Accelerate Your Car Buying Journey: Insider Tips from Car Sales Experts Revealed

Are you buying your first or next car, and unsure on how to navigate the world of the dealership? 

We've got insider tips and tricks from current and former car sales associates from industry giants including BMW, Ford, Lexus, Volvo and Jeep - as well as classic car specialists, Rimmer Bros, so you can strut into the showroom with confidence.

1. Time it right by purchasing your car at the end of the month

Wondering what time of year is best to purchase your car? Forget about waiting for the stars to align, wait for the end of the month instead! Daryl reveals the insider scoop - “strike at the end of the month when sales associates scramble to meet their quotas and may be more inclined to drop their price to get their sales over the line.”

Alongside this, it’s always wise to keep an eye out for end-of-year clearance sales or manufacturer promotions, which often coincide with new model releases.

Bank holiday weekends and promotional events can be prime times to buy a car. Dealerships often run sales events during holidays like Easter, Christmas, and New Year, offering special deals and incentives to attract buyers. These promotions may include discounts or cash rebates to entice customers.

2. Trading in your car? If it's damaged, don’t clean it 

“Dirty cars hide a multitude of sins” says Daryl, an ex-car salesman for the likes of Ford, Lexus, Toyota, Renault and Mazda. When it comes to selling your car, a little dirt might just be your best friend, Daryl emphasises “If it has damage, don’t clean it! We can’t see imperfections if they're covered in dust and dirt.”

Karen, a former BMW saleswoman also agree’s, “If you have minor scratches on your vehicle, then leave the car dirty to make any imperfections less visible.”  

In contrast, if your car is in pristine condition without any damage Daryl advises that you “make sure to give it the best clean possible, both inside and out, to show off the great condition of the car”. 

3. Do your research - you might know more than the salesperson!

Before setting foot in a dealership, take the time to do the research on the specifications of the car you're interested in. This step can be key to minimising the risk of post-purchase regrets and ensuring you make an informed decision. Armed with knowledge, you'll be better equipped to negotiate a fair deal and avoid falling prey to impulse purchases or sales pressure.

According to Daryl, "when you're in the market for a new car, it's essential to familiarise yourself with the specifications of the vehicle you're eyeing. And if you do enough research, you may find yourself knowing more than the salesperson!"

He also advises, "don't hesitate to showcase your knowledge during negotiations either. Doing so not only helps you steer clear of any shady deals but might even catch the associate off guard, potentially leading to a better price.”

4. Wait until the deal is nearly done to secure an upgrade or free accessories

The key here is, don't show your hand too soon. If you have your eye on any branded accessories in the showroom, keep these up your sleeve until it's time to finish a deal on your new car. To have your best chance at securing those free car mats and seat covers, Daryl suggests, “once you’re close to closing, you should then say ‘ok, if you throw in ‘X’ and ‘Y’ I’ll do the deal’. This will make you much more likely to actually come away with accessories you have your eyes on.”

Focusing on negotiating the base price of the car first, allows you to avoid distractions and keep your priorities straight on reaching a satisfactory price. By waiting until the deal is nearly done you’ll also  show the salesperson that you're committed to making the purchase,motivating them to go the extra mile to accommodate your requests and ensure that you're satisfied with the overall deal.

5. Bring a few people with you - it can fluster the salesperson

Ex-car sales experts Karen and Daryl with a combined knowledge of 30 years in the car industry, both suggest bringing a couple of people with you to the dealership. 
The pair shared with us that having someone else on hand to offer a different perspective on the options available, helping you consider factors that you may have overlooked or providing reassurance about your choices, is always wise.

Ex-car saleswoman Karen says, “it’s beneficial to take someone with you, but certainly not anyone who is loud and going to rule over the deal!”

Daryl also adds, “going with multiple people like a few family members can give you the upper hand as it can overwhelm salespeople newer in the business and may work to your advantage.”

6. Keep calm and use your poker face

When you visit the dealership, leave the enthusiasm at the door. Ex-car salesman Daryl's top tip? Keep that poker face strong, and let the salesperson do the talking. When visiting a dealership make sure to always be respectful, a salesperson is much more likely to give you a good deal if they like you. However, it's important to not get too excited about your future car purchase,

Daryl says, “a big no is showing too much enthusiasm about the car you are looking at - a poker face will work to your advantage.”

Although it's crucial to be friendly, the experts have suggested keeping your talking to a minimum. Daryl also elaborates that, “people can tend to chit-chat or will overspeak as they try to haggle the best deal. We’re all human, therefore by staying quiet you’ll lead the sales associate into the very same path - bury themselves into deals and promises they’d not planned on making.”

7. Trust your gut feeling when it comes to dodgy deals

Trusting your instincts when you feel like a car salesperson might be trying to sell you a dodgy deal, is crucial for safeguarding yourself and making sure you're getting the best deal possible while avoiding any sneaky tricks along the way.

Karen warns, “if the deal seems too good to be true- it probably is! Trust your gut feelings towards the dealer, their space, and what they are telling you. Never feel rushed into making your deal - especially if you feel something isn’t quite right.”

Daryl agrees adding “it can be hard to spot a scammer, but if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do the deal on the day, go away and look up some online reviews on the dealership. Remember no decent dealer will ever mind you going home to sit on the decision.”

The next time you're at the dealership, channel your inner detective, trust your instincts, and drive away knowing you've made the right choice.

And don't forget to make use of Carmoola's free car checks; an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to seeking fair value for a your next car. It will help you have peace of mind that you're choosing a car that looks (and runs!) great. 

8. Classic Car TLC: Keep on polishing

When it comes to keeping your car clean, there is no need to be a driveway hermit. Andrew Mundy, classic car expert at world-renowned class car part and restoration dealer, Rimmer Bros, emphasises: “when buying a classic car, it's imperative that you treat it with the respect it deserves and ensure that you use the right products for the right job.”

Using the wrong products can often lead to more harm than good. Andrew continues, “you should take time to wash and wax your car regularly, only using leather hide conditioner if it has a leather interior and UV protectors on a soft top.”  Ultimately, taking care of your car with the correct products isn't just about aesthetics—it's about investing in its long-term health and performance. By using products specifically formulated for your car's needs, you can enjoy a cleaner, shinier, and more resilient vehicle for years to come.

Andrew also emphasises the importance of ‘exercising’ your car,as it’s one of the most important things when owning a classic vehicle. Andrew explains “you need to not just start your car, but drive it at least once a week in order to get the engine heated up to normal operating temperature. This will also exercise all of the suspension and brake components."

As you embark on your car buying journey, remember that knowledge is your most powerful tool. By following these expert tips, you'll be equipped to navigate the dealership experience with confidence. Happy car shopping! 🚗💨