How to Negotiate a Good Deal When Buying a Car. Bargaining Tactics to Help You Reduce Your Motoring Costs.
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Negotiating Tactics When Buying a Car

Being a good negotiator can easily save you hundreds of pounds on a used car. To be a good negotiator you need to think the process through and plan how you will get the price you want, before talking with your opponent.

Before you enter into negotiations you should make sure you know about what you're trying to buy. You should know how much it can be brought for, from elsewhere.

Be sure you know how much you are willing to pay for the car and stick to that price. Are you just looking for the cheapest car or is the quality more important.

You should know the value of the car having made deductions for the mileage and the condition of the car.

If you've done your homework, negotiating should be easy. By now you should know which car you want and how much you want to pay. If you have a trade-in you should know what it’s worth and how much equity you have in it.

Please make sure you have done your homework before entering any negotiations.

Buying From Trade

Car salesmen often use all kinds of pressure tactics to try and get a customer to ‘buy now’. The reason for this is that once you leave, the salesmen's chances of selling you a car plummet. Car salesmen and their managers are under great pressure to sell cars. If they don't sell them, they won't get paid. Keep these facts in mind when you enter negotiations.

The attitude you should have is of an informed customer who is ready to buy today. And you have a price that will make sure the deal gets done. If the salesman can do it at that price you will drive the car away, if not you walk away.

This attitude will put pressure on them. Dealers are likely to drop their price or make a concession if they think a serious buyer is about to leave.

Make sure the seller knows that you have looked at many other cars and therefore are quite willing to look at many more if you don't get the deal you are looking for.

Always have the attitude that you are willing to walk away if things don't go the way you want. You may actually have to walk away on some occasions. When this happens you can always leave your name and address so they can contact you if they change their mind.

When entering into negotiations be assertive, don't allow the seller to intimidate you. You have more power in the situation. He needs you more than you need him.

Above all you don't want to seem eager.

The salesman is hoping that your emotional desires to own the car will override your logic and willpower. It is in this area that they have an important advantage. Buying a car is an emotional experience. It is very easy to fall in love with the car whether you realise it or not.

Once we fall in love with a car, we take mental ownership of it and we fear losing it to someone else. The danger is you will make allowances for any problems and won't want to negotiate on the price too much. A good salesman is well aware of these emotions and plays on them to his advantage. Keep these facts in mind and try to stay rational about your purchase.

After the test drive don't go straight into negotiations. If the test drive went well this is the time when you're most emotionally attached to the car.

Try not to give the salesman anything to work with. If the salesman knows what you're looking for in a car or what excites you about it he can use it against you. The salesman will know what to say to get you more interested in the car.

Make sure the person you are negotiating with has the authority to make decisions.

Always speak politely and respectfully, never raise your voice.

Bargaining Tactics

The unseen partner tactic. In a similar way to how a sales manager is used in a showroom, you pretend you have to check with a partner before you can agree the price. If the unseen partner were not to agree the price the pressure would be on the seller to lower the offer. This makes it easier to ask for a better deal, because you don't seem to be the one pushing for a big discount.

Silence. When you're in the bargaining process and you don't like the offer you from your opponent you could always try not coming back with another offer. That way you put pressure on the seller because you are obviously not happy with the price. He will feel that he needs to stop the uncomfortable silence and therefore is more likely to lower the offer. This is really part of the ‘ready to walk away’ attitude I mentioned earlier.

The name your lowest price tactic. You ask the seller to tell you what the lowest amount of money they will take is. If they actually tell you, they have started the haggling far below where they would have wanted. It gives you a nice place to start the negotiations and means the bargaining can only go lower. It's always best to avoid making the opening offer if at all possible.

Show them the money. It will be hard to resist a lower offer if the cash is staring them in the face.

The "it's all I have" tactic. Tell them you only have a certain amount of money to buy the car. That amount is a little less that your target price, giving them the opportunity to feel they're gaining something when they push you beyond what they thought was your limit. Because it seems you've made a difficult concession they will feel happier about dropping their price.

The deliberate mistake tactic. When you view the car you notice something you didn't expect. You thought the car was a better specification than it turns out to be. You're disappointed that the car wasn't exactly what you were hoping for. The car seller will have to try harder to get you to buy the car. Of course, you knew the correct specification of the car all along, you just pretended to be mistaken to improve your bargaining position.

You should also try to find out more about the seller's needs. For instance, why are they selling the car, if it's to buy another car how much money do they need from this deal to finance the next. Your goal is to find out how flexible they can be on the deal and therefore how much money you can save on the asking price.

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