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Do not fall for the sweet Talk of a Used Car Salesman

Generally, a used car dealer is a guy who is by and large a confidence trickster. But that does not make him evil - for all you know he may genuinely be wanting to sell you a good used car, but he needs to win your confidence first because he knows what the world thinks of used car dealers and salesmen. Then again, he may not be an honest car salesman if he is trying to scam you into buying a lemon. Or, maybe, he is routinely going about his job and showing you both good and bad used cars, and his business demands that he win your confidence.

A Used Car Salesman's Profile

Generally, we cannot bandy all used car salesmen as scamming confidence tricksters - some of them are honest too. There are several myths floating around how a used car salesman looks: When car buyers and sellers walk into any used car dealership, they expect to be literally mobbed by salesmen who are flashing massive smiles where you can see all their frontal teeth - this is called showing alligator teeth. They may pat your back on and off too and their charm-o-meter is set to maximum. And they are well turned up, well perfumed, and their mouth is sprayed with good-smelling gas.

They act differently with different people because they are born psychologists armed with a street-smart degree. So, they may pretend to be friendly to an unsure geek while they will talk matter-of-factly to a hard-nosed businessman.

There are no set looks - they can look like Jim Carrey or Chris Rock or maybe even like George Bush, all hanging around used car dealerships - so y ou cannot tell them by their looks. But if you are intelligent enough, you can figure them out by the way they talk. In the end, remember that the car dealer or the salesman is doing a job, and that you should not fall for any talk and be diligent enough while going in for a used car deal.

Negotiations at used car dealerships

Any used car transaction is subject to negotiations, especially if you are a buyer. Of course, if you are buying or selling used cars at CarMax then they have this no-haggle policy, but negotiating at other used car dealerships is a must. And at any negotiation, you must be firmly in control throughout the entire conversation. Here is how you can go about doing that:
  • While conversing do not get too businesslike - instead, be friendly yet firm. Subtly show off your sense of humor. But answer all the basic questions such as name, address, etc., honestly.
  • The car salesman may try to find out how financially strong you are when it comes to buying a used car. If he ge ts a whiff that you are unsure and are not financially strong, then he may try to put the squeeze on you by exploiting your needs with your abilities. So, it is prudent to firmly focus on determining the selling price first without divulging how you are going to pay for the car. If you are going to pay the car's price in one go, then you have the upper hand because cash is king.
  • Do not show any of your weaknesses. Even if you really want to buy "that" car from him, play it cool and mention that though you have the money or can arrange it, you would rather wait for a car like that at your budget. Do not ever show that you are in a hurry - either by displaying anxiety or eagerness.
  • Before negotiating, arm yourself with information on used car estimates by visiting sites such as Kelly Blue Book, Edmunds, etc. You will most likely find that the car sticker price is higher than what estimate you have arrived at. Start bargaining from this estimate price, not from the sticker price.
  • Mak e an offer and follow it up with pregnant silence. Whoever speaks unsurely first after the silence is the weaker party.
  • Do not raise your own offer, unless the car salesman makes you a counter offer. And if at all you are raising your offer, raise it in very small numbers, maybe by $ 100.
If you keep your cool and keep your emotions in check, then finally, both of you will reach a point where the prices offered are close to expectations of both the parties. This is where you strike the deal.

Used Car Dealership Tricks

Here's how used car dealers try to make you act by putting on psychological pressure:
  • They may run an ad campaign that announces that some of their best models are going cheap and before people land up there they may put on a SOLD sticker and make you look at different models that are turkeys.
  • They do not include the on-road cost, which they talk about after you agree to buy the car.
  • They will try to make you feel obliged some way or the other.
  • If you are trading in your car, they will offer you a very generous cut in the price. What you don't know is that this generous portion, plus some more, is already added on to the car that you are buying.
  • The salesman may tell you that he is selling the car cheaply because he has missed his target sales for the period. Don't fall for that.
  • A dealer may keep the price low, but the repayments high. Remember, a slightly higher rate of interest makes a difference.
  • A dealer may tell you that the offer that he is making to you is valid only if you take an instant decision. Many people fall for this.
  • Then there's the usual sales talk like describing the car as "hot property", or "even I have the same car" stuff.
  • Lastly, the salesman will try to gain your confidence by talking about your likes and dislikes in a flattering manner. He will do his best to make you feel he is a friend and you are special.
While talking to a used car salesman, the question you s hould then ask yourself at that time is whether you have gone there to strike a friendly relationship or to buy a car. The answer will clear all doubts.




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