How To Buy A Car : Lessons in Negotiating Price

Negotiating is one of the most sought after skills when learning how to buy a car. The days of the dealer having all of the information and the consumer left wandering aimlessly in the dark are finally coming to an end. Many consumers wish to discuss pricing before they even visit the dealerships. Thankfully from sites similar to us, who teach you how to buy a car and share dealer invoice prices and with internet salespeople who will discuss price openly, you are able to start the process off on the right foot.

A fear factor of how to buy a car for many consumers is still having the confidence to use all of the tools available to negotiate a fair price on their vehicle of choice. If you do not wish to dirty your hands with the negotiating process we can use our expertise to get you a fair deal and you never need to learn how to buy a car for the best price, we will do it for you free of charge.

For the consumers who wish to take a more hands on approach we will take you through negotiating 101. This skill which most people feel they lack, only needs to be revisited, dusted off and sprinkled with confidence, thats how to buy a car and learn to negotiate the right way.

As I have stated before, negotiating is a skill we seem to be born with. As life progresses we either lose the confidence or allow too much emotion to be part of it. To illustrate how basic skills are so easy even a chid "the unknown master negotiater" can do them, think of this situation.

A child sits at the dinner table and looks at the vegetables they do not want to eat. Thus begins classic easy negotiations. Parents will push to "eat your vegetables", the child will move them around the plate maybe pick them up with their fork, do everything but actually take a bite. Its a waiting game and normally the child will win. If not by getting away with not eating any vegetables, they will probaby only have to take a few bites.

How does this relate to negotiating a car purchase. How to buy a car thanks to children. You arrive on the car lot, you look around at the vehicles that interest you. You do your test drive and are now sitting at the table with your vegetables (pricing/offer sheet). Ask them what their "best price" is. They won't give it to you of course, but it sets the stage. Why do they always pile so much on your plate. Fees for this service and that product, you don't want all that and buying into it all is not how you buy a car the right way.

Move the veggies around your plate without talking to them(very important), he/she who speaks first normally loses. You can scribble things down on a piece of paper, excuse yourself to talk on the phone, just don't react or say anything positive about the price. I know its uncomfortable and thats the point, make sure they crack first because eventually somebody will. You can feel the seconds ticking by like hours, when there is silence.

Once they speak, which could be "what do you think?" "do we have a deal?" or my favorite, if you are lucky enough to get a weak closer or rookie salesperson, "Don't worry, I can do better than that", ask them what is the best they can do for you. Again, they won't offer the best they can do.

Remember, you have the invoice/wholesale pricing and any of the incentives that are available in your back pocket. Tell them at this point you know that the basic invoice/wholesale pricing is $XXX and that you know of the specific incentives.. Tell them you can only pay $X over invoice and that does not include the incentives or that it does include a dealer certification. The sales person will take it to the sales manager, possibly after trying you on for "a bump" in your offer. They will probably come back with a counter offer. At this point it is up to you if you are willing to pay more, offer the same again and see if they accept or walk away and try the process again at a different dealership.

Negotiating: How to Buy a Car

  • have your new car invoice price/wholesale price
  • always start low, it's easier going up. offer invoice or a small margin higher and also use the incentives available
  • do not give more money until the salesperson has gone to the sales manager and returned with a response
  • the manager may return a counter offer or just say they won't accept the offer, don't worry we're still working
  • say "what would he accept", don't take the response as gospel and don't say okay, unless it is only a hundred or so dollars more then your offer
  • be willing to walk away, and don't be nasty with the salesperson. say "I'm sorry I can only afford $XXX(a few hundred dollars maximum, no more, than your original offer
  • they may not accept your initial offer and you may have to walk away until another day, but before you go be sure to introduce yourself to the sales manager and apologize you couldn't come to an agreement, you may be surprised what can happen (a new counter offer?)
  • be nice and play hardball at the same time. if the counter offer isn't under what you are willing to pay, apologize again and get up and prepare to leave
  • if you do have to leave without making a deal, don't worry, you are going to call the sales manager after 24hrs. we are revisiting the offer. again state what you are able to afford (invoice less incentives plus what you feel is a fair profit $700-$1000 no matter what the car) and that you are planning on visitng the other dealers in the area to see if they have any extra room to get to the price you can afford (use specific names)
  • if you cannot come to an agreed purchase price from dealer A, call dealer B and C tell them the story thus far explaining what the final price offered is. Ask them if they are willing to beat the price and accept the offer you initially made at dealer A
  • Professional courtesy: If you get a better price please call dealer A again and say what your new offer is and who you got it from. They did all the initial work so it is the sign of good manners to give them another shot. Ask if they will match or beat it. This is their last chance to make a sale, if they say no then you can give your business to the other dealership.

    Learning how to buy a car new or pre-owned as stated earlier, can be very similar but the subtle differences, if not managaed properly, can cost you money and time. We have narrowed the whole buying process down to easy to follow steps. How to take the test drive, picking the right car for you and of course I have also included a checklist to be sure you are prepared.

    Negotiating and using the step by step processes will allow you the ability to get a good deal on the vehicle that works best for you. We have also provided in depth "how to buy a car information" on car loans and the pitfalls to be aware of when learning how to buy a car and negotiating the right way.