How to negotiate a car price with a seller: negotiating like a pro


Posted by: Henry Egan

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Negotiating to buy a car can be a bit of a strain. How can you go about this like a Pro? This piece will help you beat the salesman to a good price.


Buying a car usually means getting ready for tough negotiations

Thinking of buying a car? Whether it is a used vehicle or a brand new machine, negotiating the price can be something of a challenge especially if you're getting it from a car dealership. The dealership will definitely find ways and special tricks to get the best deal for their business. Car dealerships usually have a carefully engineered order of selling that is designed to tire you out, make you commit the common buying mistakes most novice buyers make, and then milk a higher price from you, no matter your pre-planned budget.

So now, what are some techniques you should apply when negotiating the price of a car with a salesperson at a car dealership or when trying to purchase a used car from a private individual? Read on!

Tip #1. Start with some research

This is the most crucial step before any negotiation. Starting any bargaining without arming yourself with informed market research of your desired car is like shooting blind and you will definitely be at the mercy of the salesperson and the dealership. Doing your research means that you have made a decision on the car and have then researched the prices offered for similar cars online and offline. A credible tool to help do your research on the prices of used cars is Naijauto Car Sales Section. There you will find up-to-date prices on offer for used cars. For brand new cars, tools like those on Autoblog and Edmund will be very valuable. Thorough research on the car includes car specs, its pros, and cons, prices listed for similar cars and the price other buyers have paid for the same car. 

Tip #2. Make sure of the financing

It is advised that you do a realistic review of your personal finance. This will mean you determining which payment plan to utilize in effecting your purchase. Are you going to pay cash?  Will you need a loan to make the purchase? These are some of the questions you need to answer before you make your first move. Dealerships provide financing options to their customers, but you should know that this will always favor the dealership more and you may end up paying more. 

Tip #3. First offer

The first offer will determine the direction the following negotiation will go. Usually, you do not want to be the first person to make or table the first offer. We always advise that you let the salesperson from the dealership or the private seller make the first offer. This way, you can gauge their number with what you came up with from your market research, which will then guide you on your own first offer. Usually, you'll want to make an offer that is lower than the market value for the car and then work your way up. You should expect that the offer from the dealership will be above the market value, but when armed with your already researched figure, you will be better prepared to negotiate.


Make sure to be polite with the salesperson 

It can be a little challenging negotiating with the dealership's salesperson, but make sure you remain calm and stick to your numbers. In contrast, negotiating with a private seller for a used car may not be as tense as that of a dealership but still, you'll want to remain calm and very polite.

Tip #4. Counteroffers

Dealerships have standard procedures for processing sales. Normally, the salesperson will discuss with you and will possibly take your offer which is within their own range to the sales manager, who will then make a counteroffer that will be presented to you by the salesperson. This to-and-fro might continue for as long as it takes to tire you out and possibly corner you into accepting a higher offer. The first counteroffer from the dealership may still be way high up, usually to help them cut a better price deal. At this point, you should make your own counteroffer which should be in small increments. After the first round of counteroffers, we usually advise that you should be ready to walk away rather than be dragged into the dealership's to-and-fro party. At this point you could say something like this to the salesperson:

" I checked out this Car on Naijauto Car Sales Page and other online car sales resources and I found the price of this car is about XXXXX, I am willing to offer XXXX but if your manager will not accept this figure, it will be best we don't waste more time". 

This way you will not be dragged into that unending bargaining they are famous for and you can cut a deal faster. You can also be sure that even after you make this call, a counteroffer will still come, but make sure you stick with your already researched number and be willing to walk away if they won't shift ground.

When negotiating with a private seller, make sure you don't get into an argument with the seller, as this will lower your chances of getting a fair deal. Remain polite but make sure you walk your way around your own number. Normally, most private sellers call ridiculous initial prices, but you always remember that some private sellers are always in a tough situation and are in need of quick cash. Why not make your offer, drop your card or phone contact and leave. Events have shown that most private sellers will still call you over the phone to accept your offer after reconsidering.

Tip #5. Accepting the offer

If you are buying a used car from a private seller who has accepted your offer, make sure to confirm all the required paperwork, including change of ownership, court affidavit, vehicle insurance, Roadworthiness certificate, and police clearance. It is already expected that you had a thorough look at the car, along with a friend or preferably a mechanic and the car's overall state must have been locked down. For a car dealership, make sure you get an official written sales contract showing the negotiated offer. If you're employing a financing facility from the dealership, make sure to go through the numbers carefully. Avoid accepting any unnecessary add-on that will potentially raise the price, rather stick with just the car's price. 


Happy ending through negotiating like a pro

Hey car buyer! Never go into a car-buying situation without these resources: 10 things to never say to a car salesman (Part 1) and 10 things to never say to a car salesman (Part 2)

Tip #6. Using the unconventional approach

There is still the unconventional method of negotiating which is "not to negotiate at all". This approach has gained some good traction as more and more people are trying it these days. This technique involves contacting the car dealership by Email and telling them "you would like to purchase so-and-so car and that your research shows that the car currently trades at so-and-so price but that you are willing to offer XXXX price for the car". Then follow that up with "That you are willing to come in to finalize the deal, if your offer is good for them and that you are waiting on their reply to make a decision". The last part is like throwing in a bone to aid your course.

If your price is within their own bargain bracket, you can be sure that they will promptly reach out to you to come in for more chat. But be sure that you make them know that you will only come in to seal the purchase deal and nothing more.

With this, you will negotiate much like a Pro and will most likely get a fair deal for your car.

>>> Make sure to read through other Car Buying Tips on our Tips section and other exciting and informative articles

Henry Egan
Henry Egan

Henry Egan


Henry Egan a poet, essayist, content writer, blogger and technical writer who is willing to read just that last material to develop the best content possible. Henry feels he is more of a new generation writer with a sassy and swanky style. You can be sure you'll get all the facts in and never get bored with his articles.

He has got a flair for technical reviews on automobile and cars. He studied Mechanical Engineering but his first love remains Literary Art.

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