top tips for dealing with car salespeople
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Buying a car can be an intimidating event if you're not sure how to deal with the person on the forecourt. You want to know you're paying the right price, getting an honest look at the vehicle in question, and to make sure you're not paying over the odds for extras.
In this article, we'll give you some tips on how to deal with car salespeople and what you need to know before you part with your cash.
What do you need to know before you start?
- Do your research before you visit the dealership. Know what model of car you want, and what price range you're willing to pay. This will give you confidence when dealing with salespeople, who may try to upsell you on a more expensive model.
- When you arrive, be polite and friendly. Greet the salesperson with a smile and firm handshake, and make small talk before getting down to business.
- Be prepared to haggle. Salespeople expect it, so don't be afraid to negotiate on price. Remember, the first offer is usually not the best one.
- Pay attention to your gut feeling. If something doesn't feel right, walk away. There are plenty of other dealerships and salespeople out there, so you don't need to do business with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Get everything in writing. Once you've agreed on a price, make sure it's written down in a sales contract. This will protect you if the dealership tries to back out of the deal later.
What tricks do car salesmen use?
These aren't exactly magic tricks, but there are a few techniques that a certain type of salesperson will use in order to make a sale. Some of these might seem tongue-in-cheek, but they're worth noting. Not all car salespeople are out to get you, but they do work on commission and would love to get you to sign on the dotted line sooner rather than later.
Some of these "tricks" include:
- The "Good Cop, Bad Cop" routine. This is where one salesperson is friendly and helpful, while the other is aggressive and pushy. The idea is to make you feel like you're getting a good deal by comparison.
- The silent treatment. This is when a salesperson refuses to speak to you or answer your questions unless you agree to a price first. They're hoping that you'll get so frustrated that you'll just sign on the dotted line.
- The "bait and switch". This is when a dealership advertises a car at a low price, but then tries to sell you a different (usually more expensive) model when you get there.
- High-pressure tactics. This is when a salesperson uses scare tactics or tries to rush you into making a decision. They might say that the car you're interested in won't be available for long, or that another customer is about to make an offer.
What should you not do at a car dealership?
Preparing yourself for the event is a good idea. Certain behaviours might make you a target for those with fewer scruples than you'd hope. There are a few things you should avoid doing if you don't want to get taken for a ride at the car dealership.
- Don't show your excitement. Salespeople can smell it a mile away, and they'll use it to their advantage.
- Don't give in to pressure tactics. If a salesperson is rushing you or trying to scare you into making a decision, walk away.
- Don't take their word for it. Get everything in writing, and do your own research before making a purchase.
- Don't be afraid to walk away. If you're not getting the deal you want, there are plenty of other dealerships out there who will be happy to have your business.
How do you ask for a lower price?
It's simple: you just say it. But there are a few ways to go about it.
Most importantly, be polite and firm. The salesperson is more likely to take you seriously if you're respectful. Also, consider making an offer that's lower than what you're actually willing to pay. This gives you room to negotiate, and you might end up getting the car for a better price than you originally expected.
Finally, be prepared to walk away if the dealership isn't willing to budge on price. There are plenty of other options out there, and you don't need to do business with someone who isn't giving you a fair deal.
What should you not say to a car salesman?
There are a few things you should avoid saying if you want to get the best deal possible.
First, never give away too much information. The less the salesperson knows about you, the better. They might use your budget, trade-in value, or other factors against you if they know what they are.
Second, never show your excitement. This could be a car you've been wanting for years, but try to keep a poker face when speaking to the salesperson. They'll use your excitement to their advantage and might not give you the best deal possible.
Finally, never say yes to the first offer. Always try to negotiate, even if it's just for a lower price or better financing terms. The salesperson is usually willing to meet you somewhere in the middle, but you have to start the negotiation process first.
Some key phrases you might want to steer clear of include:
- "I'm not sure what I want."
- "I'm not looking to spend too much."
- "Your dealership is the only one I'm considering."
- "I need a car today."
- "I'll think about it and get back to you."
- "My spouse/partner/family member is going to help me make this decision."
If you don't want to get taken for a ride at the dealership, it's best to avoid saying any of the above phrases. Salespeople are trained to spot these kinds of weakness, and they'll use them to their advantage. Instead, do your research ahead of time and know exactly what you want before you step foot into the dealership. This way, you'll be in a much better position to negotiate a good deal.
What should you do if you feel like you've been scammed?
If you think you've been scammed or taken advantage of by a car dealership, there are a few things you can do.
First, try to negotiate with the dealership. It's possible they'll be willing to work with you to make things right. If that doesn't work, your next step is to file a complaint with the Office of Fair Trading.
Finally, you can always take legal action against the dealership. This is usually a last resort, but it might be necessary if you've suffered financial damages as a result of their fraud or misrepresentation.
How do you beat a car salesman at his own game?
There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to beat a car salesman depends on the situation. However, there are a few general tips you can follow to improve your chances of getting a good deal.
Dealing with car salespeople can be tricky, but it doesn't have to be a nightmare. If you do your research, be prepared to haggle, and know when to walk away, you'll be in good shape. And remember, if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Trust your gut and you'll avoid getting scammed.