How to Talk to a Car Salesman

by Kelcey Lehrich

Buying a car and talking to a car salesman is something many people dread. If you go car shopping knowing how to talk to a car salesman you will likely enjoy the experience more, get a better deal, and leave much happier about your purchase. Many people around the country every day pay thousands more for cars than they have to. Knowing some simple details about how to talk to a car salesman can save you tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime.

Talk price and rate, not payment. Car salesmen are trained to negotiate transactions based on a monthly payment. Negotiating based on payment will almost always favor the dealership. As a buyer you should know the exact price you're paying for the car as well as the taxes, fees, and interest. Only negotiate with these figures as it is much easier for sales people to hide mark-up when talking about payment only.

Avoid getting emotional about the purchase. When a car salesman sees you get excited about buying a car he'll know that you're willing to pay more for it than if you're not excited. Even if you are really happy about your impending purchase don't let the salesman know it.

Shop around for financing. Dealerships make a good amount of money from selling financing to their customers. Do some research online and visit your local bank or credit union to secure financing before you go car shopping. Having financing pre-approval will give you extra ammo when talking to a car salesman.

Don't lie. Deceiving a car salesman will never help you get what you want. If you don't want to answer a question simply say that you're not ready to discuss that topic yet, but don't mislead the salesman. His job is to help you buy a car and your job is to find one you like and that you can afford. Lying never moves this process forward.

Know the dealer's cost. Consumers can get cost information from a number of online sources. A dealership's true cost of purchasing a car is typically much less than the "invoice price," due to dealer incentives and holdback, which is a rebate manufacturers pay to dealers. Knowing the true wholesale cost of the car will allow you to negotiate more confidently.


  • check Bring a friend with you when you go car shopping. A tag-team approach will help keep emotions at bay.

About the Author

Kelcey Lehrich has been writing for several online media outlets for the past few years. His work can be found on, and Lehrich holds a bachelor's degree from Cleveland State University in business administration and finance.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Salesman with flower shirt selling image by patrimonio designs from