When you find yourself in the company of a car salesperson, it’s of huge benefit to have already made a clear decision on exactly what car you’re looking for. This should be in your mind at the very beginning of your car-buying process. When test-driving a car, or looking at them online, pay specific attention to which aspects you like, and which you dislike. Build a shortlist of cars and then eliminate them one by one. Once you’ve settled on a final choice, you’re then able to decide on options, like your ideal specification, colour and whether you want a manual or an automatic. The more specific you are with what you want, the stronger your position in the showroom when negotiating.
Car salespeople are often genuinely very pleasant, but it's worth remembering that enjoying a relaxed, friendly atmosphere can lead to you dropping your guard. These days, sales executives are increasingly well-trained, and the most effective ones can exploit a relaxed, cheerful customer to their advantage. Never lose sight of your objective. You havn’t visited the car dealership today to make a new friend. Your only reason for sitting at the salesperson’s desk is to get the best deal possible while their job is to make as much profit for their company as they can. If the first deal a salesperson offers you actually exceeds your expectations, try not to make this immediately obvious. Remember, you’re about to spend thousands of pounds, so keeping a cool head is vital. Persistent negotiators can often secure further discounts, so don’t accept the first figure you’re given. Remember, the salesperson’s ‘best offer’ will not be the first offer.
Before you can negotiate, you need to know what the recommended price of the car is and this will usually be listed on the manufacturer’s website. Even jump on CarSalesto see what they are selling for as all dealers advertise some of their stock here. Having a specification in mind, and knowing the manufacturer’s recommended price, puts you in a strong position to negotiate. This can also help you immediately pick up on any attempts the dealer might make to sell you a different model. If you’ve set your heart on a specific model, be wary of offers of ‘special deals’ on a lower-specification car. It’s rare that a dealer will go out of their way to save you money – suggesting an alternative model is often more beneficial to the dealer than to you. Stick to your guns, unless the deal is demonstrably worthwhile, as you could end up sorely missing features you were looking forward to in your new car.
A dealer will usually offer a better deal on a car that already sits in their stock than one that has to be ordered for you specially. It may be that a dealership has a car in stock that exactly matches your requirements – but it can help if you don’t immediately admit this to the salesperson.
If you’re planning to buy your new car outright, it may be wise to initially conceal this from your car dealer. It’s usually in a dealer’s interest to sell cars on finance, as there are often manufacturer-subsidised incentives that can make these packages quite attractive.
It’s all too easy to buy a car in a rush; the alluring nature of a new car can be strong. Whatever you do, keep it to yourself if you need a car quickly. If a dealer is given the impression that you’re desperate for a car, they may feel that they needn’t offer their sharpest deal to get your custom. Even walk away if you are not comfortable with something, it’s a guarantee the salesperson will call you back, more than once. Remember, until you sign anything, you can walk away from the deal at any point.
Make sure you know exactly what you’re negotiating for when buying a new car. Dealers can include loads of options (which you may or may not want) such as paint protection, floor mats or an extended warranty, before removing these items to drop the price when you start haggling. This allows you to think you’re getting a great deal and are an expert negotiator, when in fact it’s the dealer who’s deploying their well-honed sales techniques.