The Most Common Sales Tactics That Used Car Salespeople Use

Whether you’re a first-time car buyer or seasoned consumer, used car salespeople employ the same strategies. Even the best car dealership uses clever wordplay to tease you into making a deal.

People in the automotive industry are infamous for employing questionable sales methods.

Before stepping foot onto a car lot, get to know these common tactics of used car salespeople. And practice the equally clever retorts.

Trade-In Deal

Car dealers will often sell you on a “great deal for your trade-in.” But that so-called deal reduces any possible discount on the car you want to buy.

For instance, let’s say you have your eyes set on a $24,000 vehicle. And you have a trade-in valued at $4,000. But the dealer quotes you only $3,000 on your trade-in so you protest.

Now they’ve increased their trade-in offer to $6,000 and you negotiated the car purchase price down to $23,000. You’re thinking you got a great deal, naive to the fact the dealer was willing to sell the car for $20,000.

The best way to counter this is to first negotiate on the used car for sale. Let’s say now you get the dealer down to $20,000 and then turn your attention to your trade-in. At this point, the dealer may still increase their trade-in offer to $6,000. But they likely won’t renege on the final used car price, leaving them to lose profit on the sale. 

Emphasizing Payment Over Price

Many car dealers will try to sell you on a payment to get you to ignore the price. They’ll ask what you believe is an “affordable monthly payment.” If you state something within reason, they’ll appear to make an attempt to meet your budget.

When the car dealer comes back with a number you like, ask for details. Examine the sales price, trade-in price, and finance terms. You could find they’ve spread out your 36-months payment plan to 60 months.

Longer-term leases may get you a slightly lower monthly payment. But you’ll end up paying more in interest over the term of your car loan. Don’t get so hooked on the used cars for sale that you fall into this trap.

Listing Pros vs Cons

To sell you on taking a deal, used car salespeople engage what’s called the “Ben Franklin” close. It’s where they divide a page and begin listing the pros and cons of buying their car.

The dealer does this is to pressure you into buying the car based on the overwhelming benefits. But they leave you to state any objections to saying yes to the deal. If their argument is compelling enough, you may find it hard to furnish the cons’ list.

You should stop the dealer in their tracks as soon as they mention making a list. Identify this tactic to their face, calling it by name. They may become so flustered they won’t know what to say.

Win the Battle With Used Car Salespeople 

Vehicle ownership is a big deal, whether buying your first car or adding to your collection. Don’t let used car salespeople ruin your buying experience. Learn how to control negotiations and finalize a favorable deal.

If you found this information helpful, check out our other car buying and insurance guides.

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