7 Salesman Tactics to Avoid When Shopping at a Dealership

Car salesmen get a bad reputation; there is no doubt about that. Like any other salesperson, their job is to convince someone that they have to put themselves behind the wheel of a car on their lot. If you are in the market for a used or new car, then the only way to come out ahead is by making a budget, sticking to it, taking the emotion out, and not getting caught up in high-pressure sales tactics.

Car salesman

Before you start looking for the car that suits you and your business, make sure to look out for these seven sales tactics that can have you making a not-so-good choice, courtesy of our friends at Applewood Nissan Richmond dealership.

1. Time crunch

The worst thing you can succumb to when buying a car is being pressured by time. Sometimes salespeople will win out and you will lose, simply due to time constraints. If you have been shopping all day, have whiny kids who want to go home, or just feel pressure to act quickly, then you are more likely to make an unwise decision. If it has been a long day, sleep on it. The car will be there in the morning once you have had time to really consider the purchase without the timer ticking.

2. Don’t be “psyched”

Salespeople are trained to do what they do, and that involves playing with your psyche. They have been taught to use questions that have you twisting your thought process — like “How much do you have to spend monthly?” — so that they can get you into a higher-priced car then you might have anticipated. The way to combat their psychological tactics is to set a budget, be mindful of what they ask and why they are asking it, and if it feels like you had one thing in mind and they have changed your mind, then try to get back to the mindset you walked in with.

3. Promotions and events

Often salespeople will use the time constraints of promotions and events to entice you to buy a car. The truth is that there is always room for negotiation. If you miss a car event that doesn’t mean that the same offer won’t be available if you know how to negotiate right a week from now. Don’t be pressured into thinking that you are getting a “deal” that is only available NOW. The likelihood is that you can get the same deal any day of the week if you negotiate right.

4. Don’t be breadcrumbed

Don’t be fooled by a salesperson who is pretending to be able to get you in a car you really want by working with you to your benefit. Questions like “What if I could get you into this car today?” are meant to make you feel like you are getting a special deal or that they will work out a price in your favor. The salesperson only has one bottom line objective, and that is their own. That isn’t a bad thing; after all, it is their job and how they make a living — just don’t be fooled.

Car dealership

5. The Pro-Con list

Often car salespeople will use a pro-con list where they will present all the reasons that you should purchase a car against all the reasons that you might not want to or shouldn’t. You can bet that the pro list will always be longer than the con. Just remember they are not your list of pros and cons; they are the salesperson’s. Think long and hard about whether the list is for your benefit and if you would come to the same conclusions or not.

6. Limited choices

Another sales tactic is to make you feel like there are only two real choices, although they are both the same. Things like “Would you like the red or the blue model?” are a way to distract people from seeing that there are other options, like another model or perhaps even another car. Don’t be pressured into only seeing two options when the options for a new or used car are endless if you want to look around.

7. The good-guy/bad-guy

“Follow me to my office” is usually the biggest sales push. A salesperson who can get you to sit down and talk things through has you invested in a purchase. They will likely make an offer, and when you negotiate, they will have to clear such a good deal with someone “higher up the totem pole.” Don’t be fooled; the salesperson knows the bottom line without having to take it to a supervisor. They are just trying to make you think they are going the extra length.


Making the decision to buy a new or used car is a major one for many people. Don’t ever make a car buying decision because you are tired, frustrated, or manipulated. It isn’t that car salesmen are different from any other type of salesman. They are trying to sell cars. You just have to be mindful of the tactics they use to help your decision along.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *