For many people, trips to car dealerships are often years apart. When it comes to negotiating a deal, even someone who has experience might not feel completely comfortable with the process. Whether you feel confident about it or not, it’s easy to forget details over the course of time, and it can never hurt to brush up on some of the tips for dealing with dealerships. If you’re headed to one of your local dealers in search of a new car, there are a few things you should try to keep in mind when you’re there that will help you get the best deal possible.
1. Do Your Research
Of course, the first thing you need to do is decide on a vehicle. It’s better to do this at home, in a comfortable environment with zero pressure. There’s a lot of information to dig through, and it’s important that you’re able to make your own decision without the risk of being influenced by a biased party. If you wait until you’re at a dealership to start considering cars, you leave yourself more vulnerable to sales tactics like upselling. On the day of your purchase, go to the dealership with your decision already made, and you won’t leave any room to be lead around by the nose.
Knowing what you want and how much it’s worth is necessary in order to identify a reasonable price, and if you don’t then you’ll be completely in the dark when you go to make your offer. While you might be fine just getting information about the MSRP from the manufacturer’s website, there are a few prominent online resources that help prospective buyers judge the quality of the deal they’re getting. Both Edmunds and TrueCar.com provide estimates on the true value of vehicles, by collecting and comparing the prices people in your area have paid for them recently. With a solid idea of what you should be paying for the vehicle you’ve chosen, you’ll know whether or not you’re being given a fair price.
2. Find Financing First
It may seem like a hassle, but if you have the time you should find a bank or credit union willing to get you set up with a loan. Making the extra effort to do this can help in one of two nearly opposite ways, but it’s not necessary as long as you’re confident in your ability to handle the process of financing through a dealership.
Having a pre-approved loan when you walk through the door is a great way to incentivize salespeople. A large part of a dealership’s profits come from providing financing, so by taking that off the table you’re motivating them to find you a better deal than the one you already have. Depending on how much they stand to gain from the financing of your vehicle, they may even offer an added discount to its price in attempts to persuade you. If the dealer makes an offer that you’re satisfied with then you’ve been successful, but if not you’ll still have something to fall back on. If you’re not as comfortable with sitting at a table being pitched financing options, finding an alternative gives you the freedom to avoid it altogether.
3. Timing is Everything
Time is a flat circle, and because humanity only has the capacity to perceive it as a linear cascade of events, we’re trapped in an infinitely looping existence, cosmic echoes of our own decisions. Time is also an important factor when it comes to buying a new car. Depending on when you go to the dealership, you can end up with many different levels of flexibility in terms of price. Your best opportunities will be at the end of the month, or on days you know the dealership won’t be busy (like when it’s really crummy outside). There’s always motivation for salespeople to make one more sale, but when it’s been a slow day or they need to reach a sales goal the pressure is on, and there’s a good chance they’ll be willing to cut you a better deal to help boost their numbers.
4. No Negotiations!
If you enjoy a bit of back and forth that’s fine, don’t get me wrong, but it’s essential to at least have some strict limits. You can walk in with a specific figure in mind or with a stubborn budget limit; it doesn’t matter in the end, as long as you’re tenacious and decline any offers that don’t meet your standard. One tactic that some people utilize relies on shifting responsibility to an absent third-party. It might sound a little sneaky, but by claiming the budget isn’t your decision, you gain the perfect excuse to put any disagreeable pressures immediately to bed. Most people put the blame on their significant other because it’s an easy, logical option, but if they come to the dealership with you then you’ll need to come up with something more creative. It doesn’t have to be a real person, as long as they just aren’t at the dealership to be bartered with. You could even tell the dealer that you owe a large sum of money to a shady guy named Kermit who goes by the alias “The Frog,” and that you can’t risk missing another payment. There is a slight chance that they wouldn’t believe you, of course, but if you were adamant about it it’s not like they would accuse you of lying in the middle of a sale, right?
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Walk
Most people will probably tell you that walking away from a deal is some kind of negotiation tactic, and that when you shake the dealer’s hand and walk out the door you’re taking control of the situation. While that can be completely true, walking away can also be helpful for a number of other reasons. Buying from a dealership involves a fair amount of one-on-one interaction, so if the salesperson you’re dealing with is making you feel pressured or uncomfortable, it’s valuable to keep in mind that there are plenty of other locations to choose from. It’s better to spread the process out anyways if you want to prevent buyer’s remorse; a night’s sleep after a test drive might reveal a few new thoughts, and you might be able to find a better price somewhere else nearby. with a choice as expensive as this, some extra time could never hurt.
6. Be Polite
Remembering to be courteous to the people around you is generally a good habit to have, especially when they’re helping you. People in sales jobs catch a lot of flak, so even basic courtesies can be a kindness. While it might not have a critical influence over the monetary outcome of your transaction, being good to each other holds its own value. (Just ask Bill & Ted!)
Car Dealerships – In Summation
As long as you remember to make the extra effort by taking steps like these before your next trip to the dealership, you should be on track to get the best potential deal. Of course, none of this guarantees anything with 100% certainty, and something like a fistfight with one of the salespeople, for example, would likely hurt your chances for savings, but if you handle everything respectfully and without any extreme bouts of random violence, you should be okay.