What not to say to a car sales person

customer talking to a sales personThinking of buying a new car? With used prices staying high you have to put in a little effort to get the best price possible. Make the right preparations and you can ready for all the negotiation tactics the sales person can throw at you. Remember if you go forearmed with knowledge then you’ll know a great deal when you see it.

Much of the deal is decided in the negotiation. Our team has put together a list of phrases, statements and questions you need to seriously avoid during the negotiation phase to get the most for your money.

Always expect to get money off a car deal. It’s what the sales person expects too and having a commitment to paying less will help you structure your communication from the moment you say hello. Be positive and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is when you say all the right things.

Our expert haggling list has been compiled over the course of hundreds of car transactions and is the easy way for you to pay the price you want rather than the sales person’s first offer. Simply make sure you don’t say anything remotely like the phrases on our list to navigate the negotiation minefield:

What sort of discounts are people getting on cars at the moment?

Your agreement with the sales person is a private one. It does not matter what kind of prices have been achieved by others on the forecourt. The sales person will be judging you as an individual and looking to fairly extract the best price from you and will not be giving standard discounts nor will they reveal what kind of prices they have given to others. This question is guaranteed to put the sales person out and make them less likely to do a great deal.

Please can I have a discount?

This sounds like pleading or begging. Car sales people expect to negotiate and this process is somewhat like a dance. Asking for a discount is giving your hand away and showing that you have no strength in the process. You are basically saying you want the car and are going to buy regardless of the discount. It’s almost an afterthought.

Is that all that my old car is worth?

Have an idea of what your old car is worth before you go into a negotiation. Get some prices off the second hand car websites and be well armed with information before you set out looking for a deal. Remember however that the sales person is not a private buyer and if you do not give them some fat in the deal to make money then it’s not worth their while to take your car.

What will it cost if I pay in cash?

Gone are the days when people were always looking to skirt around HMRC. Car sellers come under much more scrutiny these days and it’s vital they keep their books in order. They had to pay for a second hand car and it’s on their books, so they’ll need to keep their sale on the books. Whether or not you offer cash these days is not only irrelevant, but many sellers will find it a hassle to go and deposit the money in the bank.

Anything Rude

You want to build an understanding but you’re not here to make friends. Blunt and aggressive negotiation tactics went the way of the dinosaur a long time ago, and no seller out there wants a sale so badly that they’re going to tolerate bad behaviour on the forecourt or in the office. Make sure you keep your standards and behave in a polite, personable manner without being too matey.

Accepting the First Offer

customers viewing an offer

Never take the first offer. The sales person will always give themselves wiggle room to offer more discount. Always come up with some reason why you can’t accept the offer and try to use the word because, as people are psychologically proven to be more onside when a reason is given.

I Love This Car

Why not say take my money? Telling the sales person that you’re really into the car is simply asking to have a few quid put on the price tag. In fact, any declaration of want or enthusiasm is likely to end up costing you more. Remember to keep your poker face on until you have signed the deal. Then you can tell anyone you like how much you’ve fallen for your new wheels.

Don’t You Know Who I Am?

Or any other variant such as I am from an important company and work in a vital role. It sounds as ridiculous as you imagine. Having a social status or important position has no bearing on how a sales person treats you other than making them charge you a little more because they think you can afford it as a person of prominence. Always try to downplay your job or position with the sales person or at least make it seem somewhat unimportant for the best outcome.

I Need This Car Now

Everyone loves a desperate buyer because they’ll pay through the nose for something they need as opposed to waiting out for the car they actually want. When a sales person sniffs desperation they will know you’re willing to take pretty much whatever offer they end up giving you. It’s likely that you’ll end up paying much more than you wanted and you’ll find that the sales person has become strangely inflexible. Remember to keep it under your hat even if you need a set of wheels tomorrow.

