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Be firm but friendly

  • Salesmen tell us their secrets
  • We've top tips, too
  • Tricks of the trade revealed
Words By What Car? Staff

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Be firm but friendly
There's a difference between knowing your own mind and being arrogant, John reckons. 'You're not going to get far with a bad attitude. If you're too bullish, the salesman will be awkward back. You've got to be confident, but there's a balance to be struck.'

Former salesman Steve Jones puts it like this: 'One of the first things you learn as a salesman is that, before people buy something, they need to "buy" the person who's selling it. I think that cuts both ways. Sales staff will be more inclined to look after you if you treat them well and listen to what they have to say.'

1) I can only do that deal today
This is a favourite tactic to get a dithering buyer to commit, but it's rarely true. 'If someone says this to you, it's because they want you to make your mind up,' says John Owen. The rare exceptions come at the end of the month or quarter. 'This is when deals tend to be stronger as dealers need to hit targets,' says Kurtis Williams.
2) I'll have to speak to my boss
They learn this on day one at salesman school. 'It's a great way of stalling negotiations,' says one ex-salesman. 'The customer feels that the salesman is sticking their neck out to get them a great deal, when really there's still a lot of profit margin left.' You can bypass this tactic by asking to speak directly to the boss.
3) Hmm, there's not much call for those any more...
Don't let a rock-bottom part-exchange valuation spoil a good deal. 'I strongly advise selling your part-exchange car privately,' says Kurtis Williams. 'Not only will you get more money, it keeps the deal easier to manage and more attractive for the dealer.'