypass the owner’s manual, they can teach you how to change the time on your clock, setup a Bluetooth connection, or program your radio station presets. Smart car buyers will use this time wisely to ask questions and to truly understand their new cars.

Knowing what to expect and which faces you’ll see can help make any situation easier to handle. While every dealership is different, there’s a good chance you’ll meet these three individuals the next time you set out to buy a new car. Understanding their role and purpose beforehand can help to temper the nerves you might feel walking onto the lot of car dealer.

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