Things to Say and Do To Get The Best Deal On Your Used Car
In an ideal world, buying a car would be easy. No tricks, gimmicks, or smokescreens.
Unfortunately, we know this world is far from perfect, and shopping for used cars can be far from easy. It can feel like a game that, if you’re not prepared for it, leads to regrets and dissatisfaction with your car purchase.
Good news! You can help swing the game in your favor and come out with a positive experience and result of your car buying process as you learn to become a master at negotiating with used car dealerships. You’ll come away with great vehicle prices, perks, and performance, once you’ve learned how to talk to auto dealers.
You may think you’re savvy and good at handling negotiations, but it is almost impossible to walk into a used car dealership and swing a truly good deal without some preparation.
Follow these Dos and Don’ts of preparation, and you will be able to see through the smokescreens and fluff to find the real value in your next vehicle.
- DO gather reliability, safety, pricing, and other important information about the top cars from the category you are looking to purchase from.
- DO a list of the makes, models, trims, and years of the vehicles that appeal to you the most. You always want to go into any used car dealership interaction with an idea of what you want and how much it should cost you.
- DON’T go into a dealership looking solely for recommendations from the sales team. Their priorities will differ from yours, and they won’t have as good of an understanding of your needs as you will. You should be guiding them through the search process, not vice versa.
Information is key to your preparation. A couple ways to gather some of this useful information include:
- Explore professional and user reviews on car information sites like Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, and Consumer Reports.
- Ask real owners about their experience, either in person or online.
Precede Your Visit With a Phone Call
The physical dealership is a great place to be. There’s free food and drinks, polite people all around, top-of-the-line vehicles on display indoors, and more. But all of that can be overwhelming to your senses. By the time you test drive the car you’ve been dreaming about owning, the new car smell, plush seats, and robust features will have you ready to sign the dotted line at any price you’re given.
Buying a car is an emotional experience, so avoid having to resist making emotional decisions by breaking the ice over the phone.
Give the dealership a call and gather information about your favorite car on their lot. Your ultimate goal should be to get a price quote on the phone. These usually beat the quotes you’ll get at the showroom and give you an edge when you finally do visit the dealership. You’ll know the price ahead of time, so you can avoid the posturing. Sometimes taking away the face-to-face element makes communication less stressful.
This phone call is also a good way to weed out dealerships to avoid. If a dealership is totally unwilling to talk prices over the phone and will only entertain an appointment, that is probably a dealership that will be difficult to work with.
Negotiate Price Instead of Payment
A classic trick that car dealerships like to pull is to talk about their deals in terms of monthly payment instead of the total purchase price. To maximize your car purchase, only focus on the out-the-door price. This is the dealer’s terms for the final price of the vehicle, including taxes and fees.
Keeping the focus on the out-the-door price will benefit you in multiple ways:
- Avoid hidden costs that dealers can hide in the purchase price.
- Keep flexibility on financing options
- Final price makes negotiating more straightforward
Unless you decide to finance with the used car dealership you purchase from, your “payment” shouldn’t even be a part of your conversations.
Be a Savvy Used Car Shopper
Using this guide, you can be as prepared as you’ve ever been to handle all of the curveballs and deception you may find at a used car dealership near you.
Your business is valuable, so make sure to do your due diligence and make your dealership work for your business. You should be greeted with a smile and given straightforward service.
Combine a good dealership selection with your preparation, pre screening, and price negotiation and you might just drive away with your dream car at a price you only dreamed of.