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Buying a Car: How Can You Avoid Pushy Salespeople?

For many car shoppers, the worst part of buying a car is pushy salespeople. While many salespeople are respectful and do their best not to come off as overly aggressive, some are exactly the opposite — a huge turnoff for many car buyers. So if you really hate aggressive car salespeople, how can you avoid them? Here are a few suggestions.

Do Your Research

One easy way to avoid pushy salespeople: Do as much research as you can online before heading out to the dealerships.

In the past, this wasn’t always possible, as you could only find out so much information from printed automotive guides and advertisements in the newspaper. But these days, sites such as Autotrader make it easy, offering car reviews, classified listings with dozens of photos and a wide range of helpful information, including the latest manufacturer incentives, comparison tests, explanations of features and more. For pricing help, you can visit Kelley Blue Book, while manufacturer websites let you configure vehicles to see what options, colors and features they come with.

As a result, today’s car shopper can be armed with a lot of knowledge before heading to the dealership. That means you can eliminate some car choices before ever leaving the house, so you won’t have to deal with as many dealers — or as many pushy salespeople — as you would’ve in years past.

Browse the Lot on Sundays

In many states, car dealerships are closed by law on Sundays. To us, this sounds like a great time to browse the lot without any pressure or aggressive tactics from salespeople. While you won’t be able to take a test drive or negotiate a price, you can at least check out cars in person and decide whether or not you like the styling, size and color choices of the vehicles you’re considering. This is a great way to narrow down your list of car choices without talking to any pushy salespeople.

Seek Help

If you’re worried about pushy salespeople, you might consider asking a friend for help. Did one of your friends have an excellent car-buying experience? If so, ask for a referral, and find out if the salesperson who helped your friend can help you, too. Better yet, if you have a friend who sells cars, he or she can likely offer you help without the usual pushy sales tactics.

If you can’t get a referral to a good salesperson — and if you don’t have any friends or family in the business — consider bringing along one of your bolder, more outgoing friends for the test drive. He or she can deflect some of the salesperson’s pushy questions, giving you more time to get acclimated to the car. And if the time comes to say no to the deal, he or she may be able to help you do so.

Know Your Terms

Sometimes, pushy salespeople are unavoidable when you’re buying a car — so the best defense is a good offense. If you go into the dealership with a thorough knowledge of your particulars — your credit, your budget, what you want from a vehicle and maybe even a pre-approval from your bank — you’re unlikely to get pressured into anything. Just be ready to say no, and don’t stray from your terms, regardless of how pushy the sales staff gets.  In the end, the dealership wants to help you find the right car and make the sale no matter what.  While the term “no matter what” usually has a negative connotation, it might also mean finding you another salesperson.  Don’t be afraid to ask for another salesperson or visit another dealership if you don’t feel comfortable while shopping.

Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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