A barista selling lattes at your local Starbucks would never attempt to negotiate on price. However, while bargaining isn’t part of the standard process for coffee or many other everyday goods and services, it’s quite common when selling a used car.
Unless you’re a natural-born master of the deal, negotiation can be daunting. Just the thought of having to haggle on price causes many to get tense and anxious.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take when selling your car to simplify the process and create a less stressful experience for yourself.
Below are five tips to help you finesse a smooth and profitable transaction.
1. Determine a Fair Market Value
A successful sale starts with understanding the value of the product you’re selling.
Is your car in excellent, good or poor condition? Getting an accurate estimate will require you to take an honest look at the state of your vehicle, and that’s where tools like CARFAX History-based Value can help.
Getting a handle on your car’s value will prevent you from accepting an offer that’s too low. It also can help you avoid setting a price that’s too high. Best of all, doing this kind of research will allow you to enter into the negotiation process with the confidence that comes from knowing you’ve set a reasonable price for your vehicle.
2. Be Firm, Yet Flexible, on Price
Once you’ve decided on a price, stick to your guns. Don’t be afraid to say no, even if it means having a potential buyer walk out the door. If he or she is unwilling to meet your price, there’s a good chance there’s someone else who will.
At the same time, it’s important to enter into the process with some flexibility. For example, if you’ve set a price of $4,000 and a buyer offers you $3,900, it’s probably worth it to accept the offer. Sure, you might be able to get the full $4,000 if you fielded offers from other prospective buyers, but remember that time is money. If you can save yourself the time and effort associated with an extended sales process, it might be worth it to take the offer that allows you to resolve things quickly.
3. Present Supporting Documents
There are certain documents that will help support your case when making a used-car sale. A clean CARFAX Vehicle History Report can be used to help justify your asking price. And service records can help show the car has received the kind of regular maintenance and repair that can make it more attractive to potential buyers.
4. Don’t Be Manipulated by an Inflated Emotional Response
One trick that experienced negotiators employ is exaggerating an emotional response to make you feel guilty. For example, if you state a certain price, one of these negotiators might react with anger and try to make you feel as if the price you’ve given is somehow offensive.
When faced with this kind of behavior, remind yourself that you’ve done your homework and taken the steps necessary to arrive at a fair valuation for your car. This will help you resist being manipulated in this way.
5. Leave Your Empathy at the Door
Empathy is a wonderful trait to have, and it will serve you well in most areas of life. However, it can seriously hinder your ability to close a successful deal.
Skilled negotiators will prey on your kind nature to get an outcome that best suits their needs, and they may use a hard-luck story or two to get you to feel sorry for them. It’s a similar approach to the one taken by professional panhandlers who spin fiction to elicit sympathy.
When selling your used car, it’s best to take a somewhat suspicious approach to all information presented. It’s quite likely that the person on the other end of the negotiation is using every trick in the book to try and steer the sale.
Let’s Make a Deal
Confidence is integral to a successful negotiation.
Using the tips discussed above will give you the insight you need to navigate the process with calm assuredness.