Six top negotiating tips to help you win when buying a second hand car.

by Derek Arden- – Usedcarexpert – Chief Negotiating Advisor


Build rapport but do not make a friend. Blunt or aggressive negotiation will not work. Rarely does a car seller need your purchase so badly that they will tolerate rudeness. Chat to them and be warm whilst looking at the car. But do not get too friendly or feel sorry for the seller because you want to get a good deal.

Ask for a discount without being embarrassed. Tell the sales person:”I would love to buy this car, but my wife/husband will go nuts if I pay this price. What can you do to help me?”

It does not necessarily matter if your partner does not mind what you pay – or even that you do not have a partner. This is called “using higher authority”. It means that you can remain on good terms with the seller, but still push for a better deal. It makes the seller more inclined to move on price. Never accept the first offer. It makes the salesman think he has offered too much but still has more discounts to give. Whatever they offer say,”that helps, but I’m still not sure I could face my partner.” Or “Surely you can do better than that?” Use the power of silence. If the salesman makes you an offer, or you have asked him to improve his offer, resist the temptation to speak. Just wait, for several minutes if necessary. The silence will be painful for you, but more painful for the salesman .Eventually he will crack and start to offer you “sweeteners” to close the deal.

Know your prices. When dealing with garages, make sure you know what’s on offer at other garages in the area. Many will match the offers of their competitors, so you just have to ask, ”Will you match your competitors prices?”

Avoid splitting the difference (or meeting in the middle). If you offer to split the difference the sales person will split it again, which means you have moved 75% of the way towards their price and they have moved 25% towards you.If the sales person offers to split the difference, say “I can’t do that, but I’ll meet you half way between my offer and the offer you just made.” This means they move 75% and you give just 25% up!

Ask garages for added value. If you have exhausted the potential discount options, ask the garage for bonus items. For example say, ”the stereo’s not very good and all the mats need replacing.”