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Buying a Car?

What Is My Case Worth?

car buying_negotiation

Before You Make Your Purchase, Make Sure You Acquire These Negotiation Strategies First!

Ahhh, the car buying process. Some people love the thrill of the chase and finding the perfect set of wheels at a great price – while others dread the idea of walking into a dealership, especially if you’ve ever turned over your old car keys to the salesperson and been “held hostage” during the encounter. But whether you’re a seasoned car buying expert or a rookie with that “deer in the headlights look” when you whiz past a dealership, it’s always essential that you have a few negotiation strategies in your toolbox.

In addition to being an attorney, James Goodnow is also a trained negotiator, and while he was in law school he also attended the Harvard Program on Negotiation, considered by many one of the world’s leading programs on negotiation. James also regularly presents on advanced negotiation, including how to negotiate for vehicles.

Here are Goodnow’s negotiation tips for getting a great deal on a car:

1) Come armed with information — make sure you’ve researched the dealer cost. Also look at specials at competitive dealers.

2) Make the first offer. In general it’s best for you to “anchor” the parameters of the negotiation by making the first offer. Dealers will generally not want to bid against their own prices, so don’t be afraid to put in an offer at or below the dealer invoice price.

3) Leave room for the volleys. Most dealer negotiations involve back-and-forth offers and counteroffers.  It’s not unusual for this process to happen three or four times. As a result, leave room in your negotiation for these volleys. It’s nice to think that a dealer will cut to the chase, but the reality is most won’t; it’s too engrained in the car buying culture.

4) Never only go to just one dealer. Find similar cars at multiple dealers to force them to bid against each other.

5) Create value with options. Options such as window tinting, stereo upgrades, extended warranties, better financing options or sport packages. These can be particularly effective at bridging a gap or getting through an impasse. Remember, I t’s not always about dollars and cents.

6) Go national.  More and more national car companies allow consumers to look for deals from outside of their hometown. Although you need to pay shipping, the cost savings can often be significantly greater than the shipping charges.

7) Avoid the “let me talk to my manager” trap.  Some salespeople will still play the classic game where they sit you down and say they need to speak with their manger to get authority. This tactic can keep you waiting for extended periods of time. Don’t fall into this trap. If the manger’s help is needed, then ask to have the manger involved.  If they refuse, then you don’t have to buy.

8) Don’t be afraid to walk away. Know your alternatives, and never feel like you have to stay and purchase this car. There will always be other vehicles.

9) Bring food. It sounds simple, but it can have an impact. If you’re hungry and tired, you’re less likely to make a good deal.  Don’t give in just because you want to have lunch; if you do, that lunch could end up costing you thousands of dollars. Pack a lunch, bring snacks and don’t be afraid to drive to a convenience store and come back with something more than the food in the dealer vending machine.

“In business as in life, you don’t get what you deserve
you get what you negotiate”
– Chester L. Karrass

What’s My Case Worth?