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Five Rules For Dealing With Car Salesmen

Updated on September 23, 2008
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Sunshine is a wife, a mother of four, a relationship expert, a journalist, a photographer, a public speaker, and an author.

Five Things Sales People Don't Want You to Know

Car salesmen and women are the pushiest sales people on the planet. How do I know? I used to train them. There was no way one of my people was getting off with a no, or having to turn their deal to another sales person, and if they walked a customer, which means a customer left, they were fired. Before you know how to deal with a pushy sales person, you have to understand why they are the way they are, and you have to use that to adapt what you say to them.

Rule number one: Don't say ‘no', ‘not right now', or ‘I don't think so', or ‘just looking'.

Why? First, they are programmed not to hear no. Before they ever set foot on the lot, they were put on the phones with lists of past customers, and told to get those customers in to look at a new car. This is where mediocre sales people fail, and I got to let them go before they cost me a month of minimum wage, because they couldn't handle the word ‘no'. As a matter of fact, they are programmed so thoroughly, that they don't even hear customers say no, they hear customers say, "You need to come up with a better way to help me choose a car, keep trying until I either purchase, or punch you in the face."

What you need to do at this point is ignore them. No joke, they're front-line soldiers trained in psychological war fare. Once you open your mouth and start talking, you'll be driving away in a car that you never wanted in the first place before you can get one objection out of your mouth. Don't give them any information they can use against you later. The only things that should come out of your mouth are questions about cars.

Rule number two: Don't give in to urgency.

Sales people are trained to freak you out by creating a sense of urgency. You will hear things like, ‘there will never be a better deal', ‘I have three more appointments on this car today', ‘this sale price is only good until close of business tonight' and ‘this vehicle won't be here after today'. They are lying. The truth is, if a human being thinks they might not be able to get something, they want it. Even if it's not the car you came to look at, or anything near what you want, when you think some one else might get it instead of you, you're more willing to sign the papers.


Rule number three: Don't believe anything they say, especially when they leave and come back, and don't drink anything.

They are not your friend. They don't care about you, your family, your situation, your beliefs, what your favorite food is, or what your hobbies are. They ask questions to get information to use against you. Don't believe anything they say, especially when they leave to talk to their manager. What's really happening, is they're talking to their finance person, who is writing in the profit in a way that makes you feel like you're getting a steal of a deal, is doing what's called ‘filling your lips'. That means the finance person is telling the sales person exactly what to say verbatim. You are not getting a good deal. Even if the sales person tells you he's not going to get a voucher, he is, or he would be fired. The more you send him back, the more the sales person and the finance manager start fighting. Frazzle them, don't let them frazzle you. When you get to the point that you don't think they'll bend any more on the price, walk out. Get out of your chair, tell them to have a good night, and leave. They will run out to your car after you've started to pull away, tell you they talked to their manager, and the manager agreed to your numbers. If they don't, then your numbers are actually more than what they own it for.

As far as drinking, don't. One nasty sales tactic is to load customers up on coffee or soda and disappear every time they ask for the bathroom. There will come a point where most people will sign anything based on the fullness of their bladder just to be done with it.


What they don't want you to know is that most lenders give the dealerships two points of interest that is profit for them. It's called ‘back end'. If they tell you your deal can get financed at 23%, make them try for 20%. Make them work for their profit from the lenders. Don't ever agree to the first interest rate from a dealership unless you qualify for 0%, in which case, smile and nod.

Rule number five: Maintenance Warranties and GAP insurance make dealerships big profits.

If your vehicle is new, then it comes with a warranty, but they will try to sell you GAP, which covers the gap between what your primary insurance would cover if your car is totaled, and what you owe. Although GAP and extended warranties are good, always negotiate the price of them, because the dealership gets to write them up at huge profits. They'll try to tell you it costs what it costs, but if you get up and walk out, they'll negotiate with you.

Though these are only a few ways to deal with pushy sales people, they are enough to arm you with knowledge that they don't want you to have. If you can learn how to defend yourself against a car sales person, you can take on any sales person. When they ask you to let them earn your business, make them earn it.


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