Car Dealer Tricks: Negotiating The Price

November 4, 2010
When I ask my friends what they hate most about buying a car from a major dealer the answer is always the same: they hate negotiating the price. They also have a strong dislike of putting up with the games that dealers play to get you to pay more than you want to pay, or should pay.

“Why can’t they just set a price and be done with it,” a friend of mine lamented after a recent trip to buy a new car. “We spent hours negotiating the price. It was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life.”

I tried to tell my friend that if you find yourself in a car dealer’s showroom negotiating the selling price of the new car you want to buy, you’re already in such a deep hole it will be difficult to get the good deal you’re looking for.

The Wild West of Car Sales

When I was Internet Manager for a major car dealer, I saw first-hand the mistakes that customers made. One of the biggest mistakes that cost them hundreds--even thousands of dollars more than necessary, was beginning their vehicle search by walking into a major dealership and declaring, “Help, I need a new car now.”

Car dealers are professionals who have been making a living in the Wild West of car sales for many years. They wouldn’t have survived for this long--and through this economic downturn--if they weren’t very good at what they do. And what they do best is take a “walk in” customer through the car buying process as quickly and as profitably for the dealership as possible.

Sale staff spend long hours training in the art of following the “steps to the sale.” Closing techniques, telephone skills, product knowledge, and much more are drilled into them day after day, week after week, and year after year.


why do car buyers who only negotiate a handful of deals in a lifetime believe that they can walk into a dealership cold and hold their own against a time-honored system that has just one objective: to make a sale as quickly and as profitably as possible?

Side-step the Drama

Savvy car buyers begin their vehicle search at home on their computer. In fact, if you walk into a car dealership before you have all aspects of the deal pre-negotiated, you stand to pay significantly more for your vehicle that you should.


it’s possible to get a good deal by negotiating head-to-head with a salesperson and the professional team that stands behind them. But it takes time, and it’s often very stressful. Why not side-step all that aggravation? Make your life simpler and the car buying process easier.

We take a look at specific ways to do that tomorrow.

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