3 Key Steps to Negotiating Your Car Deal

Buying a new car can be a lot of fun. However, negotiating the right price can be a less than enjoyable process for the inexperienced car buyer. With some preparation and charisma, you can get the car you want without breaking your bank account.

Buying a car can be an unbalanced negotiation since most car owners buy a new car once every three to five years, while car salespeople conduct tens of transactions annually. Negotiations training experts can guide you to even out the odds with these three key steps to negotiating the perfect car for the best price.

Be Prepared

When searching for your next car, start by getting all the information you can before entering the dealership. List down your needs and do some online window shopping to narrow down on car type, brand, and model. You don’t need to be a car expert; simply read up on how different car models compare to narrow down your selections before you make you begin shopping.

If you’re buying a new vehicle, check market estimates through online resources such as CarsDirect.com, MotorTrend.com, CarClearance.com, TrueCar.com, and Edmunds.com. For trade-ins, try KBB.com and ConsumerReports.org.

When conducting your research, gather info about the latest rebates, lease specials, and incentives for your chosen car brand. Incentives may take the form of low-interest financing or cash discounts.

More than knowing how much your preferred car is worth, compare the price tag of local dealerships for that car model. The Negotiations Experts recommend you have your comparison handy so you can use it later to compel a sales rep to knock down their prices to match the competition.

Be Polite but Firm

There’s lots of advice for car buyers that recommends giving the salesman an offer far below the price tag and adamantly refusing to bargain. Following this hard-stance advice, buyers adopt an adamant “take it or leave it” attitude whilst threatening to walk out or give a poor review. An acrimonious attitude often doesn’t yield the best results.

Instead, make use of expert negotiation training techniques to stay polite or even friendly with the salesperson at your preferred dealership. Most salespeople are likely to respond aggressively if you approach them with threats.

If the price is way over what you’re prepared to pay, then firmly state your counter offer, being careful to not appear rude by maintaining a polite attitude and giving reasons. For example, you can mention offers you have received for the same model from competing dealers to get the sales rep to propose a better offer.

Timing Is Crucial

When you have decided on the car make, model, and price range you can afford, it’s time to hit your local dealerships and make your purchase. Most dealerships set monthly sales quotas for their staff, so it can work out in your favor to visit when the pressure is highest on the sales team to make sales.

For instance, if you visit the dealership on the second week of the month, you may be quoted a high price by an unwavering salesperson who’s still confident about achieving their monthly target. However, if you go for the same car a day or two before month-end, the salesperson may be more willing to negotiate down on price or offer a few more incentives.

Some other times to use your negotiation training to lock down a favorable price include weekends, bad weather days, and holidays when car sales are at their lowest.

A skilled content creator and editor, Lilou Hoffman’s easy-reading, approachable pieces help bring important business and negotiation skill-building content to new audiences in an accessible way.

Photo courtesy of Brian Teutsch, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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One Response to “3 Key Steps to Negotiating Your Car Deal”

  1. James C. Walker says:

    And when you find just the right combination of model, features, color, etc. in stock on a $30,000 car, don’t be silly and lose your ideal car trying to save $300 more (1%) when the dealership can’t or won’t budge on that last $300.