Choosing car dealers is an involved process. For many of us, it takes months of planning and research. According to Dealerfresh, nearly half of us spend between one and three months shopping before making a purchase, and 83% of us conduct online research before settling on where to buy a vehicle. With all this preparation, it’s possible to come out of the deal with exactly what we want. But spending time on the process can be extremely frustrating. Buyers report that their top concern when buying a vehicle is dealing with the sales staff. If you’re worried, here are a few tips on how to handle common situations.
Car dealers hire people who are good at making convincing pitches; that is, after all, what makes a good salesperson. For example, instead of greeting you with “Can I help you today?” the salesperson might present a leading question, like “What kind of car are you looking to buy today?” This makes it more difficult for you to answer with “I’m just browsing.” No matter how you answer the leading question, the doors are open for them to guide you around the lot. So much for a peaceful look.
Although this forwardness does make some people feel uncomfortable, don’t resort to hostility. Remember that while they’re trying to help, they’re also doing a job. First, be polite but firm. Tell them that you want to browse first, but that you’ll find them when you are ready. Second, prepare questions to ask the salesperson, so you can feel comfortable talking about your options. If, after following this advice, you still feel uncomfortable, then it’s time to trust your instincts and walk away.
Pricing Strategies and Tactics
If you’re looking to trade-in a vehicle, someone from the dealership is going to look it over and appraise it. During the examination, they will be looking for any obvious signs of wear, neglect, or damage to point out to you. They do this so that, when they make their opening offer, they can name the lowest price possible. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with immediately counter-offering-as long as you have a reasonable idea of what your car is worth to them. Take it to a disinterested party for an appraisal and check the blue book value. However, remember that, as middle men, car dealers will never pay as much as an independent buyer.
Car dealers almost always advertise in terms of monthly payments instead of the total price. If you see that a vehicle is priced for $27,059, it may deter you from coming in. However, seeing that “you can drive home right now” for $229/month might sound more appealing. So be sure to set a budget before shopping and stick to it.
Always show up prepared. Car dealers have their agenda (to sell you on something) and you have yours (to buy something). They do not want you to walk away. Negotiating is rather simple when you walk into the situation with a game plan at the ready. Just remember, look out for clever wordplay, do not be afraid to say no, and set a firm budget before shopping.