Car Salesman Tactics & Techniques: How to Recognize & Avoid

Buying a car at a dealership often has a negative reputation because of the techniques and tactics salesman use to get you to buy. Here are some of the most common ones so you can avoid them.

Techniques and tactics salesman use to get you to buy

When you go to buy a car on the lot, chances are you’re going to have to put up with a salesman or two in order to get what you want. And those salesman are taught different strategies and techniques to make sure that you don’t leave empty handed. But those strategies aren’t necessarily in your favor. It’s not to say that these strategies are deceitful or meant to trick the consumer, they just don’t give the consumer the best chance to get the deal they are looking for.

These are some of the most common car salesman tactics used to get you to buy. It’s important to be aware of these techniques and what car dealers aren’t telling you. Because not only do they use tactics, but there are a lot of things they won't tell you, like just how they use your private information. So next time you go to buy a car, be aware of these tactics and use this information to help you have a better experience and outcome.

They’re Quick to Say “Yes”

Many times when a consumer calls a dealership or sends an inquiry online about a certain car, the salesman will reply saying that the car is available, that they have it on the lot, or something along those lines just to get the person to physically come to the dealership. They will say, “Yes, we have it,” even if that’s not the case.

These salesman try to say “yes” no matter what because they want the person to come in. And then once they get there and find out that the car has already been sold or isn’t available, the salesman can then try to get the consumer to go for a different car.

This type of strategy makes salesman say “yes” no matter what and as soon as possible just to get the consumer on the hook. That’s because they know it will be easier to sell you something once they are face-to-face with you, even if the original car you wanted isn’t available. So next time you call a dealership asking about a specific car, be wary if they give you an automatic “yes” because chances are that car isn’t really there.

Over Promising

Always make the customer happy, it’s one of the rules of good salesmanship. For instance, when you’re taking your dream car out for a test drive and ask if it comes with leather seats, a sunroof, or if you can get a good deal on financing, the salesman will likely tell you it’s all possible just to make you happy. However, they have a tendency to over promise on things and then later tell you that what they had promised isn’t actually available.

It’s a classic technique to always try to please the customer. But it has negative effects because they can’t truly deliver on those promises. And then the customer has to settle for less than they wanted or they have to walk away completely, which is a huge waste of time. This over promising and under delivering is a common car salesman technique and it isn’t something that you want to happen to you.

Instead of taking the salesman’s word for it, be sure that you can verify that what they’re saying is true. If they promise that they can get you better financing, don’t get your hopes up too soon until you know that it’s actually possible. And don’t let them try to convince you they can do the impossible when you know it’s not true.

Lack of transparency

A lack of transparency is probably the biggest car dealer tactics that salesman use to get you to purchase a car, and really there are several little techniques that fall under this category. Most car dealerships maintain a lack of transparency to confuse the consumer and then get them to buy. It’s not that they do this to be deceitful or malicious, it’s just the way that the industry has operated for so many years.

Most car dealerships maintain a lack of transparency to confuse the consumer and then get them to buy.

The Back and Forth

You may have noticed when you purchased your last car that during the negotiations there is a lot of back and forth between the salesman and the manager. You offer a price that you want to pay and then the salesman disappears for a while and takes the offer to his manager. Then they come back with a different offer to discuss. This process can go on for quite a while.

It’s one of the techniques that they use to create this lack of transparency. Because you aren’t really sure what price they’re willing to take or who is really in charge. And it’s not necessarily on purpose because usually the salesman doesn’t actually know what price they can sell the car at, so he is forced to do this back and forth negotiation with his manager. But even if it’s not intentional it still clouds the waters and makes the consumer unsure of what’s really going on. Which then leads them to buy at a price that they may not necessarily be happy with.

Control the Process

Another way that salesman create this lack of transparency is by trying to control the process. They want to be the ones who have the upper hand in the situation and can direct the conversation. They will try to do whatever they can to take control.

This results in the consumer feeling like they are being sold to rather than having the salesman work with them. And it’s not the best situation to be in. Sometimes salesman will try to keep people waiting for longer or even hold their trade-in hostage so that they are forced to make a purchase with them. This need for control is one of the hassles of dealing with salesman and something that you should definitely try to avoid.

Make sure that you are not giving them too much power and always be aware that you can leave the negotiation or stop the discussion at any time. As the consumer you are the one with the money so you ultimately have the power and the ability to make the final decision.

Giving the Best Deal

How many times do you hear a car salesman say, “This is our best deal, I can’t possibly get you anything better”? Chances are you’ve heard it a lot. But how do you know that you’re really getting the best deal? Well, that’s just it, you don’t.

This is one of the car dealer strategies they use to make you feel like you’re getting a really good deal or getting a great car for a bargain. But most of the time that’s probably not the case. It’s just another way they try to cover up their transparency and make it seem like you’re getting something great even though you’re not.

This is a great reason why it’s important to do your research before you go shopping for a car so that you know how much it’s really worth. Only then can you tell if it really is a good deal or not. It’s a good idea be cautious when you hear this phrase and always trust your instincts.

Don’t Let These Techniques Get to You

It’s true that most salesman will use these car dealer sales tactics or something similar to them to get you to buy a car. That’s just the way they’ve been taught and it’s how the industry works. But that doesn’t mean you have to let them work on you.

Being aware of these strategies will help make you a more astute buyer and help you better navigate the buying process. These techniques don’t have to put you in a situation that you don’t want to be in. Remember that you are in control and if at anytime you decide that car isn’t right for you, you should never feel obligated to buy. You deserve to get the car that you’re looking for at a fair price, so try to avoid these tactics and you will be one step closer to getting there.

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