5 Steps to Haggling with a Car Salesman

Step 1 – Check Your Sources

Use sources like Consumer Reports to get an idea of the model of car you are looking for while also getting an idea what the dealership pays for their car. Typically Consumer Reports has listings for the dealership purchase price of cars when you activate a paid membership with their website. Somewhere in the range of 10$ for a month, this small charge can easily save you hundreds, so it’s no-doubt worth the money.

Step 2 – Get Politely Stubborn

The next step in finding a good deal on a new car and effectively haggling the salesman down is to make a firm decision in your mind of what kind of discount you can get. Based on the dealership price you should be able to get a firm idea of the amount you want to haggle down to, but keep in mind no salesman in their right mind will go all the way down to the base price, they still need to make their cut. Make sure you solidify in your mind that you won’t be swayed off course by any sweet talk, just block out anything you don’t want to hear as some of them try really hard to get you thinking their way. If you need even more help, repeat this phrase in your mind: “It’s my money dammit.” Always make sure to keep an air of decency to your conversations as its far harder to deny someone coming off sweet than sour.

Step 3 – Talk to Multiple Sales Representatives

Another very necessary step to haggling down a price is to pit multiple sales reps against each other. “Oh yeah, only 100 off? Well Tommy from the dealership across town said 200$ off.” The salesmen don’t make money if you don’t buy from them, so if you can keep it serious chances are they will beat each other’s prices to an extent.

Step 4 – Try to Find a Fleet Salesperson

Some dealerships have special “Fleet Sales” representatives that typically handle bulk sales of automobiles for companies or the government. Not every dealership has one, some call them by slightly different names and some of the Fleet reps may not want to talk to you, so this may take a more significant effort than finding a willing-to-haggle regular sales rep. However, if you can get one of these people on the phone and grab their attention, you will likely be able to get a more significant discount right off the bat sans most haggling simply because they don’t have the time, nor is it in their typically job description to attempt the higher priced “Swoon & Sell” that the normal reps go for.

Step 5 – Tell Them to Shove Their Extra Features

Now of course keeping in mind the tips on politeness and professionalism, don’t literally tell the sales rep this, it is more of a concept to hold onto. There are some features worth having and some that are just ridiculous. Anti-Lock Brakes is a feature worth paying extra for, protective body coating is not unless you happen to live right on the beach where the salt-water laden air actually will cause rust at an accelerated rate. Usually this part comes during the face to face, final-stretch sale, since the reps don’t work out specific features over the phone, waiting for the point you’re about to sign the contract to undo some of your handy work in getting a better deal. If you don’t know which features are for what, don’t just take the sales rep’s word for it, write down the features, go back home and research them before you come back, even if the papers are moments from being finalized. Not only will you prevent a last minute punch to your pocketbook, but you will show the rep that your no sucker, causing them to take you far more seriously.

Bonus Points – Let Them Sweat it Out

Added bonus is waiting a few days to let them sweat it out if at any point they start to push the sale too hard, especially if the rep has already spent a significant amount of time trying to woo you. Nobody wants to waste their effort, so it is likely when you come back they will take you far more seriously and may even make you an additional small deal or two to prevent a second departure. If they keep the sleaze up though, you can just walk away, or if they really get under your skin, switch over to “Durr, what button is this again?” mode, basically feign stupidity to waste their time. Patience and strength of will, will get you quite far in this venture so try to keep it in spades or even bring a friend with you for support. Best of luck.

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