How To Speak To A Car Salesman And Get What You Want

Mistakes are worth identifying and avoiding ahead of time.


When you’re buying a new car, the sticker price should be viewed as a maximum price rather than a guide price. It’s the salesperson’s job to persuade you that it’s reasonable, and a little resistance on your part will almost always yield a discount. Brinkmanship of this sort is an art more than it is a science, and the dealer is going to be more practiced than you are. After all, the average customer will buy a new car every few years, while a competent dealer might sell a car every few days – or even more often.

That said, there are a few mistakes are worth identifying and avoiding ahead of time. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Work out your Finances

Determining your budget ahead of time will help you to avoid overspending. As part of this, you should assess your financing options. For example, if you’re buying a new Citroen, you might spread the cost over several years, and offset it with a trade-in.

Take your Time

If you walk into a dealership and announce that you’d like to buy a new car, then you’re immediately putting yourself in a weaker negotiating position. They know that you’re less likely to walk away, and thus they have no incentive to lower the price to incentivise a purchase. Make a point of shopping around several dealerships, then come back with a price that you think is reasonable.

Do your Research

Before making a purchase of this magnitude, you’ll have researched the vehicle under consideration and determined that it offers all of the functionality and features that you’re looking for. As part of this, you should have figured out what the dealer is willing to accept. Resources like the Kelley Blue Book can prove an invaluable source of information.

Be Polite

With all of the mind games going on, you might be forgiven for thinking that the dealer is a little bit callous and manipulative. But that’s just part of the job, in much the same way as it is with any other sales role. Being rude to the dealer isn’t going to earn you a discount.

Learn to say No

Part of the job of the dealer is to bolt on additional extras, all of which will inflate the price of the car. If you don’t consider the cost of these ahead of time, it’s easy to lose track of your budget. Work out the extras you want, whether it’s an extended warranty, rear parking sensors, cruise control, or retractable mirrors. When the dealer suggests that you go for a few additional mod-cons, it’s your job to refuse.

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