Buying a Car is All About A Successful Negotiation!

Sometimes it’s hard to know how to negotiate a sale. If we’re talking car sales and car sales people, you want to understand how to conduct the conversation; and perhaps a good place to start is knowing your facts around pricing and understanding body language and verbal triggers.

“How can you tell if a car salesman is lying? – If his mouth is moving!” goes the joke. And car sales personnel, to this day, are still tarred with the brush of suspicion and perceived dishonesty associated with, amongst others, TV characters such as Minder’s Arthur Daley and Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses. Remember those guys? In this car trading episode, the extras included the one-speed wiper and the “anti-glare” wing mirrors!

Cat Winking

Nudge, Nudge…. When is a lie not a lie? Hmm…

Lying is a strong word to throw around, never mind at a whole profession, and can elicit a strong reaction. It might be a case of just knowing the right way to go about negotiating a sale, and having the courage to do it. Stated prices are almost always considered a starting point – sales personnel quite possibly expect you to haggle a bit. Be brave and ask for that discount, an upgrade, additional extras, or even a more attractive finance deal.

Did you know that new car prices are set by the manufacturer?” asks Tim, an IT professional (and former car salesman) in Northwood, Harrow. “I didn’t, until I worked in the motor industry. And there will almost certainly be some room for manoeuvre in a showroom setting. Similarly, if selling a car, the first price offered will generally be an opener, and it is likely expected that you will refuse it!

Body language clues

There may be occasions when an individual is being, ahem, ‘creative with the truth’, and that’s where a basic knowledge of body language can help. When you’re in that showroom and you’re having that conversation, it’s handy to be aware of some giveaways to look out for. These might include:

  • A sudden head movement, such as a jerk, or more subtly, a tilt, before answering a question – in other words, the inability to look you square in the eye.
  • Heavier breathing. If you are not close enough to hear, watch for the rise and fall of the shoulders.
  • Standing stock still. Typically, those with no hidden agenda move subtly as they engage in conversation. Excessive fidgeting, or conversely no movement at all, especially in those who have previously appeared comfortable, may indicate a triggering of the flight or fight reaction, and could be a warning sign that something isn’t quite right.
  • Covering the mouth or throat in response to a question could be a form of subconscious protection, and may preempt less than honest communication.

What’s more,” says Kimberley, a body language expert (as well as author, speaker, trainer) in South Kesteven, Lincolnshire, “Feet can be key when uncovering dishonesty. No, really. OK, using up nervous energy by excessive shuffling may indicate a need for the bathroom (!), but it can also signify a desire for flight from an uncomfortable conversation. So, do look out for that.

Keep your ears pricked, too!

In addition to body language, speech can also give clues to integrity:

  • Hesitation may be a sign of someone still finding their feet, but it could also indicate a less than honest script.
  • Similarly, a cracking voice, or other problems with speech (such as excessive throat clearing), may indicate decreased saliva due to nervousness. Again, this can be normal, but in an otherwise confident individual it could indicate something to be aware of.
  • Repetitiveness is a technique sometimes used to buy time and create a more credible story, rather than the truth.
  • Too much information, especially information that wasn’t requested, might be the behaviour of someone spinning a yarn, or even trying to convince themselves of their own story

Bearing some of these indicators in mind may help with confidence when purchasing or selling a vehicle. Trusting your gut instinct is also key – if you feel something is off, you are probably right, walk away and find someone you feel more at ease with. There are many honest people in the world. And that’s the TRUTH!

Buying a car – straight talking from Albion Car Finance

Not only do we have have access to the most varied non standard lenders in the UK today to give you a better chance to get approved for the car you want, we also have some amazing cars to suit every budget. You can read here about how our car financing works. So, if you’d like to have a straightforward conversation about financing and buying your next car with us, just pick up the phone and call on 01923 826 137 or email