Trying to Set Your Own Monthly Payment

Finance deals are finance deals. If you are getting a car with a degree of credit from the sellers’ finance company then you don’t get to set the payment amounts. The rule of thumb is that if you’re lowering the amount of the payment you’ll generally put something else on the end of the contract, like another 6 months. See what the options are for finance and you can always go elsewhere, like a credit card company to raise the money needed.

Is that a good price?

The sales person will always tell you it’s a good price if asked. Why would they reply anything else to this question? Just like selling your car do your research on any vehicle you’re thinking of buying, even if it’s looking up similar vehicles on your smartphone’s web browser so you can already know if it’s a good price.

This car’s cam belt should have been changed by now

Do not make direct statements about the condition of the car when buying second hand. If you are worried about persistent mechanical faults then ask the seller an indirect question. For instance “should the car have had a cam belt change?” This way you will also be able to tell how trustworthy they are when you ask them a question straight out of the buyer’s guide.

Looks like it’s in good condition

customer inspecting a car

Again with a second hand car find the smallest dents or scratches in the car and make this a little bit of a sticking point. Whilst these make the car a little less desirable and harder to sell for the salesmen, the vehicle should still be fine to drive on the road. By getting the salesman to acknowledge the car is not in tip top condition the price is also likely to drop from a premium and you’ll be quids in.

Let’s Split the Difference

Offering to split the difference or meet in the middle can often be a fool’s game as the sales person will more than likely try to split it again meaning that you’ll actually be paying 75% more than your price. If the sales person offers to split the difference however, make sure you confirm that you’re going to meet halfway between your offer and the offer they just made as you need to think about it for a moment. This way you have made sure that there is already an agreement on price.

I’ll sort the details later

After you’ve gone through the negotiation pay the required deposit and get a full written receipt detailing all the important factors, such as price and both the car and the sellers details. When you return to the car pay the balance by banker’s check, which you can get at your bank and make sure you have the V5 log book, with sale confirmation filled in and a bill of sale. Making the seller wait and dragging your feet can cause complications with the sale – or they may even sell the car elsewhere and return your deposit.

You look busy… Have you sold many cars today?

You’re not visiting the car showroom to make small talk with the sales person or to step into their frame. You need to control the conversation. By making the sales person the subject of small talk you’re almost putting them in the driving seat. Remember, that they are there to serve you and you’re the interesting one. Not them. Let them approach you and open the conversation.

Sounds like a Fair Price

Even if you like the sound of the price, always pretend to baulk or perhaps even wince. You definitely don’t want to take the first offer as we mentioned above and always appear to be a little taken aback. The sales person will generally give himself a little movement in price and will start off with a poor offer. Make sure you get the best deal available.

The Power of Silence

When you’re negotiating there a hard and fast rule. He who talks first loses. If the sales person makes you an offer or you have asked him to improve his offer, resist the temptation to speak. Yes, this silence is painful. That’s the whole point. You’re playing poker here and often this little bit of quiet will induce the sales person to start to lower their price and start throwing in sweeteners.

And Finally

Remember that the sales person is not your enemy. You cannot push them to the point where they make no money on the deal or what’s the point for them. A good buyer will always allow the sales person their margin on the deal too as they have a family to feed at home. Your attitude here is one looking for a win-win situation, which is achievable 95% of the time. Be resolute, strong and positive that everyone’s going to walk away happy.

This entry was posted in Cars and tagged , , , on by Justin Smith.

About Justin Smith

As the man at the helm of BreakerLink, it is no surprise that its Director, Justin Smith, has always had a keen interest in cars, bikes and most things wheeled. Having spent over two decades in the car parts industry, Justin combines his passion that since 2002, has successfully united those looking for new and used car parts with the breaker that supplies them.

Disclaimer: These articles are for guidance purposes only. If you have any questions regarding any matter relating to your vehicle we would recommend that you seek the advice of an appropriate professional. We accept no responsibility or liability should you suffer financial or personal damages in relation to the advice stated on this website.

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