The Car Salesman's Game

A candid conversation with former car salesman Michael Royce.

Why are some car salesmen so difficult to deal with?

MICHAEL: It's because of the game they're required to play. When you walk into a dealership to shop for a car or truck, you want help and information. But the car salesman's game is not entirely about giving you help and information. It's also about getting you to drive home in a car or truck today. So because he's dedicated to playing that game, the car salesman can sometimes seem difficult to deal with.

Why do car salesmen put so much pressure on the customers to buy today?

MICHAEL: They figure that if they can get you to buy today, before you're really ready, then that means you're buying because you're hooked emotionally, that you're not thinking logically. The plain fact is that emotional buyers are less effective at negotiating and therefore end up paying more for their cars or trucks than analytical buyers. Obviously, that's what the car salesman wants.

How can buyers defend themselves against the car salesman's game?

MICHAEL: Knowledge is key. The more you know, the better consumer you become. And the first thing to learn - before you ever go to the dealership - is how the car salesman's game is played. That's what Step One of my online Car Buyer's School reveals. Once you understand what the car salesman is really up to, you're on your way to getting the good car-buying deal that you want.

Next, it's important to set specific buying goals for yourself and to have a specific step-by-step game plan for achieving those goals. That's what Steps Two through Five provide. Remember, the car salesman's game plan works because most car buyers don't have an effective game plan of their own.

How do car salesmen learn their game?

MICHAEL: There are lots of ways, depending on the dealership. Some salesmen go to "car salesman's school" for days of intensive classes. (That's what I did.) Others watch videos and read books. Some dealerships have weekly sales meetings with role-playing sessions. And much of the learning comes from simple trial-and-error. Car salesmen get to practice their game every day, all day long. That's why they're so very good at it.

Car salesmen have a reputation as being dishonest. Is lying a part of their game?

MICHAEL: No, it's not part of their game. However, they are often guilty of the "lie of omission" - that is, withholding certain facts in order to make a sale. However if a car salesman does out-and-out lie to make sale, it's probably not because he was taught to do so but, rather, because of the incredible pressures of the game. Remember, car salesmen work entirely on commission. If they don't sell a car, they don't eat or pay their rent.

Aren't there any honest car salesmen?

MICHAEL: Yes, of course, just as there are honest politicians. But the problem is that there are so many unscrupulous car salesmen and the nature of their game is so tricky, that it's best to be on your guard. It's sometimes the ones who seem the most honest who are actually the trickiest.

Do I have to confront the car salesman in order to beat him at his own game?

MICHAEL: No you don't - and you shouldn't. Confronting the car salesman will only get you into trouble. Remember, the game is played on their turf with their rules. So the best way to buy your new car is by understanding the car salesman's game and then playing along with it. And it's easy once you know how. It's all in my free online Car Buyer's School.

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