Buying a new car may be the biggest purchase you make this year. To prepare, you may come up with a list of questions ahead of time to ask the dealer. However, just as important is knowing what not to say to a car salesman. He makes deals every day and you don’t, which could put him at an advantage. Having a good feeling ahead of time for what to say — and what not to say — will help give you an edge when negotiating. Here is a list of what not to say to a car salesperson which will help save you frustration and keep down the bottom-line price of your new car.
1. “I really love this car”
You can love that car — just don’t tell the salesman.
Car dealers know you’ll be willing to pay more for a car you love. Admitting how much you’re into a car opens the door for them to jack up the price. Stay calm and don’t show emotion. Make it clear if you don’t get a good price, you’re willing to walk away. If a salesperson isn’t yet sure you’ll be signing on the dotted line, he’s more likely to jump through some hoops like lowering the price. Otherwise, you’ve tipped the scales in his favor instead, and he’ll be telling you how the car is a big seller and he can’t take less than a certain amount.
Next: Don’t let on how much you don’t know.
2. “I don’t know that much about cars”
Professing ignorance means someone might try to take advantage of you.
This might be a car salesperson’s favorite thing to hear. He may try to tell you all the extra features you absolutely need to have, and he’ll be sure to emphasize how much you need the extended warranty. Rather, do your research ahead of time so you already know what you want on the car and whether you really need the warranty. Salespeople will be able to tell if you already have some knowledge about the vehicle and what features make sense for you.
Next: An important rule about your trade-in
3. “My trade-in is outside”
Even if you’re considering trading in your junker, don’t let the dealer look at it until you’re farther along in the negotiations.
If you talk about your trade-in sitting outside, you’ll be asked for your keys. A dealership employee will head out to take a look and assess the value while you’re shopping or negotiating inside. This may save some time, but what if negotiations aren’t going well and you decide to leave? This could prove awkward and have you standing around waiting for your vehicle to come back. Or worse, it could give the salesperson more time to haggle with you. Rather, hang onto your car keys until you’re further into the process with the salesperson.
Next: How to avoid starting off on the wrong foot
4. “I don’t want to get taken to the cleaners”
Even if you think all car dealers are crooks, it won’t help you if you make that known. Believe it or not, they’re not all bad – and most of them are doing what they can to make a living. If you start off on the wrong foot, how much less likely will the dealer be to genuinely want to help you out? Rather, set the stage with a positive-yet-serious tone and you’ll be in a much better place to negotiate about the car’s price and features.
Next: What not to reveal about your credit