Negotiating a car deal is more like chess than checkers. Here are 10 questions you will likely be asked and how you should respond. Remember, in any negotiation the person who speaks the most loses. Knowing what to expect and how to handle it could save you thousands!
1. What payment are you expecting? You should know the answer but just simply reply with 50$ per month and wink at them. Many times dealerships will change the financing terms to accomplish your payment goal which could cost you a lot more in the long run. Make sure all the proposals you get are quoting the same term length so you are comparing apples to apples.
2. What did they quote you? Never show your cards. Just say that you don’t remember or say they were going to give me the car for free and ask them if they can beat that. Never tell the dealerships what prices you have been quoted until you have picked a car you want to make a deal on.
3. What color do you prefer? You should just say that color doesn’t matter even if it does. If they know you want the exact vehicle they have in stock and they are the only one that has it they have the upper hand. That’s why before you ever enter a dealership you should know what vehicle you are wanting to look at. Try telling the salesperson this isn’t the exact color you want but if the deal is right you’d consider it. Actually, say instead, “X dealership has the exact color and vehicle I want but I wanted to see if you would beat the deal they quoted me”.
4. What features can you not live without? You should know the answer to this question too but answering this question can also give the dealership information they can use against you. What if the features you want are hard to find? The dealership can charge more if they know you have limited vehicles to choose from. Try saying things like” I don’t know if I really need these heated seats but I’ll consider them if the deal is right”. And never get too excited during a test drive!
5. What are you expecting to get for your trade in? You should always expect a million dollars. You should have an idea of what your vehicle is worth but they don’t need to know what you’re expecting. Just tell them you have no idea what it’s worth but you know what X dealership offered you for it.
6. What is your car payment now? This is an irrelevant question. Just ask them why that matters. They’ll get the point.
7. Is there anything I can do to get you to buy today? Simply tell them you will buy right now if you give me a deal I can not refuse and you haven’t done that yet. If you have contacted at least five dealerships and gotten quotes from them and you are ready to buy the car, simply tell them what you are willing to pay and don’t budge. Be prepared to leave. You should have done all the research before making a decision so you need to stick to your numbers. Try showing them the lowest quote and simply ask them to beat it by $500 because you really want the color they do not have!
8. How much did they offer you for your trade in? Another irrelevant question. The number that matters is the bottom line number so you can say “All I know is what the bottom line number is with X dealership”. Make sure your comparing a vehicle with the same MSRP so that if they check the other dealership they will see you’re not bluffing. Know the exact vehicle your comparing it to if they ask. This is a question you can answer. They need to know you have done your research and they will need to earn your business.
9. Can we pull a credit report to see what we can get you qualified for? You should always have a pre-approved offer for financing. If you have excellent credit above 720 just tell them to assume you have excellent credit and will use their financing if it benefits you. If your credit is shaky let them pull your credit and make sure the other dealerships have pulled your credit also. Make sure all your proposals are for the same financing term so you can compare apples to apples. Also make sure the rate is disclosed in the proposals. You should have a payment calculator to check their work. Don’t assume anything.
10. Do you qualify for supplier pricing? They may also ask where you work. This question is tricky because some manufactures offer rebates for things like military vets or police and firemen. You want those discounts but a employee discount price typically called supplier discount or friends and family price is not always the best deal. These are pre-negotiated prices that dealerships say that there is no negotiating the price. Just answer this question by saying I’ve already received quotes under supplier pricing. If you are going to earn my business you are going to have to come in under supplier price. There are a few scenarios where this approach can back fire so if you do work for a company that has supplier pricing tell them to work it up both ways.
If you want to spend the time to work your own car deal there is only ONE way to guarantee you get the best deal. You have to visit or call multiple dealerships and get proposals in writing. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples and don’t settle for anything until you can be sure you are getting the best deal possible. Without the knowledge of knowing how to compare quotes this is not a easy task. If at anytime you get frustrated remember that’s why Your Car Buying Advocate was created. We will do all the negotiating and research so all you have to do is enjoy your new car. We only have your best interest in mind!
If you have questions or feedback shoot us a message or drop a line in the comments we would love to hear from you!
Mike is a former high-performing car salesman turned car-buying consumer advocate. Now he spends his days breaking the rules the auto industry has set for the consumer buying process. He’s got a love for God, a love for his wife, and a love for his two boys Elijah & Israel. When he and his wife Corrie are not changing diapers, they like to frequent Lake Erie, try new restaurants, travel and serve in their church.