Car salespeople are trained to quickly evaluate you. And, as the saying goes, what you say can and will be used against you once you reach the bargaining table. Eliminating the following statements when you buy a car can help you negotiate a better deal.
‘I love this car!’
Saying this to a car salesperson would “give them a hand up when it comes time to close the sale,” said Scot Hall, a former car salesman and now executive vice president of operations for Swapalease, which matches leaseholders with car shoppers looking to take over a lease. “In any negotiation, you want to be careful of what you say and how you say it.”
‘I have got to have a monthly payment of $350.’
This tops Hall’s list of forbidden phrases. Turning a customer into a monthly payment buyer is the favorite weapon of car salespeople, he says. “There isn’t a dealership out there that wouldn’t say ‘yes’ to any number you name,” Hall said — and you will wind up paying more in interest that way. Negotiating on the monthly payment “takes the focus away from the price of the car.”
‘My lease is up next week.’
Telegraphing that your car’s lease is ending signals desperation and gives a salesperson reason to ratchet up the pressure. Furthermore, it reveals a lot about you: You favor leasing (which dealerships like) and you probably have good credit. It also opens the door for more probing questions designed to tease out even more information — which can provide valuable ammunition to a good salesperson.
‘I won’t take less than $9,000 for my trade-in.’
The problem with this is that the dealership might be willing to make a better offer. By speaking first, you have lost. “Let the person you are negotiating with throw out the numbers first,” Hall said. “That’s Negotiating 101.” Before you go to the dealership, research the trade-in value of your car using an online pricing guide like Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book or TrueCar.
‘I’ve been looking all over for this color.’
“Color is huge,” former car salesman Robert Crow said. So if a customer has found a rare color on your lot, as a salesperson you know they have to buy from you. Instead, Crow said buyers should try to be flexible and go to the car lot with two color choices in mind. Better yet, look at a dealership’s inventory online to verify the dealer has the color you want before you get there.