How to Feel In Control in a Car Dealership

Apr 12, 2019

Going to an automotive dealership can be intimidating.

It’s why many people choose to buy a car privately from the classifieds, Facebook, or eBay, even running the risk of buying a lemon at times!

Here are some tips that will help you to feel less intimidated the next time you visit a dealership.


Know Exactly What You Want

When you go to an automotive dealership, you’re looking to leave with:

  • The car you want
  • At the price you want to pay
  • And a fair price for your current car if you’re part-exchanging

Do your research beforehand so that you can be realistic and reasonable in your discussions and negotiation. No doubt you would love to sell your car for what someone would buy it for, and buy a new, top of the range car way below the advertised price.

Wouldn’t we all?!

If you go out with unrealistic expectations, you won’t get anything you want.

Do your research online to discover what a reasonable part-exchange price is for your current car, but keep the next point in mind to keep control of the situation.

Keep Your Cards Close To Your Chest

What do you want? To get a price for the car before you get into details. Once you have a price in writing, then you can talk about finance deals, part exchange, existing finance, or anything else that may be a factor.

Ask to See Invoices and Know What You’re Paying For

Be prepared to stand your ground and be quite difficult to work with.

Before you shake hands or sign anything, ask to see an invoice so you know exactly what you’re paying for.

It’s common at a dealership to talk about various features and add-ons. You then finalise a price, but then realise the price is for the basic model, and that all the features you’ve just said you want will cost far more.

The easiest way to avoid this is to be clear at the start of the conversation. Mention what you want, and that you’d like any prices you’re given to be inclusive of everything.

In addition to this tip, look to avoid unnecessary detailing, or prices for things like “vehicle preparation”. All new and used cars are prepped before they leave with their new owner, so don’t pay a few hundred bucks for something you’ll get free anyway!

Don’t Show Emotions

Act as though you are in control, because you are. Know that you can go elsewhere, and don’t be afraid to say that. Dealers want to make a sale at the end of the day, and if they genuinely believe you might take a significant sale elsewhere, they’ll make as many adjustments as possible to accommodate your requests.

Never Say ‘I Know Nothing About Cars’

You don’t need to know everything about cars to know the quality of the deal you’re getting. If you’re really unsure about what’s what, pay attention to the car salesperson’s body language, and the aspects of the car that they draw your attention to. If ever they seem in a hurry to make a sale, it’s probably a sign there’s either something wrong with the car, or they’re more interested in making a sale than looking out for your best interests. If you need to, take notes and go away to do some further research. At the end of the day, trusting your gut can go a long way.


Be Prepared to Walk Away

If you’ve taken this much time shopping around for a new car, you probably don’t need to attach too much urgency to actually buying “here and now” when you’re in the dealership.

You might be offered X, Y, or Z if you agree to buy today. It might even be your last chance to get a particular deal, or to get the car at the price it is.

You went to the dealership with a clear idea of what you wanted. Be prepared to walk away if you don’t get at least some of those things. Again, be reasonable and realistic.


    Give Yourself Some Time

    Take a little time to weigh things up.

    Say that you’re just looking for information – even if you want to buy and do a deal today – so you can go away and spend some time making a decision. If you’ve already done your homework, this might mean you just go around the corner for a cup of coffee for half an hour before going back to confirm you want to buy.

    Why might you need longer?

    Giving yourself time allows you to make sure you’re happy with the decision you’re making. If you’ve built a good rapport with the seller and bought the price of the car down, you might need to confirm what existing finance you have outstanding. Have a look online and see if they’re advertising any great finance deals you can talk about when you go back. Does another dealership have an even better deal that they could price match?

    If you don’t feel like you need any time, take some anyway. You might even get a call from the dealership saying they are happy to reduce the price a little more!


    Take Control!

    When you buy a car, you need to be in control.

    You need to be in control of knowing what you want, in control of your emotions, and in control of the process you’re going to follow. Following these tips will enable you to feel less intimidated and more empowered when you next go to a dealership, and help you get the car you want, at a better price, with less stress!


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