How to Negotiate the Best Deal at Truck Sales

February 17, 2012

Research is necessary, but not sufficient for getting a good price at truck sales. Negotiation skills are crucial. Learn the best negotiation tips.

Negotiating Over the Phone

Negotiating the deals at truck sales takes some research, but completing the necessary legwork can get you a good bargain. While many dealerships offer used car sales on a regular basis, most of the special sales advertised in newspapers or online are not truly sales, but marketing initiatives meant to drive traffic to the dealership. In some cases, dealerships even hire sales professionals from outside the company to facilitate making as much profit as possible during these special sales. It is important to avoid being taken by the perceived values offered by this type of sale, so follow this guide to get the best deal.

Complete Research Online
The single most important step to getting the best deal at a sale is to complete research before visiting the dealership. If you do test drive a vehicle or speak to a salesperson before completing research online, do not make your purchase on your first visit to the dealership. Car dealerships prey on walk-in traffic, hoping that they fall in love with the vehicle at any price. Also, having the prospect at the dealership means the buyer may have difficulty completing the research necessary to get the best deal. Research pricing on the new or used truck of your choice right here at CarsDirect. This service can also put you in contact with new and used car dealerships with a variety of vehicles in stock.

If you are shopping for a new truck, be sure to research the invoice price; this is the dealership's cost for a vehicle before they receive any additional monies back from the manufacturer. If shopping for a used truck, research the wholesale or trade-in value of the vehicle by using a service like Kelley Blue Book. The wholesale price is what the dealer hopes to pay for vehicles at an auction.

Budget Accordingly
Avoid becoming a "payment buyer" in the dealership's eyes. A payment buyer is a prospect who will purchase a vehicle for a certain monthly payment. Although you should budget for a particular monthly payment, it is important to calculate the bottom line amount that the payment will allow. For example, if you can budget $500 per month for a vehicle, you can afford $30,000 over 60 months or $36,000 over 72 months. Remember that these figures includes taxes, fees and interest.

Request Quotes or Visit the Dealership
After you have determined the truck that works best for you and the price you want to pay, go about getting price quotes. Quotes may be obtained via the Internet by using a service like CarsDirect, or you can contact the dealership by phone, email or in person at the showroom. Whichever method you choose, make it known that you are requesting multiple quotes on your vehicles of choice, and that you will go with the lowest quote. Make sure the dealership knows you are prepared to purchase today if you get a price that is near your target price. Don't let the dealership know your target price upfront. They might inadvertently come in under that number, but they won't if they know what you're willing to pay. Use it as a counteroffer while you negotiate.

Choose the Best Quote
After you compare quotes and ultimately find one that is at or near your target price, it is time to finalize the transaction. Make sure that the terms of the deal match what you were offered via the Internet, on the phone or in person. If anything does not match, it could be an honest mistake, or the dealership could be using bait-and-switch tactics. If the dealership will fix the mistake, all is well, but if they do not honor their offered price, you should find another dealer.

Common Truck Sale Scams

If you think that an offer is too good to be true, it is possible that there is a scam taking place. The scams used by truck sellers vary from bait-and-switch sales tactics to hiding mechanical damage on a vehicle. Below are some common truck sale scams to watch out for.

Engine Problems
Many used trucks are first placed on the market because of engine problems that require repair. It is important to have a used vehicle inspected by a reputable mechanic before you finalize your sale. While engine problems are not an absolute deal breaker, repairs that are completed poorly can cause problems with a truck for the rest of its useful life.

Transmission Problems
With truck transmissions taking lots of abuse pulling heavy equipment, transmission problems also cause a lot of used trucks to be placed on the market. When test driving a truck, check to make sure that the transmission kicks down correctly when accelerating and that all shifts are smooth. Ask the seller if any transmission repairs were completed. If available, or if you are purchasing from a private seller, ask to see the repair history for the truck.

Bait-and-Switch Tactics
While many car dealers have come to respect the research that buyers complete online, others still use bait-and-switch tactics on a regular basis. If a deal sounds too good to be true, or the dealership is pushing for an appointment without providing any pricing information, you should be prepare for the bait-and-switch. Make sure the vehicle you see at the lot is the same one you found advertised.

Branded Title Histories
Often, trucks are advertised without any mention of their title history. If possible, get the VIN number and complete a vehicle history report before test driving the vehicle. This will allow you to see if there are any accidents on record and if the vehicle has been issued a branded salvage or junk title. While a salvage or junk vehicle can seem like a great deal, they are worth much less than trucks with clean titles. You may also have a hard time financing or getting full coverage insurance on a salvage vehicle. If a vehicle has a salvage title history, it is best to continue your search for another vehicle.

There are other common scams you may encounter while shopping for a truck. Remember, if a price seems too good to be true or the information provided by the seller does not match the vehicle history report, it may be best to leave the dealership and continue your search.

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