What Should You NOT Say to a Car Salesperson?

Buying a car can be one of life’s most stressful events, and part of that is because people often feel like the salesperson is going to take advantage of them. While it’s true that cars are usually higher-priced than we think they’re going to be, that doesn’t mean every salesperson is out to get you. Nevertheless, there are some tips you can use to increase the odds of a positive experience, and it all starts with not saying the following things to your salesperson.

I Love This Car

You are allowed to fall in love with a vehicle, but you don’t want to let the salesperson know that – at least not in the beginning. Remember that car prices are always negotiable, and if the salesperson knows you love a particular one, they may be tempted to jack up the price a little. Keep your mouth shut about how much you love a particular car so that the salesperson is much more likely to jump through a few hoops to give you a good deal.

I Don’t Want to Be Taken Advantage of

Believe it or not, most car salespeople are honest people just out to make a living. The last thing you want to do is assume the person helping you is a dishonest scumbag. It means you’ve already started on the wrong foot, and that can definitely put a damper on your upcoming negotiations. Instead, be positive and upbeat, and most of all, don’t say something that is going to automatically insult the salesperson you’re working with.

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I’m Paying Cash for the Car

While nearly 85% of car-buyers finance their vehicles, you still shouldn’t let the salesperson know up front that you’re paying for the car with cash. If he or she knows you’ll be paying with cash, it is much less likely that you’re going to get the very best deal in the end. Salespeople may not work as hard to get you a good deal on the car if they know you’re going to be paying cash for it. It’s just that simple.

Where Are the Cup Holders/Do You Have This in Red?

We all have preferences when it comes to the color of the car and extra perks such as cup holders, a third row of seats, and others, but the beginning of the negotiations isn’t the time to mention them. The salesperson may think you’re not serious about buying a vehicle because you’re only interested in things that are minor. Instead, ask about important details such as gas mileage, reliability, and similar things first.

I Don’t Know That Much About Cars

This is a statement most salespeople love hearing. If they think you don’t know anything about cars, this often gives them permission to push an extended warranty on you, which you may or may not need. Before you visit the dealership, you might want to learn a little about the car you’re going to see to have this knowledge in your head in case you need it at some point. It also increases the likelihood that they’ll try to sell you a vehicle that is more expensive, thinking you won’t notice that it’s pricier than the others. Always keep it to yourself if you truly know nothing about cars.

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My Credit Isn’t So Hot

Dealerships make a lot of money on customers who finance their vehicles through them, so this is music to a salesperson’s ears. Instead, shop around for the best interest rate at different banks and credit unions before you get to the dealership because this is the best way to feel some control over the monthly payment you’ll be paying once the negotiations are complete. Try not to finance through the dealership unless it’s absolutely necessary because you’ll save tons of money that way.

I Can Only Afford $350 Per Month

Chances are good you’ll figure out how much of a monthly note you can afford before you get to the dealership, but the salesperson doesn’t need to know this. They may tell you that a $350 note is possible, but does that mean the terms of the loan will be 60 months or 72 months, or somewhere in between? It can get confusing for you if you just put a certain amount out there, and you’ll likely end up paying more than you wanted to after all.

I’m a Doctor/Lawyer

To some salespeople, hearing that you have an occupation that tends to pay high salaries may make them think you’ll be okay with being charged a higher price for the car. You’ll eventually have to share your income and occupation with the dealership when you fill out the paperwork, but until that time comes, it’s best if you keep quiet when it comes to what you do for a living. If you don’t, they’ll see dollar signs for sure!

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My Trade-in Is Just Outside

If you tell the salesperson your current vehicle is outside, it’s likely that someone from the dealership may ask for your keys to go outside and look at the car to assess its value. This leaves you in an awkward position if you want to leave before they’re done, so it’s best to (1) not mention your current car until you’re further on with the negotiations, and (2) keep your keys with you as long as you can.

I Need a Car Today

Nothing brings dollar signs to a salesperson’s eyes faster than knowing you can’t wait long to find a new car. This tells them you’re in a hurry and will likely take anything they put in front of you, even if you can’t afford it. The truth is that the more anxious you are to purchase your next car, the less likely the salesperson is to go out on a limb on your behalf and find you the best available deal on the lot. They all know that the more time you have, the less likelier they are to be able to talk you into something you may not be able to afford in the end.

Marko Mikulic

Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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