Things You Should Never Tell a Car Salesman
Here are five
things you should never tell the guy trying to sell you a
you like the car
emotion; its the surest way to end up paying too much. It
lets the seller know you really, really, really want that
particular car and are probably not thinking clearly and are thus
willing to overlook a lot of things including very possibly
the price in order to make it yours Right Now. The smart
policy is to feign indifference. The cars ok. But youre
not all that attached to it and dont mind buying a
different car on another day, if it means getting a better deal.
Maybe from someone else.
If your will
is weak or you need moral support bring a trusted
friend to help keep you in line.
you can afford to spend
Keep that card
close to your chest. Once the salesman knows your price point, he
will try to steer you toward cars that cost about that much. But
never less. On the other hand, if the dealer isnt sure
what you can afford or want to spend, he may be more inclined to
show you some better deals. Act poor. Or at least, act cheap.
you know about the car
rarely bliss. And one sure-fire way to encourage Salesdude Skullduggery
is to let on that you dont know much about cars, generally
or the car youre looking at, specifically. Keep your
mouth shut and let the salesman talk. Its also important
that any questions you ask sound informed and intelligent. You dont
have to be a car guy to be able do that, either. But
you do have to spend a little time researching the make/model vehicle
youre looking at (along with competitor models) so that you
know enough about it (and them) to not sound like a Mark when you
start talking with the salesman.
totally clueless about cars, bringing along a knowledgeable friend/spouse
is a smart move. If you dont have any such car-savvy friends/family
members, consider a buying service. These handle the negotiation
process for you and while there is a fee involved, youll
know what it is up front and itll probably be lower than what
you could have achieved on your own through haggling
with a sales shark.
the monthly payment
the point about not letting on how much you want to spend overall
but potentially even more damaging is avoiding any
discussion about the monthly payment. Its very easy for a
clever salesman to get an unsophisticated buyer to focus on that
Low Low monthly payment soft-pedaling the total purchase
price (and interest) hes about to saddle you with. For example,
by extending a loan from three or four years to five or even six
years, the monthly payment can be lowered by a few bucks per month
but the actual purchase price may have been jacked up by
thousands. You could be paying additional thousands in unnecessary
interest payments, too. This is how the mathematically challenged
end up upside down owing more in payments than
the vehicle is actually worth.
purchase price first and the monthly payment will take care
about your trade-in plans
A common mistake
some buyers make is to arrive at the dealer with their old car
and get sucked into a discussion about its trade-in value before
negotiating the price of the new car. Its an old car salesman
trick to make the buyer feel he has the edge by giving him what
seems like a great deal on his trade while making up the
difference on the price of the new car.
If you plan
to trade, its smart to avoid any discussion of what your plans
are until after youve settled with the dealership on the sales
price of the car youre buying. Then bring up your trade.
Drive to the dealership in a vehicle other than the one you
intend to trade. This way, the dealer has no clue about the potential
value of your old car until later on which makes it harder
for them to manipulate you over the price of the car youre
trying to buy. Ideally, drive up in a middle-of-the-road, nothing-special
older car. Not too old; definitely not too fancy. You want to convey
the impression that youre employed and solid but neither
rich nor poor.
with permission from EricPetersAutos.com.
[send him mail] is an
automotive columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2011 Eric Peters
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