It pays to keep your wits about you when shopping for a used car. There’s also a wide variety of car shipping it. Auto dealers have a deserved reputation as superb salespeople, and while this may not be an entirely positive image, there’s no denying that when it comes to persuasiveness they’re masters of their art and use amazing Dealer Tactics.
However, this doesn’t mean you need to put yourself at their mercy. By recognizing these seven devious Dealer Tactics, you can resist them and increase your chances of getting the deal that YOU want and not being saddled with the vehicle the dealer most wants to offload.
1) Bait and Switch
Don’t be too surprised if the amazing deal you saw advertised locally is no longer available once you arrive at the lot. Dealers know that once they’ve got you on to their turf, they have a good chance of convincing you that a slightly less attractive option is still a bargain. Although flat-out false advertising of non-existent deals is illegal, it’s not unusual for a single vehicle to be sold at a knock-down price simply to pull people into the dealership.
2) ‘Innocent’ Small Talk
The dealer may at first appear happy to talk about anything at all but the cars they have on their lot. Don’t mistake this relaxed attitude for friendliness – in all likelihood, they’re simply lulling you into a false sense of security while appraising your confidence levels and bargaining skills. Dealers know that the longer they can keep you in the dealership, the better their chances of persuading you into a sale, and small talk is a way of doing this right from the start of your visit.
3) Speaking to the Boss
Once you actually begin negotiating over a vehicle, the dealer may insist that they can offer you a great price but will first need to leave the office and check with their boss. In reality, a dealer will know precisely how far they can afford to drop a car’s price, and this tactic is simply another way of extending your stay in the lot, while also making the deal look more generous than it really is.
While the dealer may indeed go and speak to their superior, they’re probably chatting about the game or last night’s TV rather than anything to do with your negotiations.
4) Aggressive Cross-Selling
Another Dealer Tactics are used car dealers make surprisingly little money on the average sale, and so they’ll take every opportunity they can to add profitable extras into the deal. If you’re offered extended warranties, discounted insurance, or upgraded audio equipment and so on, then ask yourself if you really need these extras, no matter how persuasive the dealer may be.
5) Flattering Your Bargaining Skills
A dealer will often try and make it look like your bargaining skills are really driving the price down. They’ll probably hum and haw, and make a great show of being forced into a better bargain than they really want to offer. Don’t be fooled: there’s no way you’re a more accomplished haggler than they are, and this performance is purely for effect. If you’re not happy with the deal, walk away convincingly, and see how quickly the price becomes flexible once again.
6) Baffling with Finance
It’s not always a great choice to take finance from the dealer, but if you do so, don’t let the terms of the package fool you into paying more than you should. Take care that you know the final price you’ll pay including all interest and fees, and don’t just focus on the monthly repayment figure.
Also, be aware that dealers can make 2-3% profit on any finance they sell, and this can be more lucrative than the actual vehicle sale, so be ready for some strong sales tactics being used whether or not the finance is really a good deal for you.
7) Outright Aggression
Lastly, if a dealer feels like the sale is slipping away, they may start to become a little more aggressive. They may imply that you don’t really deserve the deal you’ve been offered and that you don’t know the real value of the vehicle. If things get to this stage, you can be sure the dealer feels it’s their last throw of the dice, so don’t let yourself be bullied. Stick to the price you want to pay and be ready to walk away if the dealer’s attitude becomes unpleasant.
Buying a used car is a complicated process at the best of times, but letting yourself be manipulated by a dealer’s high-pressure sales techniques won’t make things any simpler. Be aware of the tactics they might use, and you can sidestep them and get the deal you deserve.