Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

Secret Tricks of Car Salesmen

Got a question for Car Talk's car sales informant, "Deep Plaid?" (Also known as "Frank," since, well, that's his real name.) Post it here, and Deep Plaid will get back to you.

Also, if you've heard of other tricks of the trade, or you've personally experienced coy tactics on the part of your local car salesman, share it right here. We'd like to hear your story.

Yours in careful maneuvering when confronted with plaid, toupees and sans-a-belt slacks,

Tom and Ray


  • edited April 2008
    "...when confronted with plaid, toupees and sans-a-belt slacks"

    Isn't that how youse guys dress? ;-)
  • edited April 2008
    How Tom and Ray dress is usually beside the point, way, way beside the point. Dunkin has no dress code. Maybe they do. No shoes, no shirt, no service. That's three things they warn us about. Car sales people are told that a buyer is a liar and you can therefore subject him to constant telephone harassment. It impresses them a lot when you forget that they have bad credit and can't get a loan anyway. With apologies to the person I woke up way too many times. You can do a lot of damage in just six short weeks. I made some money but no friends. The key with salesmen seems to be "fill them with crap but don't really train them; it's best if they don't know too much."
  • edited April 2008
    Heck No,I never ever dressed like that. Dress shirts, Dockers slacks, & always very comfortable footwear.
    Texas summers would "fry" you down here.
    I was on my feet a lot. Comfortable shoes were always a top
    priority of my "sales attire" & wardrobe.
  • edited April 2008
    That's why I wanted & tried very hard to obtain all the referels I could get.
    You have a "head start" on their histroy.
    it's much harder for them to lie to you. You know their family and their freinds
    and they are not there to waste your time! they are there to buy!
    When your new, to survive, you become a "Lot Lizard" and try and take all the "ups" then
    you subject yourself to those tire kicking idiots with 532 bureau scores.
  • edited April 2008
    The two most recent ones I have seen are the "We need a deposit before we can even give you a price" and if you don't have the car they want, tell them you will get it, call them up in a week and tell them they have it, then when they show up give them the keys to their new car which of course is one you had on the lot last time and is very little like what they really wanted, but maybe they will not notice before they drive off the lot. Then of course they always treat women as idiots and if a man is with him, always talk to the man as if he is some sort of interpreter.
  • edited April 2008
    Yeh, stuff like that has always gone on. Mostly in bigger cities, at larger new car stores.By sales people who are just passing thru, & don't intend to make a career of car selling.
    All of the new car dealers that I worked for were very honorable men. They didn't let us "hook & crook" and if anyone did, we got our butt "chewed out" or fired if we got caught screwing around with a customer like that. That's the frigging crap that gives this business a bad name.
    Sure it's a good idea to get a deposit. It's known as glue! From day one in this business your taught to get the customer to committ! The deposit is a committment. No dealer that I ever worked for in 20+ years ever kept a deposit if the customer backed out! Each state's court system has different laws that address that stuff. Another reason is that it keeps another salesman from selling that car out from under you too. Infact, I believe the deposit concept is in place mostly so sales managers wouldn't have to referee a dispute when two sales people had the same car sold. The "un-written" rule is: first one with a signed "write up" sheet and a deposit, gets the deal! no arguments. But, thats just my opinion.
    The average customer wouldn't believe how many fights and arguments take place on the lot
    or behind closed doors everyday between sales people and their sales managers.
  • edited April 2008
    Deep Plaid:

    thanks for sharing from 'the other side'

    i am sure we all want to know how to get the best deal possible on buying a car.

    of course everyone has to make a living. so how do we (as buyers) tell how/when we are getting the best price? so many times we hear "rock bottom', 'dealer invoice', and 'bottom line'. how do we tell when 'you' are there, at the real bottom line?

  • edited April 2008
    All very true. There as some honest and honorable dealers. And yes all but the real jerks will return the deposit, but I have never given any one a deposit, until I have picked a specific car (in my case that has usually meant that they are ordering it.)
  • edited April 2008
    My pet peeve is being manipulated. After appearing to be close to a decision on a particular car, a typical scenario is being asked for your drivers license, "to enable us to get a jump start on confirming your loan eligibility" while we complete the deal, then letting you stew alone in the pen (salesman's office) for an indeterminable length of time, ostensibly to soften you up. Repeated requests for what is taking so long are typically answered with, "the manager is reviewing the deal". I have already reached to point of threatening physical action if my DR was not immediately returned so that I could WALK. Which I did on two occasions.

    I now never allow myself to be lured into such situations. I set the tone for how the transaction will be conducted, and control what takes place. My attitude is it?s my requirement and my money. If a salesman wants to sell me a car, it will be on my terms. Of course, the more time you have on your side, the easier this becomes. Salesmen thrive on the emergency buyers??.?my engine just blew up and I need a new car by Monday?
  • edited April 2008
    Dancing around what the costs are and the added dealer costs. Thier liking confrontation and simply winning the sales game with them knowing most sheep do not.
This discussion has been closed.