The car buying process has many steps and moving parts. You need to research the best vehicle for you, research which dealership to visit, work out financing and negotiate with a salesperson. While these aren’t the only steps, just these four alone can create a lot of stress and quick decisions. It’s important to remember that not being thorough in your choices can cost you. After all, salespeople are trying to make as big a profit as possible when they sell you a car, and it’s important that you remember that. While many salespeople are ethical, there are still some who will work tactics to get more money out of their sales. In this article, we’re going to go over 5 tactics that salespeople use that they don’t want you to know about.
1. Playing the Clock
Some car salespeople will use time to help them sell more cars. The reality is, the salesperson is going to be working at the dealership for 8 hours anyways, so there’s no real rush on their end. They may think that if they can keep the negotiations going long enough, eventually the customer will give in and pay more than he/she originally wanted. So it’s important to remind yourself before going into a dealership that negotiations may take a long time and it’s ok to leave and come back another day. Ultimately, you have the power as you’re the one who can decide to take your business elsewhere if you’re not happy with the price the dealership is offering.
2. Psychological Profiling
Most experienced car salespeople have a ton of training on how to break down any needs and vulnerabilities of their customers. Their assessment of each of their customers allows them to tap into their scripted questions and be in charge of the process. One of the first questions you’ll probably hear is “how much do you want to spend per month?”. It’s important to to keep this information to yourself as the salesperson will then work to make a financing plan that meets your monthly budget, but may be way higher than your overall budget. If the salesperson wants to meet your monthly budget all he/she has to do is extend the loan term or get a large down payment from you. While it’s ok to be up front and answer the salespersons questions, remember the salesperson may use some of this information to upsell you. In order to avoid running into this problem, break down the sales process into separate stages. Start with choosing the vehicle you’re interested in, then move onto negotiations and at the end you can decide on any additional features and add-ons.
3. The “What if” Strategy
This is one of the most classic sales strategies in all industries, it’s known as the “what if” strategy. You may hear the salesperson ask these types of questions: “what if I could get you this monthly payment, would you buy it today?” or “if I can throw in winter tires for free, would you buy it today?”. What the salesperson is doing in this scenario is trying to find your buying trigger. The way to deal with this is to always answer no and remind them that your shopping multiple dealerships to find the best deal. Once you’ve seen multiple offers from multiple dealerships you’ll be in a position to make a decision.
4. The Time is Now Strategy
If a salesperson ever tells you that the deal they’re offering you today won’t be available tomorrow, they’re trying to use time to pressure you into buying a car. They may tell you that a bunch of other people are looking at the vehicle and it will likely be sold if you don’t jump on the deal right away. While this may be the case sometimes, it’s more likely a sales gimmick to make a quick sale. If you do get put in this position, it’s ok to fight fire with fire. Politely look the salesperson in the eye and ask them “so if I come back tomorrow, you’re telling me that you won’t sell me the car for the price your offering me today?”. If you’re not comfortable saying this, you can also just choose to leave the dealership and shop elsewhere.
5. The Alternative Choice Strategy
The last and arguably most popular sales strategy is known as the alternative choice strategy. This tactic involves giving you a choice between two options and never asking you “yes” or “no” questions. For example, the salesperson may ask if you want the base trim model or the mid trim model. This leaves you in a situation where either way you’re being pressured into buying a car. If the salesperson tries this strategy on you, don’t fall for it. Instead, tell them that you’re not ready to make a decision today and you want to explore all of your options.