Where are the best commissions you can get outside Wall Street? At the car dealership, of course. If you’ve ever negotiated with an aggressive car salesperson you know just how sneaky some of them can be.
If you run into a salesperson who is hungry for that big commission, you’ll need to know how to handle the situation. Below, you’ll find explanations and countermeasures for some of the most common tactics used.
Tricky Dealer Tactics and How to Counter Them
Next time you set foot in a car dealership, be on the lookout for these clever sales strategies:
Playing Out the Clock – It’s only a matter of time before you get tired, hungry, thirsty, or bored. This is doubly true if you come with your spouse or children. Unlike you, every car salesman knows they’ve got an 8-hour shift to cover, so they’ll draw you out slowly, playing for time until you’re more likely to make a hasty decision just to get the whole thing over with.
The best way to beat this strategy is by setting the pace by yourself. Set an arbitrary time limit or let the salesperson know that you’re only test driving today and buying tomorrow. Whatever your plan is, keep it strict so that the dealer can’t lead you on.
In many cases, salespeople use upper management for leverage – saying you have to wait while they negotiate on your behalf. As BankRate points out, the best thing to do here is tell them to go for it and text or email you the results.
Finding Out Your Financing Target – The question seems harmless enough, but when the dealership knows how much you wish to pay per month, it can skew the terms of your financing to favor them. In order to avoid paying hundreds – or thousands – of extra dollars over the term of your agreement, insist on negotiating the price of the car separately from its financing.
Once you know exactly how much you’re paying for the car, you can work out a financing arrangement that suits your needs. Otherwise, you’re certain to end up paying more than you have to over time.
Forcing the Immediate Close – Once you’re pretty far along in the negotiation, the salesperson might warn you that if you don’t buy today something will happen, either to the car or to its price. In sales parlance, this is called the “impending event” and it’s very effective at putting the pressure on.
To counter this, you need to make it clear that you’re not playing the game. Explicitly say that if you come in tomorrow and the car isn’t available, you’re sure you can find it online and get the same deal, if not a better one. This reverses the pressure and might make the salesperson cave in.
Take Your Time
More than anything, you need to be relaxed when negotiating with dealerships. Brush off any attempt to use high-pressure sales tactics and focus on one detail at a time. Remember that the sales team has all day to answer your questions, and they’ll put up with you for as long you want them to.