Why is it so hard to find serious buyers?

Discussion in '308/328' started by rtking, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. rtking

    rtking Formula Junior

    Mar 5, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Full Name:
    Bob King
    I'm not trying too hard to sell my '83 Mondial QV, but I have listed it for sale. What bothers me is that, despite posting "serious buyers only", I get people emailing for lots of details and photos (one requested 30 photos of specific angles) and then coming up with unreasonable offers. Heck, one person offered me $4,200 (yes, you read that right.) I just got off the phone with another kid who was asking how flexible on price I was for the car without even seeing it. When I told him I was firm on price and about how a timing belt would be due in a year's time, he said, "I heard timing belts are expensive." When I attempted to explain how it's not difficult to buy a Ferrari, but expensive to OWN a Ferrari, he simply cut me off and hung up.

    What is wrong with people?!? I never contact a seller unless I'm serious about buying a car and have the funds available. It seems that the internet gives people a sense of anonymity and they can come up with idiotic offers and requests.

    Do you guys encounter this too or am I just being overly sensitive?
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  3. sammyb

    sammyb Formula 3

    Jun 23, 2006
    Where wife tells me
    Full Name:
    Unfortunately, people always want to dream about owning a Ferrari, but they are usually not serious.

    The way I usually get around these issues with the cars I've sold in the past:
    -Put in the ad "Price is FIRM", or "No low and/or unreasonable offers (look in any price guide, this car is currently priced reasonably)".

    -Mention "I'm happy to answer questions for serious buyers, but please do not use my time to educate about general questions. Plenty of articles and fantastic community sites like are available online to provide everything you need to know about this specific make and model before looking at a specific car."

    - "I am more than happy to provide information and opportunities to inspect the vehicle to serious buyers. Please no tire-kickers, dreamers, scammers (I know all the tricks, so don't even bother.)"

    After that, you simply need to realize that stupid questions and stupid, annoying shoppers come with the territory. This is why consigment places exist. It's time consuming and frustrating to sell a classic car. Heck, I had one guy come down with his wife to buy my '68 Polara Convertible, he drove it, loved it, said he wanted it. Had me fill out the things he needed for his loan (it was only $7500) and even after I told him that he should sleep on it or discuss it more with his wife, he said he definitely wanted the car and would come back with the cashiers check and to pick up the car in 48 hours (which is what the finance company required.) He emailed the next morning saying that he had decided to look for an earlier Polara!

    Just go with the flow.
  4. hardtop

    hardtop F1 World Champ

    Jan 31, 2002
    Full Name:
    I've sold 5 used Ferraris and never had too much trouble. My mechanic sold 2 of them, so the buyers were already "vetted". One I sold to a guy who had been after me for a long time to sell. The other 2 went to out of state buyers who were not a problem. I think part of your problem is that you have a relatively inexpensive model so you are getting a lot of uninformed would be buyers at the limits of their finances. You may have to "stroke" them some to dispel their worries, etc. and have to put up with them getting financing.

    Good luck,
  5. Bullfighter

    Bullfighter Two Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Jan 26, 2005
    Fullerton, California
    Full Name:
    What he said.

    All you can do is be honest and cordial. If you have a stock photo set, I guess I wouldn't mind emailing that to anyone. It's not much of an effort to attach the files and hit 'send'.

    One other thought: When I was selling my Mercedes SLK a while back, I got a few calls asking whether my price was negotiable. I responded that I might be willing to move off the asking price (which was high) but that I was not willing to haggle over the phone. The buyer would need to see the car before we talk price. You can't judge a car over the phone, so any negotiations are meaningless in any event.
  6. Michael B

    Michael B F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Apr 28, 2004
    US of A
    Full Name:
    Great post's on this.

    sammyb could not be more spot on.

    I get disenchanted when selling these days too. From parts (even something as simple as a set of wheels) to cars (from A-Z) people just yank chains with no serious intention of buying. I have story after story of weak minded buyers (and several of weak minded sellers too).

    Here's one: I must know 10 "buyers" who have never pulled the trigger on a purchase. They are always "looking" but never seem to buy. I handed the exact car on a platter to an acquaintance of mine. He wanted a Cobra replica in a certain color, at a certain price, and within a certain distance from him. I found the exact car for him (by accident) and zipped it over to him for approval (the car was flawless and better than he would have ever asked for). He was like "oh wow thanks - its perfect!" but he did not buy it. No explanation. I have not helped him since as now I know he was just stroking me for months. And that is just one of ten guys just like him.

