Man in a black suit, white shirt, and tie shaking hands with a man in a button-up

Tips to Remember When Negotiating a Vehicle’s Price

The car-buying process can be grueling, but perhaps the worst part of the endeavor is the inevitable negotiations. After you’ve spent hours searching for a specific vehicle, you’ll then have to haggle with a dealership sales team. Even if you complete your purchase, there’s little chance you’ll feel good about the entire experience.

Well, as a potential buyer, there are plenty of ways that you can fight back. Below, we’ve provided some tips that should help you during negotiations. Then, when you’re shopping for used cars, you’ll know exactly what tactics you should keep in mind…


Tip #1: Understand Your Impending Transaction

Whenever you’re negotiating the price of your new car, you’ll be exposed to a number of specifics and semantics. Ultimately, you’ll surely feel confused, and this means you could end up opting for an undesirable deal. How can you avoid this issue? Well, be aware of the sales team’s strategies, and understand what you’re looking to achieve. You obviously want to purchase a new car, but are you also looking for the best possible financial deal? Do you require some sort of financing? Do you want to trade in your current ride? Stay focused and you shouldn’t have any issues.

“It’s very important to know what you want out of the transaction,” Chris Kukla, the senior vice president of the consumer advocacy group Center for Responsible Lending, told Dana Dratch of “Really understand all the different parts of it before you enter the dealership.”


Tip #2: Don’t Commit

Salespeople will also try to force the customer to complete a transaction on the day they’ve entered the dealership. Considering all of the details that are going through the prospective buyers head, the sales team is clearly looking to capitalize on your current mindset. Instead, be prepared to walk out of the business if you’re unable to secure the financial deal that you’re seeking. There’s little chance that the offered deal will go away, and you’ll have more time to weigh all of your options.

“And the best way to bail from making a decision in the moment is to say, ‘I have to do more research. I have to talk to a few more dealerships,’” said Dan Seidman, the author of “The Ultimate Guide to Sales Training. “I don’t know that I want to make a decision today…All selling is about getting them to buy today. If a person walks out of the dealership, they’re not going to buy today.”

Tip #3: Anticipate the Close

The sales team will continue to use the power of persuasion during negotiations. There are a number of different strategies that they could look to capitalize on (hell, you could write an entire book on this topic). As a buyer, there’s little chance that you can remember all of these strategies, but you can at least be aware when the seller is trying to take advantage. In fact, Seidman suggests calling them out on these tactics, showcasing that you’re aware of their attempt to manipulate.

“We know now that people don’t make a decision on volume, but on the persuasive power of two or three things,” said Seidman. “If you ever want an awkward moment with the salesperson, just name their close.”


Tip #4: Remember that Negotiating is their Job

You may get frustrated with the buying process, especially when you’re negotiating with a dealership. However, no matter how heated it may get, you’ll have to remember that its the sales person’s job to secure the best possible deal on their vehicles. In other words, be aware that these individuals are simply doing what they’ve been trained to.

Of course, you should also remember that latter point. These sales teams have been trained, meaning they automatically have the advantage. However, you shouldn’t be dissuaded, as there are several ways that you can recoup some of the negotiating leverage.

“The salesmen are very specifically trained to separate you from your money,” said Jeff Bartlett, an editor for Consumer Reports. “This is a skill they practice daily, whereas the average car buyer buys a car every 5 years or so. This isn’t a fair fight.”

“I love the art of negotiating,” added dealership general manager Oren Weintraub (via Philip Reed of “It’s kind of like a dance — you have to know what to say and when to say it. You have to be strategic. And above all else you have to know how to create leverage.”

Ultimately, at the end of the day, you simply want the negotiator to talk to their supervisor or boss. If the salesman “goes out back,” you should recognize that you’re close to completing a deal. In this scenario, don’t let up!

“He said he’d discussed it with his general manager and that was his best price,” Weintraub said. “When he said that he had spoken with the GM, it was like a door opened. I knew that if I could get to the GM I could try to make a deal with him. But I didn’t want to insult the sales manager by going over his head.”


Tip #5: Look Confident

Similar to any negotiations, the seller will try to capitalize on any of the preconceived notions of you. For instance, if you’re soft-spoken, they’ll try to talk you out of the room. Make sure you stand tall throughout negotiations and prove that you’re in charge. At the end of the day, you have the ability to walk out of a dealership…make sure the salesman recognizes this.

“Early on, the person you are dealing with forms a perception of you, and this could keep you from getting the deal you want. It’s all about perception,” said Weintraub. “Good negotiators are good at overcoming the dealer’s leverage and holding firm to what they are willing to spend…When you’re fighting for the right thing, you gain a lot of power. And if you can make a person who has what you want to feel good about giving it to you — that’s the art.”