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Car Dealers: Approaches to Recognize and Avoid

by gratesbb

Car dealers know how to make a sale on even the toughest of customers. Auto traders are excellent salespeople, and they live up to that reputation. Not to mention people for car transport. They approach customers from a variety of angles, so it helps if you know how they work. They have mastered the art of persuasion to keep cars moving off the lots. A salesperson may persuade you to choose the car they want for you – not the car you actually want.

The process of selecting the right car can be detailed and lengthy. To survive this undertaking and not fall for any car dealer’s tricks, you need to know their standard techniques. You don’t have to fear their tactics or allow them to control the situation. By recognizing their schemes, you can resist being pressured into a questionable and unwanted transaction. You’ll also boost the probability of finding the perfect vehicle for the best deal. Let’s take a look at some common car dealer strategies so that you can drive off the lot with a smile on your face. 

Distracting Small Talk

Small talk and casual conversations are not commonly negative. However, car dealers use it entirely for their advantage. It’s the first step in assessing you as the buyer. Dealers quickly probe to determine how much you plan to spend and how likely you’ll budge on that number. Many sales-focused people do this.

The friendly, trustworthy salesman that greets you and makes you feel welcome is lulling you into a false sense of security. Before long, you may end up making a deal that pleases the likable salesman. The longer it takes to discuss actual vehicles and numbers, the better chance they will control you. If you’re not careful, the car you buy will be their selection and not yours.

Customer Baiting

Make no mistake, once you get on-site, the vehicle you saw in the advertisement will not be available. This is a marketing technique to bait potential buyers. Dealers showcase the most appealing cars at the best price for the world to see. Your dream car is available now, and you’d best hurry in to claim it. Or so it seems.

In reality, this is nothing more than false advertising. Think about the countless click-bait ads you see online. The same concept applies here. If a dealer can get you to the lot, then the hard part of their job is over. You’ll find out that someone else just snagged the car you wanted. But don’t despair because the salesman will inevitably think of an even better deal just for you. Beware of this kind of customer baiting that pulls you in too deep to a bad deal.

Checking With the Boss

This approach usually occurs with first-time car buyers. Often, the salesman offers a “good” deal. They may even provide a “better” deal after a bit of back-and-forth. However, the end goal is the “best” deal that only the boss can approve. In this case, the art of persuasion means they’re persuading you to believe them.

Salespeople often leverage themselves as someone who will fight to make sure you come out on top. This could not be farther from the truth. The generously offered discounts are merely reductions in an already sky-high price. This gives the salespeople room to convince the buyer of a once-in-a-lifetime bargain. Remember this tip next time you hear the boss’s name come up.

Pushing Extras

Believe it or not, but car dealers make little cash from their sales. This fact means they’ll take every chance possible to pile on the extras. Be prepared for an overwhelming amount of add-ons. Basic car models feature the most basic prices. After you add power windows, a sunroof, bigger wheels, and built-in GPS, the price is astronomical. With every upgrade, ask yourself if you need it.

Vehicle add-ons account for only a part of the dealer’s profit. You’ll soon be launched into warranty discussions and presented with various agreements ranging from partial to comprehensive. Agreements that, in the end, could destroy what started as a financially sound decision. Again, you must ask yourself if you need the coverage. If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask for more time to decide or merely walk away. 

Aggressive Closing

Once the final deal is in sight, the salesman will move into a closing position. At this time, you’ll start to feel more pressure either from the salesman or the dealer in charge. You may notice more aggressive behavior. This action is all a tactic to seal the deal.

The dealer will try to convince you that it’s a last-chance bargain and you’re in danger of missing out. If they haven’t convinced you so far, they’ll begin to try to push you into an impulsive decision. You’ll likely start to feel rushed and uncertain. That is the time to stand your ground and remain in control. Buying a vehicle is your decision, and only you can make it. Remember this when the salesman shifts into the closing mindset.


A car dealer is there to help you through the process of purchasing a vehicle. An experienced, honest salesperson can ease fears and walk you through an enjoyable experience. On the other hand, a deceptive, greedy salesperson can quickly take advantage of you and your hard-earned money. However, by keeping these tactics in mind, you can confidently visit a dealership searching for the perfect car. As the buyer, you’re in control, and you can drive away satisfied.

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