When you’re buying a new or used car, you probably fear dealing with a slick salesperson who knows every trick in the book to part you from your hard-earned cash and who might even stick you with a lemon. Yes, there’s a reason for the oily used car salesman stereotype, but, believe it or not, the salesperson isn’t your number one enemy when you step onto a car dealer lot to buy a used vehicle.
Your own worst enemy is you.
It might sound crazy, but in reality no one can force you to buy a particular car at a certain price, especially if you’ve already calculated the dealer’s true cost. You’re the one who gives in to the sales tactics, and you always have the option of simply saying, “No.”
What, exactly, makes you your own worst enemy when you buy a car, and how can you turn that around? It’s simple: don’t fall in love with a particular car and decide you must have it (or if you do, don’t let the salesperson know). Buying a car is exciting, and new car smell is intoxicating. Car dealers use this to their advantage to rope you into a too-high car payment before the spell wears off and logic kicks back in.
As a veteran of many car purchases, I’ve honed the process down to a science and know what not to say to put myself at a disadvantage. Here’s how I make sure I never sabotage myself when I visit the car dealer.
-Remember that the car you’re looking at isn’t one of a kind. Sure, there are some rare exceptions, but for the most part cars are like anything else you purchase. They’re manufactured by the thousands every month. Car dealers are everywhere, and they’re continually replenishing their stock. Used cars come into lots every day as people get tired of their old model and trade it for something new.
A car salesperson smells blood when your eyes light up with that, “I love it! I have to have this car!” expression. Keep a poker face when you’re shopping, and make it clear that a car is just another commodity to you that you’ll buy at the place where you get the best price.
-Be ready to walk away. Put your money where you mouth is if a particular car dealer won’t offer you a fair deal. Sure, you’re probably excited after spending time around shiny new cars or used vehicles polished to perfection, and you’re all pumped up from your test drive. That’s what the car salesperson counts on.
Don’t be dazzled into forgetting your resolve. Remember, a car is a commodity, not a precious one-of-a-kind gem that you have to snap up now or lose it forever. Simply say, “I’m sorry you can’t agree to my price. Thank you for your time, but I’m off to find a better deal.”
Sometimes a dealer will let you go. In that case, head out to other dealerships. If you’re offering a fair price, you’ll find one to accept it. However, in most cases, you won’t make too far before the sales person comes running after you with a better offer because you’ve just proven that you really are willing to walk.
Use these two strategies and you’re on your way to getting the best possible deal.