First Time Car Buyers: Six Ways To Feel Like A Seasoned Pro When You Hit The Lot

Being ready to buy a new car means knowing about more than just the MPGs and MSRPs: You have to prepare for the actual exchange between you and the dealership. Sales tactics and the dynamics of human nature also factor largely into the equation, but figuring that out is tough when you're a first-timer. Here are six ways to present yourself like a complete pro:

1. Think Relationship Building

You don't walk into a major retailer expecting to make friends with your cashier in the checkout lane, but buying a car is a whole different story. While you may not end up as BFFs, buying a car should be the start of a relationship that will last for about as long as you own the vehicle (longer if you're really satisfied and want to continue buying at that dealership).

To forge such a relationship, you need to feel like you're on equal terms with everyone you deal with. This is accomplished through open exchanges and honest bantering, following which, you should be on equal ground. If you don't get the feeling you can build a long-term relationship with the people at a dealership, you might be at the wrong one. Since buying a car means buying into the dealership, too, this relationship is too important to settle.

2. Talk The Talk, Walk The Walk

Bring paperwork with you containing the facts and figures that represent the vehicles you're interested in. Knowing you know the base prices recommended by consumer advocates shows the salespeople you mean business. Having easy access to them gives you more confidence and negotiating power.

Avoid direct negotiating off the sticker price, opting to begin with the actual invoice price instead. Stickers are marked up, thus, you're at a disadvantage if you work off that number. As you banter, keep your offers at one or two hundred dollar increments, to avoid revealing the top dollar you're willing to pay. If you meet with resistance, try visiting the dealership towards the end of the month or following a spell of cumbersome Canadian weather. These are the times when the dealer is looking to move inventory.

3. Talk Full Price, Not Just Payments

Although a dealership may be able to put you behind the wheel right away with the right payment plan you need to be aware of the actual full price for the vehicle. For example, a payment of $250 a month might look good, but if you're going to end up with a whopping total, it's not worth it. Start from the end price, rather than monthly, to make sure you know fully what you're paying and can, therefore, negotiate your best deal.

4. Ask And Ye Shall Receive

Don't be afraid to make demands. The dealer wants the sale and to establish a really positive experience with you. You are, after all, going to be a walking, talking advertisement for them. For example, if your heart is set on a blue model X with a certain stereo, sunroof and interior fabric, ask! Dealers have power, often over national inventories and if they know you're serious, they'll work to get you exactly what you want.

5. Have An Arsenal Of Financing Options Available

Arrange for financing outside of a dealership, by applying at your local bank or credit union. There are also online financing options to consider. This will give you leverage, because financing is taken out of the equation with the dealership and you can get right down to the real price of a vehicle. If you have no choice other than dealership financing, be aware that they can offer you lower terms than what they typically advertise.

6. Use Vehicle Add-Ons And "Extras" As Bargaining Chips

Even if you don't want a lot of bells and whistles on a new car, act like you do, then knock them off the deal as you negotiate. For example, if the salesperson insists they can't lower the price of what you want, drop the extras and call it a done deal. You end up with what you really wanted, only at a better price.

Ideally, you end up with the vehicle of your choice at a great price, but above and beyond the physical elements, you should feel like you have an entire team of experts backing you up from the moment you drive your new car out of the car dealership in Peterborough. With that feeling, you can drive with much more confidence and hopefully, really be able to count on them whenever needed.