Sweeten Your Next Car Deal

Overcoming car dealership pressure

Cars, like people, don’t last forever. Everyone finds themselves in the scary position of sitting in front of the sales manager at the local dealership sweating out a deal. The office is hectic and there seems to be information coming from everywhere. That atmosphere is part of the strategy, to distract and pressure. As you watch people come and go you get the feeling everyone is buying a car, so you better act fast. You must resist the pressure of your environment and slow things down with some simple, but important concepts.

Do your homework first

Information is never more powerful than at a negotiating table. Remember, even at “the sticker is the price” dealerships you are negotiating. You have as much power as the other side. They want to sell the car as much as you want to buy it; in today’s economy maybe more so. Spend time comparing prices and terms at area dealerships. Get information from industry journals and web sites that show actual sales prices if available. Having the information isn’t enough, however. You must know it well, say it with confidence, and let the salesman know you know what you are talking about.

Know where you want to end up

In order to end up in the right place, you have to know what your idea of a good deal is. After you have done your research, come up with price parameters that meet your needs. At the table, don’t let the salesman switch units on you. In other words, if you are talking price don’t let the salesman switch to monthly payment. Also, don’t let him switch to a similar, but different car. You have researched one car that you want. By switching to a less familiar vehicle, he gains all the power of information. Keep working the conversation back to where you want to end up and don’t get distracted from that target.

Avoid slick and worthless add-ons

According to U.S. News and World Report Rankings and Reviews, there are several costly add-ons that add on to only the price you pay. Number one on the list is extended warranties. Most manufacturers’ warranties cover everything you need covered unless you are going to keep your car for twenty years. Moreover, you do not have to buy the warranty at that moment. It may be cheaper to contact a third party later when you decide you need the warranty.

Another unnecessary add-on is fabric and paint protection. A can of fabric protector from a local department store or auto parts store for $10 will do about the same protecting as the much more expensive dealership offering. A third costly add-on listed by U.S. News is rust proofing. Most cars sold in the U.S. are well protected against rust for decades. Being made out of more and more plastic, rust has become less and less of an issue. Once again, you can probably get any protection you want for less from a third party.

Stick to the deal at hand

The key to car negotiations and other negotiations is to keep focused on your target price and don’t budge. All of the add-ons are part of that distraction strategy that dealers employ. If they can throw new things in the mix they erode your power of information and your bargaining position. Swat those distractions away and walk away if you have to. You will feel better and find a better deal if you do.

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