To stay competitive local dealers are posting their inventory on the internet. With this new development it becomes easier to pit the dealers in your area against each other in a price war. The time of year, time of month, and type of car all play a role in how desperate a dealer will be to close a sale.
These negotiation tactics work best when buying a new car. New cars narrow the options and leave less ‘wiggle room’ in the negotiation. Used cars are so different in mileage, features, and age that it would be difficult to find an a group of cars that are exact matches. Additionally, used cars don’t have the sales incentives from the manufacturer like new cars have.
With that in mind, these are the tactics you’ll use to get a great deal.
1 – Define your car. Find the exact car with the exact features you want. Know the mileage you want the car to have. Know what the car’s dealer price is. If you go into the negotiation with a soft definition of what you want you will lose.
2 – Find the dealers in your area that have your exact car. Use a website like edmonds.com to locate your car. Make a list of the dealers and get ready to make a deal.
3 – Phone calls only. The only time you want to be on the showroom floor is when you are bringing in the cashier’s check to buy the car. Every dealer wants to negotiate on their terms and in their showroom. The salesman wants to play the game where they “talk to the boss” to see if they’ll accept the price you offered. This is a strategy widely used to create fear that you might not get the car. The whole time both the salesman and the manager are trying to keep the game going. Don’t play their games! They will pressure you into coming down to the dealership so you can talk about the details and “see what they can do”. Do not go to the dealership unless you’re going there to pick up your new car on a pre-agreed upon price.
4 – Don’t name your price. You’ll say “I’m looking for the best deal you can offer me on this car. What’s the very best price you can do?” Mention that you’ll be calling the ten other dealers on your list and asking the same question. Also inform them that you have the money ready and you’ll be able to buy it immediately. Let them squirm under the pressure. Remember, silence is your friend. If they are thinking and not talking let the silence work to your advantage.
5 – Don’t let the conditions of the deal change. One negotiation tactic is to shift the offering to change the balance of the deal. Make sure you stand firm on exactly what you want. It’s common for them to wiggle around and get more out of you and deliver less. If they are changing the deal too much simply call the next dealer on the list. Changing the deal can be things like substituting your car for a newer model, offering upgrades, or providing warranties. These are all intended to skew the real value of the car.
6—Stay firm. Be polite, be nice, and whatever you do don’t cave in. There are plenty of incentives for them to give you a great deal; even if they only break even on the sale. Try to remind them of this. You deserve to pay for a car under their list price.
7—Be patient. The time of year and the time of month can be the difference between a homerun and striking out in this game. As more pressure is added to the dealer to meet their sales quota the more appealing an offer like yours will sound. The idea that they could close a sale within an hour if they offer the lowest price is very enticing. If it doesn’t work the first time around try waiting a month and try again.
These are some basic techniques to find the best deal when buying from a dealer. Some of the tactics will work with used cars but with less effectiveness. Please leave a comment if you have any thoughts or success stories on buying a new car.