Purchasing a new car can be stressful, especially when you’re dealing with a car salesperson who knows how to turn a browser into a buyer. And it’s not just the slick, suit-clad dealers you need to look out for. Even the friendliest dealers will employ soft sales techniques to get you signing on the dotted line.
Fortunately, you can easily arm yourself with knowledge that allows you to stay in control when dealing with a car salesperson. Every dealer wants to make the best sale possible. So even up the scoreboard with insight that helps you secure the best price for you.
To help, we’ve put together a collection of the most common car salesperson techniques to be aware of.
1. Using the clock for pressure
It’s not just car salespeople who use the clock to turn up the pressure. Creating a sense of urgency is one of the oldest and most effective tricks in the sales manual. Phrases like “limited time only” and “ending next week” are regularly used in advertising copy.
This sales technique plays on the buyer’s need to secure the best possible deal. By adding an expiry date, a car salesperson can force you into acting before thinking. This is never a good idea. And chances are the same deal will pop up again next week.
2. Remembering your name
Remembering and actively using your name during conversations is a common way for a car salesperson to develop trust and rapport. It’s one of the more innocent sales techniques, but is strategic all the same. Stay aware of how much your name is being used when dealing with a car salesperson. It might help you stay in control and avoid being manipulated.
3. Attaching useless add-ons to create false value
Another common car dealer technique is trying to sell you add-ons you don’t need. For example, if you’re buying a 4WD, your car dealer might try to upsell you a snorkel. Again, this comes down to recognising the value to you. If you’re not planning to drive out bush a lot, you’ll probably end up wasting your money.
4. False or teaser pricing
One of the most infuriating techniques car dealers use is false or teaser pricing. This is when dealers advertise a car online for a rock-bottom price. Once you arrive at the dealer, they then tell you that particular vehicle has been sold.
But wait! They’ll now try to find you a similar car at a great price. It just won’t be the car you came to buy and the price won’t offer the same value.
5. Withholding cash deals
Car dealers are often extremely interested in whether you’re paying cash or planning to finance a car. This is because it gives them leverage to tweak pricing to their advantage.
If you’re paying cash, it’s best to withhold this information for as long as possible. This is because car dealers will often offer you a better price with financing, as they earn more in the long run.
6. Getting too personal
Car dealers will often pepper conversations with personal questions. This is designed to unlock more information about you as a buyer. For example, questions about your job help car dealers determine your max budget limit. This is called price discrimination and while it is legal, it’s also highly manipulative. The best strategy is to play your cards close to your chest and reveal as little as possible about your finances until you’ve agreed on a price.
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