It’s one of the least enjoyable aspects of buying a motor vehicle. Whether you’re choosing between a new or used car, dealing with pushy salespeople can be an incredibly daunting and even frustrating experience. If you’ve ever done the rounds, going from dealer to dealer while looking for a vehicle, you’ve probably encountered a wide range of tactics these salespeople use. So what are some of the things you can do to remain in control of the situation? Continue reading to find out.
Look out for the ol’ ‘Switcheroo’
Negotiations may have gone great so far, and you think you’re on the way to picking up a bargain. But at the last minute, the dealer either advises they can no longer offer the vehicle for the price that was discussed, or there are additional costs to pay which were previously not mentioned. This is a common ploy where the salesperson has identified that an individual has an emotional investment in the vehicle.
You may even be given the hard sell for extras you don’t need, or told the dealership is losing money on the deal. If you find yourself in this conundrum, you can either maintain a firm position on what was discussed, decrease your offer to offset the ‘additional’ expenses, or simply make it clear you are prepared to take your business elsewhere.
Manage your own time
Another tried and tested tactic among some car salespeople concerns time management. On the one hand, some may be looking to rush the transaction and get through everything in one day. Conversely, albeit perhaps less common, others may drag out the process via discussions with their manager, or through financing matters. Either way, from the salesperson’s perspective, the desired effect is to remain in control of the relationship.
Instead, you want to be responsible for managing your own schedule. Conduct research and get the ball rolling before heading into a dealership. Once there, make it clear the timeline you’re working towards and stick to the plan you’ve identified. Leave the sales staff to work out any internal issues among themselves while you continue your search. If you’re being pressured into a decision, make it clear you have further research to do.
Don’t reveal too much
It’s not unusual for car salespeople to try butter you up by being overly friendly or inquisitive. What they’re trying to do is categorise and profile you so they know how to approach the negotiation. From your perspective, avoid revealing too much info at one time like your profession and salary, a desire to trade in your old vehicle, financing terms, and a definitive budget.
Isolate these pieces of information in separate stages so that each aspect is being considered on its own merits. After all, you don’t want a lowball offer for your trade-in, or a 0% financing arrangement where your purchase price is higher. Deflect any leading questions where you’re being presented two affirmative options making it seem like the dealer is doing you a favour.
Stay calm and in control
At some stage, it’s likely you may encounter an ultimatum being put forward to you by the dealer. Perhaps a ‘sale’ is soon ending, or the vehicle will no longer be ‘available’. While certain elements to these matters could be true, maintain your composure and clarify in a direct and assertive (not aggressive) manner whether the offer will be available when you need it. If not, it’s a simple decision – there are a wealth of other dealers out there. And if a dealer tells you that they need their manager’s approval, make it clear you’ll need the approval of a partner or family member.