Car Negotiation Tips

How to Close the Deal
More Often & For More Money!


The following car negotiation tips for salesman are more rules of the road, then they are word for word car sales closes. These are rules that I've found to be very effective and extremely important to follow if you want to close the deal more often and for more money.

Car sales is not all about closing the deal, well it is, but there are many more aspects to it than simply sitting a desk and haggling over numbers. It all begins with hello and (in a perfect world) ends by closing the deal and the customer taking delivery.

Some very important things that need to happen in between hello and the car negotiation:

1. Build Rapport

Not many people will buy from someone they do not like and if they do, they usually won't pay you much. You have a short time to make a friend, so make it all count. Find some common ground to start and carry on a conversation. This will usually get buyers to feel more comfortable with you and hopefully, they will listen to what you have to say.

2. Keep it Light

Don't ever be pushy! Keep things light, but always keep things moving forward. This is where using a good selling system and practice makes perfect. This is typically the second largest purchase most people make and if you make them feel uncomfortable, then they will back out quickly.

3. Speak at Their Pace

A good 'ole boy might view a fast talkin' city slicker to be a pushy, silvered tongued, smooth talker full of empty promises. On the other hand, city folk might find a country pace a bit slow and boring, which may lead to impatience and a desire to leave.

Mirror the customers mannerisms to a degree and either take it down a notch or up a notch depending on the customer.

4. Fact Finding

Even though fact finding is step #2 in most dealerships guides on how to sell cars, it's good to do this throughout the sales process. This will be very important for handling objects during the car negotiation process and will make it much easier to close the deal.

Any bit of information you can gather will be useful. Here are some examples:

  • What are the buyers needs
    • Small payments
    • A safer vehicle
    • Better fuel economy
    • More space for the kids
    • A large towing capacity, etc.

  • What are the buyers wants
    • A red car
    • A sporty design
    • A moon roof to stare at the stars while they drive, etc.

  • Who is the primary driver
  • What will the vehicle be used for
  • Will they be paying cash, if so their price range
  • Will they be financing, if so their payment range
  • Are all people involved in the buying decision present
  • All else being equal what's the single most important thing they are looking for in their new vehicle

It's important to ask a question when fact finding and then listen. Truly listen, don't be thinking about the next thing you are going to say, or how much money you stand to make if you close the deal.

Keep in mind that the car negotiation tips above are not the complete sales process, but things that you want to make a part of all your sales interactions, as each will help to give you more tools once the negotiating begins.


Just Before the
Car Negotiation Begins

OK...Let's assume you are just wrapping up the test drive and are now heading back into the dealership. Here are two steps I like to take at this point:

1. Park it in the Sold Lane

I'd actually prefer to park somewhere in eye shot of my desk where the buyer can see the car during negotiations. This helps to remind them of what we are doing this for and helps to keep that emotional high. You know, the one that makes a simple shopping experience turn into an exciting buying experience.

If I'm working at a dealership where it's not possible to park within eye shot, then I like to tell the customer to park it in the sold lane, whether there really is one or not (just pick a spot). This accomplishes two things, it assumes the sale and let's me know where the buyer stands.

If they are interested in the vehicle, then they won't object and will park it. If they don't want to buy today, then they'll let you know...Trust me they'll let you know!

2. Get a Commitment

Getting a commitment is as simple as asking if they like the car and if it has everything that they want and need. If I get a yes to both of these I'll ask for a buying commitment.

"I'm happy we found the right car for you. If we can get all the numbers to be agreeable for you, would you: buy this car today... take delivery of your new car today... buy it now, etc."

At this point in the sales process I tend to take the gloves off and stop using the soft, delicate approach (I'll put them back on later).

I will use phrases that many sales teachers may tell you to stay away from, but this is the point where I want to know if it's time to move forward. I also want to know if there are any objections to the car, the dealership or even me.

Why waste their time, your time and/or your managers time negotiating a car that the customer does not truly want? I say let's get right to the point and find out how serious they are.

Is this the right car? Yes. Great!... If we make the numbers right are you an owner?


Let the Car
Negotiation Begin

Now we have a committed buyer that loves the car, let's head on inside, take a seat and let the car negotiation begin. Here are some rules of the road when at the desk:

1. Are All Decision Makers Present and Accounted For?

If you are working with a one legger, then you don't want to enter into a full blown negotiation. This is very common with retired couples, wherein the husband comes to the dealership and his better half is not with him.

These buyers have been there, done that and it's my best guess that they know exactly what they are doing. Mr. Smith now has an easy out with Mrs. Smith not being with him.

When you ask, "Does that sound good to you Mr. Smith?" Mr. Smith replies, "Well, I'd have to check with my wife. Let me go home and talk it over with her."

Trust me, and follow this simple car negotiation tip, make sure all decision makers are present, because the only way Mr. Smith is going to call and ask Mrs. Smith to come down to the dealership to sign contracts is if he just "stole" it.

Be sure to let your sales manager know, before negotiations begin, that not everyone is present. They will probably give Mr. Smith some walking numbers to entice Mr. and Mrs. Smith to come back together.

2. Car Buying IS a Team Sport

If you are dealing with more than one buyer, then be sure to include both of them during negotiations. If you make the fatal mistake of singling out the man as "the one in charge", then you'll quickly find out who the real decision maker most often is.

Unfortunately, this revelation will suddenly slam you in the forehead, and to some degree your wallet, as both Mr. AND Mrs. Smith are driving away in their old car.

The last stat that I heard was that women strongly influenced (probably had the final say) more than 75% of all car buying or non buying decisions.

Be sure to make eye contact and split face time with both buyers. In addition, be sure to ask questions and then look for a response from both buyers.

3. Write it Down

If you are still using four squares to negotiate at your dealership, then don't be scared to write on them.

Cross things out, make arrows from here to there, write out examples, write down what they are willing to do and get signatures.

During a heated, but friendly, car negotiation a four square, or similar negotiating tool, should look more and more like a Picasso painting each time you go back to the desk.

People tend to believe things in writing to be more truthful than spoken words (don't lie though). You are also getting a mini commitment each time they sign and quite frankly, you'll eventually wear most customers out.

4. Break it Down to the Smallest Possible Number

In the last of the car negotiation tips, and this is a very important one, you must break all numbers down to be as small as possible and relate that cost to something that is somewhat frivolous.

For instance, $28 a month in extra payments is only pennies a day ($0.98 to be exact)...

For less than a pack of gum a day you could own this beauty...

I noticed you smoke cigarettes, if you smoked only 3 less cigarettes a day you could not only easily afford this car, but you'll live longer...

Switch from drinking Starbucks Venti's to the slightly smaller Grande and you're there...

It would cost you more to buy something off the McDonald's dollar menu...

People that buy from $0.99 stores will be jealous of how little you're paying...

Cancel Showtime and HBO, you probably watch too much TV anyway...and on and on and...

This is a great way to do two things:

One, it can lighten the mood. Some people get really stressed during a car negotiation and this can help to take their mind off the not so tough decision they are faced with and...

Two, it really helps to show that $28 is really not that big a step up. Breaking dollars down into cents makes sense, because it shows how ridiculously easy it is to take a small step up in payments.

Follow these car negotiation tips, sell more cars, close the deal, make more money and go find another new friend to sell a car to. If you've got questions or comments don't hesitate to contact me here: car sales questions

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