5 Things You Should Never Tell a Car Salesperson When Shopping for a Car

Car shopping is stressful and it can definitely be a hassle if you don’t like to deal with pushy car salespeople. And while not all of them are super aggressive, they are trained to do their best to sell you a car the moment you step on the lot. So if you’re planning on browsing through cars at your local dealership, here are five things that you shouldn’t tell the car salesperson if you don’t want to deal with any pressure.

“I really like this car!”

Try not to show too much excitement when looking at a specific car. A good car salesperson will take note of how you react to certain cars in order to gauge how likely you are to buy it. By showing a lot of interest, you’re practically telling them that you’re committed to buying it either that day or pretty soon. So if you don’t want any added sales pressure or annoying calls right after you leave the dealership, keep your excitement to yourself until you actually buy the car.

A Kia salesperson sells a car to a baby boomer
A Kia salesperson sells a car to a baby boomer | Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“I’m looking to keep my monthly payment at ___.”

While you might think that you’re helping yourself and your budget by letting the car salesperson know that you’re keeping to a certain budget, you’re not. In actuality, you’re helping them figure out how to maximize their profit within the confines of that number you gave them. According to The Street, “negotiating on the monthly payment takes the focus away from the price of the car.”

Of course, if you’re buying a $40,000 car and looking for a payment of $300, it’s simply not going to work. But if you’re looking at a $20,000 car and you let them know that you can afford up to $500 and up to 60 months, then there’s definitely a way for them to work the numbers in their favor, either by getting you to add on the extended warranty, or perhaps adding a couple of points to your interest rate.

“My lease is up soon”

If your current lease is about to end next month or next week, don’t let the car salesperson know. You might think that you’re doing yourself a favor by letting them know your sense of urgency, however, you’re also giving them the green light to try their hardest to sell you a car that day. Unless you do want to be “pressure sold,” just tell them that you’re doing your research and that you’ll come back another time. If you’re really serious, then set up a future appointment with them.

A car salesperson talking to a client
A car salesperson talking to a client | Getty Images

Knowing exactly what you want for your trade in

Just like with the monthly payment that you’re shooting for, you might think that telling the car salesperson a specific number for your trade-in is a good idea, but it’s not. First of all, if it’s too high or unreasonable, then you’ll be disappointed when they hit you with a lower number. But the number that you present is too low, then you might leave a lot of money on the table if you speak first.

Let the dealer appraise your car and make you an offer first. If you don’t like it, then you can negotiate from there, but remember to be reasonable about what you want. Make sure to get your car appraised at places like Carvana and Carmax and be sure to check out its fair market value on sites like Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book.

A worker cleans new cars at a dealership lot
A worker cleaning cars at a dealership | ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

Minimize Your Time at the Dealership and Shop for a Car from Home

“This is exactly the color that I’ve been looking for!”

Just like with the first point of showing too much excitement about the car, even showing your excitement about the car’s color could be a huge clue for the salesperson to get you to buy that day. If the color you want is rare and that dealership happens to have it, they will know that you’re not going anywhere else, which means they won’t need to discount the car as much to be competitive.