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Car Salesman Tactics They Hope You Don't Know

The process of buying a new vehicle has a lot of steps to it. Unless you are buying from a friend or family member, you have to be prepared to haggle with a salesperson over the price and terms of the purchase. You will also have to negotiate with lenders and banks over your car loan or lease. Additionally, if you are using a trade-in towards the purchase of your vehicle, you will have to try and negotiate a good deal on that as well. Because there are so many moving parts to the car buying process, mistakes along the way can end up costing you. Because of this, preparation is paramount.

A salesman is trained in how to separate car buyers from their money. It doesn't matter if they are selling new cars or trying to sell used car options to buyers, the tactics are generally the same. They practice their car-selling tactics on a daily basis and some get quite good at it. Below are some of the top sales tactics car salespeople use to get customers to finalize a purchase.

Letting The Clock Time Out

One of the more popular tactics that salesmen use to try and sell a car to a customer is by playing out the clock. They will try to draw out the process until you get hungry or tired. This is when you are vulnerable to making a purchase that you were otherwise on the fence about. To combat this approach, tell the salesman that you are only coming to the dealership for a test drive and will be back another day for the price discussion. If they try to get you to stay while they negotiate with their manager, tell them to go at it and email or text you the results they achieve.

Psychological Profiling

Another tactic that a car salesman might use is psychological profiling. They may try to get to know you and use what they find out against you. If they try to find out how much you are looking to spend each month, do not tell them. This is the easiest way to become vulnerable and the process will become skewed. Your car-buying strategy should include three stages, each of which needs to be done completely separate from one another.

  • Choose what vehicle you want to buy.
  • Select the extras you want on that vehicle.
  • Negotiate the selling price.


Salesmen may also try to put pressure of an impending event onto their customers. They might try to persuade you to buy right away because of a "sale" ending soon or another customer wanting to buy the same vehicle you are interested in. Do not fall for these tactics. Tell them you are not going to be pressured into such an important purchase and will leave and head straight to another dealership.

"Porcupine Close"

This tactic is called the porcupine close because the salesman will try to "stick" you will a question during the process. An example would be them asking you what it would take to get you to purchase the car you are interested in today. The best way to get out of this type of sales tactic is to tell them you need to do more of your own research before making any decisions.

"Ben Franklin" Close

This is a classic sales tactic that salesmen have been using to sell cars for years. To begin, the salesman will take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Next, they will ask you to list the reasons you have for buying the car on one side and all the reasons to not buy the car on the other. In the world of sales, the side with all of the good reasons are the ones which get focused on. In a roundabout way, the salesman will be manipulative and help you with the good side. They will not help you with the list of reasons not to buy the car.

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