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Negotiating Tips for Car Shoppers

Line of cars for sale on a car lot
Image: The Car Connection

Does anybody really pay full price for a car anymore? Our thought is probably not, and why would you when negotiating can be so effective? If you play your cards right with negotiating, you could potentially save thousands off the price of a car. So, before you head to the dealership to make your purchase, brush up on some negotiation techniques if you’d like to save a buck.

Time Your Visit Right

There are a number of factors that go into timing your visit correctly. First, understand that inventory is cleared off of lots in preparation for new inventory toward the end of the year. The benefit of knowing that is understanding that car dealers are typically more willing to negotiate if they think they can make a sale. Also, choose to shop on the last day of the month, where you’ll catch salesmen trying to meet quotas or grab bonuses based on quarterly goals. Lastly, try to go mid-week, during the work day. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are typically slow days for dealers, so they’ll be more likely to jump through hoops to make a sale than they would, say, on a busy weekend where customers are lined up at their door.

Shop Around, and Be Vocal About It

Don’t head to one dealership and buy the first car you find, even if it is a decent deal. Do a little shopping in advance: look online, make some phone calls, make a day of popping in to different dealerships to see what’s out there. Visiting a dealership and talking to the same salesman on two different occasions will let them know that you’re a serious buyer, and they’ll be more willing to work with you, especially if they know you’ve been somewhere else looking for a better deal.

Utilize Walk Away Power

You have to actually be willing to walk away from a car for this one to work, bluffing simply won’t cut it. When a salesman works with you for hours to get you right where he wants you and then senses that you’ll walk away if it’s not exactly what you wanted, he’ll probably get a little antsy and do everything he can to make the sale.

Use Cash

There’s just something about waving a wad of cash in front of a salesman’s eyes that makes him weak in the knees. It’s a big win for a car dealership whenever they’re paid in full on the spot, as opposed to waiting for you to get a loan and pay monthly installments. If you have the cash on hand, use it; they’ll be eager to make the sale in full, even if it means coming off the price more than they’d planned.

Exercising these little techniques will have you saving thousands on your next car purchase!

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