7 Negotiating Tips before buying a Car

Snapshot – So, you’re off to buy a car. Well, wait. Car salesmen at dealerships can be very oily to deal with. Just rushing into a dealership to buy your favourite car could mean losing out on lucrative discounts and insurance deals. Basically, you’re a spring chicken waiting to be wrung out to dry. So, if your negotiating skills aren’t a match for say a certain George Soros, it’s better that you stop by and go through the 7 negotiation tips that CarToq has put together just for you.

Do Your Research, before buying that car of your dreams

Casually walking into a car dealership nearest to you and bringing home a car isn’t the wisest thing to do for many reasons. We’ll just give you one. Most salespeople at a car dealerships will be intent on forcing a car they want to sell to you/get rid off, rather than helping you choose the one you want to buy. So, knowing everything there is know about the car you’re interested in buying is a great idea. A great negotiator is one who is up to scratch about the product/service she/he is negotiating for.

In this digital day and age, the web is your friend when it comes to car research. Once you’re armed with plenty of knowledge about the car you seek to buy, you’ll be at a position of advantage when striking a deal at the dealership, right from asking intelligent questions about features to choosing the car variant that is just right for you. The salespeople, sensing an informed buyer, will be on their toes, and that’s what you want when you’re out car shopping.

Dress well

So, you’re car research is done and it’s time to hit the dealership. It would be great if you get into your best suit before walking into the car dealership. After all, your car is probably the second largest purchase in your life, in straight cash terms.

Picture this. You’re just out of bed in a Hawaiian shirt with a goofy hat atop your head, bermudas to cover your behind with casual loafers to round off the “so cool” looks. A beach bum walking into a car dealership to make an expensive purchase isn’t going to get the sales men and women out there bolting into attention.

Rather, this tactic would work if you’re instantly recognizable like say a Rajnikanth or Amitabh Bachchan. If you’re like the rest of us, you’ve got to dress well to be taken seriously anywhere and this is true of the car dealerships as well. A well tailored suit makes a big impression right from get go and this greatly improves the responsiveness of sales staff, at least in India.

Don’t Look Too Interested/Enthusiastic

As soon as you enter a dealership, you shouldn’t give out vibes of say a kid in a candy store. Over enthusiasm is best reserved for times when you’re out playing with a five year old. In a dealership, walking about, checking out the cars on display until a sales staff approaches, is a good way to start proceedings.

Remember, every step of yours is being observed by folks eager to make a sale and too much enthusiasm is a complete no-no. Once a salesperson finds out that you are a calm buyer who can take rational decisions, his/her outlook towards you will be more that of guiding than merely selling. This is the position you want to be in, especially when parting with a lot of money.

Be Polite but firm

If car salespeople try to push you towards a car you don’t like or want, be polite but firm when resisting their efforts. Also, getting into a frame of mind where you begin feel that you’re doing a favour to the dealership is bound to make you cocky and arrogant. This isn’t good for negotiation. You need to be in a neutral frame of mind, constantly analyzing offers and choosing the deal that’s in your best interests. A smooth operator usually has the last laugh.

Play dealership price quotes against each other

This is an old trick in the book. Getting quotes for car prices, insurance and even accessory prices from multiple dealerships/vendors and keeping them handy to wave at the sales staff at the negotiating table is very likely to bring prices down. Selling cars is a very competitive business and the best deals are to be had by pitching rival dealership quotes at each other. While this will involve some efforts, including multiple dealership visits, it will be well worth it if you intend to save a fat wad of cash. Now, who doesn’t?

Talk about competing car models

Though you’re mind is set on the car in front of you in the dealership, constant references to competing car models sold by other brand is a classic pressure tactic that warns the salesman that you have your options open. It also puts the pressure on the salesman to bring out a good deal, which otherwise would have been saved for later. Also, it encourages the sales person to be more pro-active while explaining about the features of the car she/he is selling. While talking about competing car models, don’t belittle the car you’ve chosen to buy in your enthusiasm for forcing a good deal. Many car sales people take pride in what they sell and keeping the negotiation positive is in the best interests of both sides.

Operate in tandem

A customer walking into a dealership only to be swarmed by eager sales staff is the stuff that car shopping nightmares are made of. Multiple sales women and men promising multiple things can easily upset your negotiating frame of mind and you can easily get sucked into the vortex of hard selling. Getting into a dealership with a partner, preferably one who knows cars in and out and one who will ask the sales staff the difficult questions, is a good idea. Playing good cop and bad cop, with you the good cop obviously, can boost you negotiating ability greatly. It’s easy to understand this concept. From needing to please one person, the saleswoman will suddenly have two customers to please, and obviously, putting efforts to please the good cop option is easier for her. Also, having help at hand in the form of a knowledgeable buying partner will also ensure that you don’t get stuck in traps that you might have otherwise missed, especially in a situation when you’re excited to drive home a new car.

Image courtesy Edmunds