Learn the secrets of car dealerships

Learn the way of the car salesperson

The world of auto sales is like another planet: so many secrets and plans and methods. Purchasing a vehicle involves patience, stamina, and a bit of self-education.

Thankfully, we can help with the last one.

Over at the Consumerist, you can learn about the “four squares” method of making deals at a car lot, which involves directing your attention away from things like the actual price of the vehicle you’re buying or financing. As with most Consumerist posts, a lot can be learned from the comments section, so be sure to check out the readers’ stories at the end of the article.

One of the posters pointed to Car Buying Tips, an encyclopedia of car dealer trade secrets and tactics. For some good fun, check out the mail the site gets from angry dealers.

The most important lessons I caught were (a) get pre-approved at a credit union to know how much you can/should spend, (b) haggle over the purchase price before anything else (trade-in, monthly payment, options) is talked about, and (c) do your research. A well-informed buyer is the most powerful person on a car lot.

Dave, a reader over at the Get Rich Slowly blog, offers some advice from working at a dealership, too. Here’s a realistic one:

Do not try to bluff or BS anyone in the dealership — they are a lot better at it than you are, and they do it far more often.

Our Member Relations department is happy to answer any questions you have about this stuff. Working with dealers as much as we do, we’ve learned a thing or two. We even have a guy, Dale, in the department that used to sell cars. He has some fun stories to tell.

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