For most of us, five areas will consume most of our incomes throughout our lifetimes. Those expenses include our home, our children’s costs, education, retirement, and our vehicle. After your home, the next most significant purchase you will ever make will be your car.
Purchasing a car is usually quite an involved transaction. In most cases, a typical car purchase takes three to four hours. This means that you will spend quite a bit of time with the car salesman. A car purchase is the only time where you and another customer might pay different amounts for that same vehicle. This is because car purchases are heavily negotiated. And that means plenty of opportunities to say the wrong thing to the salesperson, thus causing you to pay more than you should.
Salespeople are professionals. They’ve had customers before, many just like you. They’ve heard it all. And rarely will you be able to pull the wool over their eyes. They’ll spot you coming. For this reason, it is essential to prepare before you walk into the car dealership, both with a list of questions that you should ask about the vehicle and also with knowledge on what you should never communicate to the salesperson.
What you should never communicate to a car salesperson
Communication involves far more than what you say. Communication is almost as much about body language as it is about the words that come out of our mouth. That’s why it is crucial that when interacting with a salesperson about a sizeable financial transaction, such as a car purchase, you are aware of what you say and what you do.
- Don’t show emotion– Your salesperson wants you to fall in love with the car. They know that you’ll be more likely to pay more when you love a car. Thus, it is essential to demonstrate calm when you are in the dealership.
Comments such as. “I love this car” will work against you, as will uncontrolled fits of giddiness. You need to indicate that you are willing to walk away if the deal doesn’t suit your needs and expectations.
- Don’t have your trade-in readily available– If your salesperson knows that your existing car is waiting outside and ready for a walk-through, they will see that you are prepared to make a deal.
This positions the salesperson with more information about your intentions, but it can also put you in a difficult situation should you decide to walk away from the deal. As soon as the salesperson knows your car is there, they will be asking for the keys to assess the car’s value. That information will then immediately be folded into the negotiations.
- Stay positive yet serious – Though car salespersons don’t have the same bad rap that they used to, many people still think that they are crooks. But with today’s legislation, car dealerships are far more transparent than they ever were. Plus, with the ability to look up just about anything online, car dealerships can’t get away with what they used to.
That said, it is wise to stay a bit guarded during the transaction. Our best advice is to maintain a positive-yet-serious tone that will better position you throughout the negotiation process.
- Let your credit rating speak for itself – Don’t share details about your credit rating before the finance manager runs your credit application. You should ensure you look for the best interest rate possible; it is best to see how your reporting is rated by whatever credit bureau your dealership leverages.
If you comment about your excellent credit score, it might imply to the salesperson that you are confident you’ll get a great rate and that you’ll be ready to make a deal. On the contrary, comments about a negative credit score might imply to the salesperson that you will agree to a higher interest rate, also helping to cinch the deal. Thus, know your score before you go into the dealership, and do your homework on competitive rates so that you are educated on what to expect.
- Don’t let the salesperson know that you need to make a purchase today – While you should never withhold details about your vehicle or act in any way that is unethical, nor should you let your salesperson know that you are desperate to buy a car that day. If you show any desperation, chances are your salesperson will pick up on it.
This could result in you overpaying. If you are ever in a situation where you need a new or new-to-you car right away, look for an option to rent or borrow a car for a short period of time so that you have time to do your homework and shop around. Or, turn to Carbrain.com, who is well-known in providing instant offers on your less-than-perfect car.
- Save your employment details for the credit application – Your salesperson doesn’t need to know that you are a doctor or lawyer or that you have a job with a reputation for high pay.
You also shouldn’t try to represent someone you are not. If your salesperson thinks you are loaded, then they aren’t going to fight for the best deal for you. On the flip side, if they think that you don’t have enough money for the deal, they might not put in as much effort either, as they will think you can’t make the deal.
- Don’t start demanding a specific car payment– Though many of us focus on how much we can afford each month, it is best to focus on the bottom line when it comes to a car purchase. Do some calculations before you go into the dealership by using an online calculator to determine the price of a car you can look at for the amount of money that you can apply towards a payment each month?
Then, don’t look at cars that are outside of your budget. This saves you time and disappointment; it will make sure that you can focus on the bigger picture.
- Ask the right questions – Spend your time with your salesperson, addressing important information about the car’s features. If you came in with a list of questions, this would be easy.
Focus your question on items such as gas mileage, liability, common recalls, number of seat belts, etc. Ask questions later about smaller items such as where the cup holders are located.
Know when to walk away
One other important piece of advice that we can provide is knowing when to walk away. Further, it would help if you told the salesperson when the car you are looking at is not the right car for you. By being upfront, you’ll save yourself and your salesperson with a lot of wasted time and frustration.
After all, your salesperson will likely call you frequently to see if you are ready to reconsider. If they know that you are not interested, you won’t receive those pesky phone calls, and your salesperson will be able to spend their time on their next customer.