5 Tips on Dealing With the Intimidation You Feel at a Car Dealership

Going to a car dealership to buy a car can be downright intimidating if you don’t know what you’re doing. All of those guys in their fancy shirts and ties, sipping coffee, and eyeing every customer up and down don’t exactly scream “welcome.” If anything, their ominous presence is usually enough to scare even the bravest customers away.

But if you don’t fancy yourself as a brave customer and are wondering how to handle these neck tie-wearing deal slingers, here are five tips to help you out.

1. Remember that the power is in your hands

An employee is seen behind the wheel of an Aurus car at the Aurus showroom at the Avilon Legenda car dealership
An employee is seen behind the wheel of an Aurus car at the Aurus showroom at the Avilon Legenda car dealership. | Sergei Savostyanov\TASS via Getty Images

First and foremost, keep in mind that the power of the car deal is technically in your hands. Without your interest, or your money, the car dealership won’t be making one extra sale that day and the salesperson can’t add an extra car to his or her quota. So take a deep breath before walking into the dealership and remember, you hold the keys to the deal, which will lead you to hold the keys to your next car.

2. Tell the dealer that your offer is “only good for tonight”

A car salesman talks to a customer on the lot.
A car salesman talks to a customer on the lot. | JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

This tip comes via the editors at Car and Driver who noted that if the salesperson gives you the final price on the car and tells you that “it’s only good for tonight,” then make them a final offer as well. By doing so, you’ll let them know that you’re serious about your offer, but don’t want to budge. Remember to throw in that your offer is “only good for tonight” as well.

3. Inform the salesperson that you’re shopping with other dealers

New Volkswagen vehicles parked outside a Volkswagen dealership in South Edmonton
New Volkswagen vehicles parked outside a Volkswagen dealership in South Edmonton. | Artur Widak/NurPhoto

RELATED: Why You Might Not Be Able to a Get a Good Deal on a Car in 2021

A majority of the car buying process should be spent on doing research. This means shopping around at multiple dealerships in order to find the right car at the right price. It also means that when you find the right car at the right dealership, you’ll have some ammunition when it comes to getting the right price.

As such, don’t be afraid to tell the car salesperson that you’ve shopped around at other dealers and will do business with the one that has the best offer. Put the ball in their court and see how well they play.

4. Do your research and make sure you know which car you want

Orange, CA – November 11: New cars ring a secondary lot concealing empty spaces at Toyota of Orange in Orange, CA, on Thursday, November 11, 2021. New car buyers have hit a major snag at dealerships across the region. No cars! The fight is on for limited inventory as the supply chain kinks continue. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

This tip piggybacks off of the last one. When doing your research, make sure that you narrow your choice down to at least two to three options, if not one. By knowing exactly what you want when you step into the dealership, you can avoid having the salesperson try to talk you into a model or trim level that you don’t want and possibly end up paying more for it.

5. Remember that you can walk out at any time

A salesman introduces a BMW car to a guest at the 41st Bangkok International Motor Show in Bangkok, Thailand
A salesman introduces a BMW car to a guest at the 41st Bangkok International Motor Show in Bangkok, Thailand, on July 16, 2020. | Zhang Keren/Xinhua via Getty

Lastly, just like the power that you have when walking into the dealership, you have that same power when walking out. What that means is if you’re not getting the car or the price that suits you best, feel free to thank the salesperson for their time and leave.

We can’t stress enough that you’re the one spending the money and you don’t have to if you don’t want to. A car is a product, just like any other product you would find at another store – like a department store. If you don’t want it, then leave. Just don’t be surprised if they call you repeatedly afterward.

Don’t let car dealers intimidate you

Buying a car from a car dealership can seem downright intimidating to some shoppers, but it doesn’t have to be. While you can’t necessarily control the way you’ll be treated at any car dealership, you can control some things – like the car that you want and what you can afford.

Don’t back down, the name of the game is to walk in with confidence and walk out with a new car that suits your needs and budget. If you can’t find it, then remember you can leave at any time.

RELATED: You Are Buying a Car at the Worst Time; Here’s What to Do