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How to Effectively Deal With a Car Salesman

man standing next to car salesman

When it comes to buying a new or used car, some car salesmen and women like to use high-pressure tactics to make their sales. Their job is to get as much money as they can for the vehicles they sell, thus giving them a higher commission. Buying a car does not need to be stressful, and you can avoid the high-pressure tactics often used by car salesmen by using a few strategic tactics when car shopping.

Method 1 of 1: Avoiding high-pressure vehicle sales tactics

Materials Needed

  • Computer
  • Copy of your credit score
  • Pencil and paper

The best way to avoid the high-pressure sales tactics of a car salesman includes preparing to buy a car before you even step out of your home, including knowing how much you can spend, the type of car and features you want, and what other cars of the same type are selling for in your area.

Step 1: Research the car you want. Preparation is the biggest defense you can use against high-pressure sales tactics. Browsing around online to find vehicle types that interest you, along with any additional features, can help you say yes or no when the time comes.

car salesman - 2
Image: Kelley Blue Book

Check out reviews on the vehicle type you want using such sites as Consumer Reports or Kelley Blue Book. You could find something out about a vehicle that a car salesman might not mention, such as multiple recalls for various issues.

  • Tip: The best time to buy a car at a cheaper price is toward the end of the model year or the last week of the calendar year. At these times, car dealerships are trying to make room for new model cars and are willing to cut prices to get the older vehicles off of the lot.

Step 2: Know your credit score and your budget. That way you know how much you can afford and what APR you qualify for.

To run a free credit report online, check out sites like FreeCreditReport.com or CreditKarma.com.

Determine how much you can afford to spend each month - and in total - for a vehicle. Many car salespeople try to pump up their commission by getting you to agree to various upgrades, such as expensive tire packages.

  • Tip: Remember, you are the one buying, and if you do not like a particular deal, you can always walk away or say no.
car salesman - 3
Image: Cars.com

Step 3: Compare the prices of the model. Use the Internet to your advantage. Research online to find vehicles that fall within your budget, keeping in mind extras such as sales tax and registration fees.

autotrader reviews
Image: Autotrader

If you have a particular car model in mind, check around online to see what you can get the car for elsewhere, including such sites as Cars.com, TRUECar, and AutoTrader. That way, when a dealer comes up with a sales figure, you can respond that you know where you can get it for a lower price, giving you some bargaining power.

  • Tip: Take a friend or family member with you when car shopping. The high-pressure tactics salespeople often used are less effective when you have a friend along to keep you from rushing into a decision. You should discuss with your friend or relative what you are looking for before getting to the dealership, and ask them to help you stick to your budget.

Step 4: Optimize your financing. Shop around for financing before going to a dealership. This allows you to find the best rates available, or to determine if you even qualify for a loan at the amount you plan on spending.

Check the bank or credit union where you have an account. They might have some good options for vehicle financing.

  • Warning: Salesmen make most of their commission from in-house financing and vehicle extras. Eliminating this from the discussion altogether can save you money.

Step 5: Don’t immediately offer a trade-in. Don't discuss any trade-ins until after you have set the final price of the vehicle you want to buy. This allows you to determine what the trade-in would do to the final buying price of the vehicle.

If a salesperson asks if you have a trade-in, tell them you don't know yet. Letting them know you plan on trading in a vehicle as part of the deal opens the door for them to get one of their appraisers to check out the vehicle. They then try to get you to go through with the sale, using the pressure of them having going through the process of appraisal to try and pressure you to buy.

  • Tip: Don't forget to test drive any vehicle you are thinking of buying. While you are test driving, consider taking the vehicle to a trusted mechanic to have it inspected.

Knowing some of the tactics that car salesmen use when trying to close a sale can help you avoid getting a car you did not want or for a higher price. By preparing beforehand and realizing that you hold the power to say yes or no to a deal allows you to shop confidently for the vehicle you want. Before buying any vehicle, have one of our experienced mechanics perform a pre-purchase car inspection to make sure the car you want to buy has no unforeseen problems.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
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