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January 14, 2016

5 Ways to Improve Your Negotiating Skills

When it comes to buying a used car either with a private party seller or at a dealership, the more comfortable you feel negotiating, the better.

So we’ve put together a short primer to help you improve your negotiating skills. You can use these tips when you negotiate a new or used car, but you can use them also to negotiate just about anything. Good luck!

negotiate used car price

  1. Come prepared.

Know your budget. Research or the Kelley Blue Book ( and learn what the value of the car should be, taking into consideration its make, model, mileage, and amenities.


  1. Know what you’re willing to give up and what is non-negotiable.

If you really must have a Honda Civic for under $10,000, don’t allow yourself to be persuaded to buy a Chevy Cobalt for $9,500. But if what you really want is a car that’s under $10K and you can’t find any Civics in decent shape for that amount, are you willing to look at other makes and models?


  1. Maintain good eye contact.

Not looking at your negotiation partner directly in the eyes can make you seem shifty and un-trustworthy. You don’t need to stare constantly at the salesperson or sales manager (that can make you seem too aggressive), but be pretty consistent. It’s perfectly acceptable to look away when considering an offer or processing information.

Conversely, if the salesperson refuses to look you in the eye, or if he tries to stare you down, either ask for a different salesperson or walk away.


  1. Don’t stand too close or too far from the other person.

Four feet of space between you and the salesperson usually is the right amount of space between you for both of you to feel comfortable. Standing any closer can feel very intimidating. Again, if you feel the salesperson is standing too close, ask him or her to step back. If the person continues to move into your space, ask for another salesperson or walk away.


  1. Remember that silence is extremely powerful.

State your final offer and then be quiet. Do not “rescue” the person if the silence becomes awkward by speaking first. There’s an old saying in sales: “when it comes to stated offers, he who speaks first loses.”  State your price and then say no more.

If you notice that the salesperson has stated a firm price and then shuts up, don’t play into this tactic; stay quiet yourself.  You could counter his offer and then be quiet, too. Regardless, if it becomes very uncomfortable, simply walk away. You may be amazed at how silence can work in your favor.

When you’re in the market for an affordable used car in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth regions, visit a PAACO dealership near you. We look forward to being of service.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs/

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