You’ve seen it at the dealership: hot-headed consumers sparring with salesmen over cost and features until they’re red in the face. Many consumers feel like incessant badgering and violent arguments are the only ways to get a good deal on a new car, but psychologists tell us otherwise. According to Psychologytoday.com, arguing during negotiations actually drives parties further apart.
Make your next car purchase stress-free with these peaceful techniques.
Take Hearsay Out of It
Take a lesson from political debates: When was the last time you felt significantly moved after hearing facts shouted off the top of candidate’s heads? Without hard evidence to back up claims, arguments usually just further entrench opponents because of the emotional investment. Instead of haggling empty-handed, let reliable resources make your points for you.
Kelley Blue Book listings provide a reasonable starting point to negotiate. A salesman can dismiss car-value claims, but Kelley Blue book is a trusted resource. Other sites such as Edmunds.com and Carfax.com provide hard facts that do the negotiating for you. Back up your claims with information to save time and stress.
For consumers with debt problems or poor credit histories, the car-shopping process can be even more intimidating because there’s less buying power that cash-carrying shoppers with good credit scores have. That doesn’t mean they’re shut out from the car buying process; in fact, many drivers have applied for bad credit auto loans at DriveTime and left one of the dealership’s lots the same day, driving a previously owned vehicle.
Haggle in Writing
It’s easy to get caught-up in the competition of haggling face-to-face, but escalating rhetoric rarely results in a good deal. If possible, negotiate in writing or email instead. Written arguments highlight information over tone, meaning you’ll have a better chance of coming to a reasonable agreement for a new vehicle.
List your offer, along with supporting facts — Kelley Blue Book price, comparable deals. etc. — in an e-mail and send it to the salesman. He or she might accept your offer or come back with a counter offer, but you won’t have to worry about winning the argument with verbal jabs.
Name Your Price
The best way to haggle is usually to stand firm. Take arguing out of the equation and decide on your price before you enter the dealership. As you approach a sales person about a vehicle, clearly state the price you are willing to pay. If he or she accepts your offer, great; if not, move on to another option.
When sales people see you’re not open to negotiating, they’ll be less likely drive the price up. Remember, while haggling for a vehicle may feel foreign to you, car sales people do it everyday. Stick to your price and you’ll neutralize their advantage.
If the dealership won’t go down in price, instead of trying to get the car for less, ask for extras like new floor mats or tires, a better stereo or an upgraded warranty. Stick with things you actually want and need.
More on Cars
Going to the dealership later in the month will work to your advantage. The sales people want to get the most commission they can for the month; go any time after the 25th of the month.
It’s also helpful to look for stale cars that have been on the lot for a long time, states ABC News. Many dealerships provide a Carfax vehicle history report for any used car you look at, which also includes a line showing when the vehicle came to the lot. You can use that information to negotiate a better price by saying something like, “I noticed this car has been here for over a month. Do you want to sell it and get it out of here?”
Perhaps the most powerful move you can make in haggling is to walk away. Sometimes, you won’t be able to reach an agreement for a vehicle. Walking away protects your financial stability and allows you to move on to the next vehicle. And who knows? If the salesman was bluffing when he said “That’s the best I can do,” he might come chasing you out the door.
Sarah Harris When she’s not writing about cars, trucks, boats and planes, Sarah is shredding her Trek mountain bike through the winding roads of Wisconsin.