Secret Dealer Negotiation Tactics Revealed

Valerie Raskovic
Dec 06, 2021

The average car salesperson makes an average of $40k every year. With every sale increasing that number, it is no wonder they use many tactics to get you to spend more. They are trained on how to be good salespeople and know a lot of ways to weaken your defenses. It’s important to know how to counteract these tricks.


Why Dealers Use Negotiation Tactics

Car salespeople are under a lot of pressure to sell each car for as much as possible. They get paid based on a percentage of profits. So, the more money they convince you to buy a car for, the more money they’re making. One of the ways the dealer may have an advanatage is when the seller does not know what they are buying so do your research before visiting the dealer lot. It may also help you in the purchase decision making process to read reviews from vehicle owners to get a better idea of what others have to say about the vehicle you may be interested in purchasing. 


Car salespeople also get paid bonuses if they sell a car that has been stuck in the lot for a long time. This bonus is on top of their normal commission. There are also bonuses for selling certain models or model years.


Lastly, dealerships operate on a monthly cycle, so the staff towards the end of the month are worried about making more sales. In contrast, at the beginning of the month they are more worried about making larger profits per vehicle.


Car Dealer Tactics

Car dealers use many tactics to get you to buy a car for the highest price possible. All of these tactics are psychological ways to convince you that you are getting a good price.


The Back Office Trip

This is when the dealer pulls up the finance manager, who is most likely the most skilled person there. When they come up, they have a sense of authority. Now that you are talking to a new face with a level of authority, you are more likely to take their suggestions.


Since you’re already spending a lot of money, a few more additions to your package might not feel like a big deal, especially when they’re advised by someone who you think knows a lot. Suggestions can include rustproofing, warranties, or stain protection.


You want to be careful not to make serious mistakes at the last moment. You’ve made it this far. Stick to your guns and don’t let a new face distract you.


Playing the Clock

Although you might expect dealers to be in a rush, it is actually the exact opposite. They draw out the sale for as long as possible until you’re desperate to get a deal. If you’re hungry and tired, you’re more likely to sign away at a higher price.


Buying a car might end up taking a lot longer than you expected. This is because the dealer is using time to weaken your senses so you will agree to certain terms.


You can counter this by setting the pace yourself. Say you’re there for a test drive and will return the next day for a sale. Ask for the best price right away.


The Ben Franklin Close

With this tactic, the dealer will draw a line in the middle of a piece of paper. On one side they will list reasons that you should buy the car. On the other side they will list reasons why you shouldn’t buy the car. Salesmen in all different industries use this tactic.


The salesperson will usually employ this tactic if they think that they may lose the sale. This is a way for them to evaluate the needs and wants of the customer in order to derive facts about the customer’s situation and make educated recommendations based upon the information provided.


Profiling You

Car dealers are incredibly trained on how to spot your vulnerabilities and persuade you. They search for your weak spots. They will ask things like how much you want to pay each month, but you should keep that to yourself because you don’t want all your cards on the table.


They will try to get you to buy pricier cars or packages by talking about family safety too. This is a huge weak point for parents. Remember that all cars are built incredibly safe these days.


To help fight against this, focus on three things: choosing your car, choosing what you want to equip it with, and negotiating a price. Don’t let the order get muddied.


The “If”

This is when a dealer uses an “if” question against you, such as “If I get you ___ monthly payment, would you buy the car today?” or “If I can get it in ____ color, will you buy it today?”


They are looking for your “buying trigger” when they do this. Your response should be that you are shopping around with multiple dealerships to find the best deal, and you’ll make a decision once you know all your options. This will put the ball back in your court and the dealer will have to give some wiggle room in hopes of being the best option and ultimately making the sale.


Pressure of Other Buyers

Dealers will use a strategy against you known as the “impending event.” This is when they say that if you don’t buy the car that day, the sale will change or someone else might buy the car. Psychologically, people are more likely to buy things that they know other people want.


Car dealers will lie to you and say someone else said they’d be back later that day to pick up the car you’re looking at, and will say that if you buy it before them, it’s yours. This will pressure you into putting in a down payment.


Be ready to walk away if this happens. If a car dealer is using this trick, they are likely using many more, because this is one of the dirtiest ones. You can always find the car somewhere else.


The Alternative Choice Close

This is one of the most popular tactics. You get offered two options: for example, a red model or a blue model.


Dealers avoid asking yes or no questions because they don’t want to let you say no. The secret is that both choices are an option. A good answer is that you want to look at everything they have.


Don’t answer the question. Either say you’re interested in all options or start talking about a different topic.



Car salespeople use many different tactics to try to get you to spend more money because they get a commission on their sales. Now that you know their tricks and how to counteract them, you can confidently buy a car without getting taken advantage of. Always do your research, know what you want to buy and be aware of all the gimics and tactics that may be used to sway your decision. 

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