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Shopping for a car can be both exciting and intimidating.
The prospect of getting the perfect ride can be quite exhilarating, but it’s important to stay informed so that car salesmen won’t take advantage of you during the process.
It’s no secret that dealers use specific tactics designed to push people into making impulse purchases they may regret later. After all, if they can get more money from a sale – they’ll try their hardest!
That’s why it’s important to know what these sales tricks are and how to identify them.
To ensure you don’t get taken advantage of when you score your dream ride, here are 12 car sales tricks to be on the lookout for.
#1. Gotcha From The Start
Car salesmen always push test drives because they want you to feel like you own the car.
If they can manipulate you into feeling attached, they’ll definitely make a sale. They know exactly the emotional response they’re aiming for, telling you to adjust the seats and mirrors.
Before long, you are caught up in the new car excitement, and they can get you to decide based totally on emotions.
#2. Worth What!
Let’s discuss the trade-in value of your car, which is not something the salesman will mention.
You will only see the trade-in number when they start negotiations in the finance department.
They always know the trade-in value way earlier than they let on.
#3. What Price?
Salesmen have a way of redirecting your attention from the price of the vehicle and putting the spotlight on monthly payments instead.
It’s sneaky, right? By doing this, they hope to make the interest rate and loan terms invisible.
If you only focus on the affordable monthly payments, you might completely miss the car’s actual price and pay way more than you should.
So remember, don’t let monthly payments sway you – consider the total price of the vehicle, too!
#4. Bait & Switch
Salesmen are trained to pressure you into making a hasty decision.
Once they have your commitment, it can be difficult to back out of the deal without serious hassle.
Be aware that some dealers may deliberately lead you in one direction and then change course when it’s too late for you to turn back.
#5. Protection Will Cost You
Don’t let your guard down even after reaching an agreement with the salesman.
When you enter the finance office, they’ll try to tempt you with protection packages, from keeping your leather seats safe to extended warranties and even oil changes.
But beware: These packages will add to the price of your car and your monthly payment. That sweet monthly payment deal offered by the salesman? It’ll be a thing of the past.
#6. We Need “Your” Vehicle
If you have a trade-in, the dealer might leverage it to their advantage in negotiation, aiming for a more favorable deal.
They might even resort to the classic tactic of insisting, “We need your vehicle,” to create a false sense of urgency and pressure you into making a hasty decision.
Stay one step ahead by ensuring all your paperwork is in order. Doing so will prepare you to navigate these tactics and make a wise decision.
#7. Price Out The Door “Today Only”
Today is another classic tactic dealers use to pressure customers into making an on-the-spot decision. They tell you that the deal you are offered is good for “today only.”
They can offer you the same deal any day, so beware of these “today only” offers with hefty add-ons and fees, including dealer processing fees, shipping charges, or setup fees.
These extra costs can quickly add up and eat away at the promised savings.
#8. Build Rapport
Car dealers use this tactic to make customers feel comfortable and build rapport.
They will pretend to be your friend and act as if they are looking out for your best interests, but they are just trying to pressure you into making a decision.
Be firm about the offer you want, and never let them pressure you into something that does not suit your needs.
#9. Take Credit For Other Salesman’s Sale
Some scar dealers will try to take credit for another salesperson’s sale to get a bigger commission.
Be aware of this and politely remind the salesman that you are not interested in his services.
Stay focused on getting what you want, and don’t give in to sales tactics.
Also, check out customer reviews online before going to the dealership.
#10. Mind Games
When the salesman tries to rush you into buying, remember that the car is not yours until you sign for it.
The dealer may even try to convince you that the car is only available if you purchase it now and will not be available tomorrow.
They might use the term “your” car to create the illusion of ownership, but that is far from the truth.
#11. Their Favorite Car On The Lot
Once you’ve found the car you’re interested in buying, the salesperson will start lavishing it with praise like it’s their favorite on the lot.
But hold on a second! Stay strong and empowered. Make sure to do your own thorough research, arming yourself with the car’s price and features.
Feel free to highlight other cars on the lot with similar features but at a lower price. This way, you’ll have some negotiation room when it’s time to discuss numbers.
#12. Fast Friends
Salespeople are master manipulators who’ll do anything to make you like them and make a sale.
They might act like your fast friend by mirroring your body language or being overly friendly.
Regardless of how nice they seem, remember that it’s all about the numbers in the end.
Don’t let yourself get too comfortable; always stay focused on your goal.
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I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.