How to talk to a car salesman

Tips to help you get a better deal.
Before you set foot on a car lot, take time to do your research first. Know what you want and how much it costs. Remember that knowledge is power.

Start with research
  • Arm yourself with information, either from the company website or vehicle review sites.

  • Use your research tools to nail down what kind of vehicle you want, including options.

  • Familiarize yourself with the cost, not just the MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price). Find pricing information via edmunds.com, bluebook.com or cars.com.

  • Know the current credit rating. Find quotes at BankRate.com.

Call the dealership
  • Discern the availability of what you want.

  • Try to nail down a price if possible.

  • Calling ahead for pricing should help prevent you from jumping at the first offer or buying after the test drive.

Get to know your salesman
  • Explain what you want.

  • Establish your expectations, like what do you want to accomplish in this meeting.

  • DO NOT discuss personal financing, trade-in or payments.

Talk price not payment
  • Extending monthly payments DOES NOT reduce your cost.

Know your trade-in value
  • Negotiate the final price without the trade-in mentioned.

  • According to several car buying websites, withholding this information can maximize your trade-in value and reduce the dealer's profit margin, maxmizing your savings.

Be patient
  • The ability to walk away is a powerful tool. The dealer works in volume and needs to move cars. Give him more incentive.

Don't be upsold
  • Know that the warranties and other add-ons in the final process are 100% profit to the dealer.

  • If you have to have any, haggle down as much as 50%.

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