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I went used car shopping two weeks ago. I was genuinely looking for a car, but the social scientist inside of me was equally curious to observe the sales tactics. I understood many of their tactics to try to get me to sell myself the car. But I didn't get one thing: handing me off to several different people when it was obvious I wasn't totally sold on the car I liked best. I'd find myself talking to a new person about the price I'd be willing to pay. Or I'd have the floor manager show me around. And before leaving, the sales manager wanted to introduce me to some random guy I'd never talked to before. Why I would want to meet that guy, I have no idea.



Your first mistake is going to the car dealer without an offer in writing. The trick is to email several dealerships and pit them against each other, so you're only walking in the door when you have the best price available in writing.


He was looking at used cars, not new. It's a different game. For new cars, I agree with you.


Even that is no guarantee, dealers regularly reneg on the online price, the classic bait and switch.


If they do that, the only thing to say is "good bye, and the 'good' ia there for politeness' sake only". Never ever talk to them again and if you have time, write most nasty review on them on any site that takes reviews (of course, tell the truth, but don't be shy about it). This would be good both for you and for the environment - sleazeballs should not be rewarded.

Fortunately, my experience shows there are honest dealers that do not renege on their promises and respect both themselves and their customer. Even in this business, notorious for some bad apples, there are also decent ones.


That's one from the Art of War - win the war before going in to battle?


Something to do with social proof? All these people who suddenly want to be your "friend" affecting your subconscious willingness to do a deal with them?

Evangelical churches often do the love-bombing thing too.


If somebody who I don't know would suddenly eagerly want be my friend, first thing I'd do is to check if my wallet is still where it should be. Next thing I'd consider how rude I'd have to be to get rid of this wacko. I think "I want to sell you a car for the best price that you can pay while also making a little profit" would work much better on me.


I kind of do that in reverse.

"£10k is a really good deal but I need to OK it with my wife."

comes back 2 minutes later

"She says we can't afford any more than £9k."




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