    Even worse: Recently I had a gent come to buy my motorcoach (my wife hated it). He asks me to take a check to which I said "sure as I have a national data base that I can run the check info through." He writes it & I walk it in and run it through my check approving machine in my personal office - with him in tow behind me. The check company says "denied." I look at him and without saying a word he just smiled and walked out. Never to be heard from again. What was his plan? I must have spent two hours with him before he "bought" the thing and he never could have paid for it to begin with.

    Not everyone gets it. There is a science to being a gentleman or even a player. Most people are never taught to be either and therefore anyone whom they come in contact will ultimately suffer.

    Watch your step as they walk among us.

    Happy Easter!
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  8. marc.l

    marc.l Karting

    Feb 25, 2008
    My purchase went like this........
    Friday saw it advertised
    Saturday made the telephone call
    Sunday made an offer
    Monday collected
    still have a smile on my face.

    When I purchased my maserati merak i had a full ppi done. it checked out great. it cost me £3500 in 6 weeks. With old cars it is very much luck of the draw and have purchased quite a few classics unseen with out any problems.
  9. 76Steel

    76Steel Formula 3

    Sep 8, 2007
    New Jersey
    Full Name:
    Hi RtKing,

    I agree with the fact that there are many people who would love to own a Ferrari & when you have a car for sale at a somewhat accessible price (whether people know about the up-keep costs ot not) you will get several lookers with semi serious interest, but perhaps not many real bites. I belive many of the folks that call you would never look at a Ferrari that week, EXCEPT the fact that this one was advertised locally and WOW - its actually not $150K like they thought they all cost. Know what I'm saying?

    You'll know a real buyer when you hear from one. Until then, you might have to put up with explaining and e-mailing a pic of two and ask the caller to call you after they receive it. These buyers/ callers have to be treated special, because they are not "Ferrari guys" who know, study the models.

    Last thought is that if you really get a lot of calls, try the Open House approach. Tell everyone that you'll be showing the car on Saturday between 11 and noon. This will create some friendly competition and will make the car more desireable in the eyes of the buyer who sees that someone else is actually checking it out as well.

    Just my thoughts.
  10. BwanaJoe

    BwanaJoe Formula 3

    Oct 23, 2006
    Former Space Coast
    Full Name:
    Joe Burlein
    Something else to weed out the tire kickers. If you get to the point with someone where they say the REALLY want it, they will buy it and will you hold it for them, tell them sure, for a non-refundable $500 deposit. Have them sign the paperwork and send you a cashier's check. If they aren't serious, it won't happen. This way, you aren't missing out on another potential sale. I had a buddy who made $1500 this way. One other thing. No test drives without a deposit. (You can tell them to get a PPI first, that way there will be now surprises for them in any way.) Otherwise you get joy riders. Ask me how I know...
  11. DGS

    DGS Four Time F1 World Champ

    May 27, 2003
    Full Name:
    If they're serious, they'll have questions.

    One way to reduce the labor of selling is to assemble the answers first.

    Most internet accounts have some "web space" associated with them. Put pictures and details on a web page, and let people get their answers there, first.

    I sold a (WRC homologation) Celica AllTrac in a matter of days, using a web page. (This was a car the dealers refused to touch, because it was "too specialized" -- even to Audi and Mitsu dealers.)

    I got some oddball emails, but I had a glut of potential buyers lined up before I even started scheduling people to look at the car. (Then I had to email a bunch of them back, because the first person to come look at the car bought it.)

    One lesson: put up any email address as a gif or image, not as a "mailto" link. I had more trouble with the spambots afterwards than with the car sale.

    But if the kids can browse the web without wasting your time, then the lowball offers don't bother you.

    And if you're looking for web space, there's always FerrariAds. ;)
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    NYJETSFAN Formula 3

    May 11, 2001
    Full Name:
    I get the caviar appetite with the Mc Donalds budget group!
  14. Wade

    Wade Three Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Mar 31, 2006
    East Central, FL
    Full Name:
    Wade O.
    I did exactly that when I had my 1098S for sale; loads of hi-res pics, lots of info and I even added a YouTube video. The bike sold to the first person who looked at it and I got the price I wanted. :D
  15. rtking

    rtking Formula Junior

    Mar 5, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Full Name:
    Bob King
    Thanks for the great suggestions guys. I think this kind of information is fantastic and is something we'll all need when/if we decide to part with our Ferraris (hopefully to get another example of the marque.)

    I'm sorry to hear that others have experienced this too, but I'm just fed-up and growing intolerant of having to put up with nonsensical emails and phone calls where people waste my time. In the instance of the kid that called, I'd have been fine telling him about Ferrari ownership and expectations had he been more polite and willing to listen. At this point, I'm going to follow your advice and look into assembling a web page with high resolution images and details on the car and wait for the right buyer. But in the interim, I'm just going to drive and enjoy the car.

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