What Happens When a Salesperson ‘Talks to the Manager?’

If you have ever purchased a car from a dealership, then you’re likely familiar with the song and dance that the salesperson puts on when going over the final price of the car. Of course, this song and dance wouldn’t be such a charade if all of the numbers were agreeable from the beginning, however, just about every customer wants a discount. And what happens when you want a discount? The salesperson has to talk to the manager. But what exactly happens when they go and talk to the manager?

The mysterious manager behind the curtain controls the pricing

Believe it or not, when the salesperson gets up to go to the manager’s office, they’re not just going to the break room to get coffee and chat with co-workers while you sit and wonder what’s going on. They are actually going to talk to the manager.

The main reason being that the sales manager controls all the pricing of the cars in order to ensure that the dealership is making a profit. After all, a car dealership doesn’t stay open from all the wishes and dreams of the customers, it remains open because of the customer’s money. Just like any other business.

The reason that the sales managers have control over the prices and profit margins is that it’s what they are mainly hired to do; run the business side of the deals. The salesperson, on the other hand, is mainly there to demonstrate the product, answer your questions, and complete the deal. However, since they don’t typically have control over the pricing, they need to consult with the manager in order to get a price that both parties can agree on.

Salesperson showing vehicle to potential customer in dealership
Salesperson showing the vehicle to a potential customer in dealership | Shutterstock

“What is your best price?”

If you make an offer and the salesperson has to consult with the manager about it, don’t be surprised if they come back with a price higher than what you expected. Again, a car dealership needs to make money to survive. Of course, any customer’s natural reaction is to ask the age-old question, “Well then, what’s your best price?” Which is typically followed up with them watching the salesperson take another long trip back to the manager’s office.

According to Edmunds, the reason the salesperson never gives you the best price upfront is that if they did, you’ll likely either go and shop that number at a competing dealer or you’ll end up just asking for more of a discount. Hence the song and dance with the manager’s office.

In this scenario, just be patient and know that the reason it usually takes so long for the salesperson to come back is that the sales manager is usually working more than just one deal at a time and is also trying to figure out the best price for your deal. With enough patience, you’ll most likely get to the price that you want or at least fairly close to it.

Buying New Vehicle
(Photo by Jim R. Bounds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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Skip the negotiations and choose an alternative to the dealer

If you don’t want to deal with the art of negotiating or just don’t want to deal with the “ask the manager” waltz, then one workaround is to either deal with the Internet salesperson at the dealership or to use Carmax or Carvana. We can’t stress enough that the Internet salesperson at any dealer will have a better price than the people on the sales floor, so it’s easier to just deal with them from the get-go.

Also, non-traditional dealers like Carmax or Carvana have a “no-haggle” policy, so there’s no need to deal with negotiating or waiting for a sales manager to decide on what to sell the car for. Unless, of course, you like negotiating and waiting at the dealership, then, by all means, let the salesperson go “talk to the manager.”