Planning to sell your car? Want to know how to negotiate the best deal? Be prepared to toughen up and get serious. Selling your car is going to be one of the biggest financial transactions you’ll ever make, and each decision dictates how much money you get out of it. Car buyers can be quite the demanding bunch—they’ll nitpick, they’ll want rock-bottom prices, and they’ll squeeze everything they can out of you. So what’s a seller to do? These tips on negotiating a car deal can put you in the driver’s seat of car price negotiation strategies and help you maximize the amount you get for your car.

Be ethical

Your first goal is to earn the buyer’s trust, and the best way to do so is by being honest and straightforward. Otherwise, you stand to lose the buyer’s respect, which can put you in a compromising position as the deal progresses. Speaking of being straightforward, be confident, but don’t be overconfident. You could be convincing yourself that you’re a much better negotiator than you actually are, and this can make you lose out on an extremely lucrative car sale.

Live by ‘The Golden Rule’

Treat others the way you want to be treated. This philosophy applies to everything you do in life, including car selling. Being negative only encourages the other party to respond in the same manner. When you make ‘The Golden Rule’ your guiding principle in car selling, you’ll find that buyers are going to be more receptive towards coming to a mutually beneficial agreement.

Don’t sell yourself short

If you believe in your price, then stand by it. Savvy buyers will sense if you’re not sure about your price, and exploit it to their advantage. Value is the operative word here. If your declared value matches the car’s perceived value in the market, then buyers will be more willing to meet your price.

Don’t give out too much information

If your reason for selling your car is urgent, such as the need to move across the country, meet a deadline, or make a payment with the money you get from the sale, don’t let the buyer know about it, as this can give them leverage over you. By keeping some information to yourself, you’ll be able to control negotiations. A little silence shows a level of respect to the buyer, and can even be useful in times when they are demanding ridiculous terms and offers. It can convince them to retract on their unfair choices on their own.

Qualify your potential buyers

You don’t want to waste your time negotiating a car price, so if you think a buyer may be out of your price range, don’t hesitate to ask what their budget is. You want to let them early on that you are not in the same price range, so you can quickly move on to buyers who are.

Be willing to turn an offer down

Filipinos are known to be a kind-hearted bunch who tend to avoid confrontations and saying what we actually feel. Though this attitude often works in nurturing relationships, it can be detrimental to used car price negotiations, making you more prone to accepting lowball offers and not haggle the car price at all. If a buyer refuses to meet your price, you must be prepared to say ‘no thanks.’ Be firm about it, or the buyer will perceive your uncertainty and manipulate you into saying yes.

Turning down an offer

Be careful how you say no

Just as it’s important to know when to say no, it’s equally important to watch how you say it, especially if you’ve been dealt a good first offer. A good early offer must be seriously taken into consideration, because you may never see that price again. If you truly can’t accept the price, give the buyer a good reason so that he’ll be more inclined to reconsider.

Justify your price

Once you have stated your price, you must provide buyers with a reasonable justification that makes sense and that they’ll accept. Here’s how you can justify your price:

  • Know the going rate for your vehicle make, model, and year. If your buyers did their homework, they will know that you’re being truthful with your given number.
  • Focus on the value of the car. Explain its features and benefits. Buyers are more willing to pay for better value.

Let the car speak for itself

If you’re selling a good quality car, then it will practically sell itself. Sure, detailing and a few minor repairs here and there can enhance the appeal, but once a buyer performs his ocular inspection, no amount of sales talk can convince him to consider it any more than he already has. Instead of sales-talking, keep silent during the walkthrough and only speak up when he asks a question. Even better, give the buyer some room to operate while inspecting, and don’t wander too close into his personal space.

Try to initiate a bidding war

If multiple buyers want your car enough, they may provide you with a series of bids, potentially earning you a number that’s higher than your asking price. Although initiating a bidding war is quite difficult, most sellers find success by refusing to entertain offers until a certain date. If you get multiple offers, you can go back to the top bidders and ask for their best offers. This will make eager buyers believe that there’s someone else out there who’s offering more than them, and they may soon begin working up the price.

Don’t be afraid of lengthy negotiations

A car negotiation that ends abruptly can make you feel that you didn’t get a good deal as you could have. When a buyer offers little resistance, it’s possible that you’re getting the short end of the stick. Although arriving at a mutual agreement in the quickest possible time is ideal, it can leave you feeling like you didn’t work hard enough, so don’t think of a little back-and-forth with offers and counteroffers as a bad thing. It might just earn you the best deal possible.