Car dealers are not inherently evil; they are out to make money just like everyone else in the working world. However, cars are a big investment and if you are not careful you could end up paying more than what you want to pay or more than you can afford.

Keep these car dealer secrets in mind and make sure you do thorough research before stepping into a car dealership.

They Tap Into Your Emotions

Purchasing is just as emotional as it is logical. Car dealers are charming, friendly and get to know your triggers as quickly as possible so that they can leverage your emotions and strategically coax you into making a purchase. Moms are excellent targets as are newly married couples who are starting to make joint purchases and set the foundation for their life together.

They Create a False Sense of Urgency

There are always deals on cars, some are better than others, but in reality there is nothing so pressing that you need to make a decision on the spot. Car dealers know that the likelihood of you buying decreases when you walk out the door. Therefore, they are going to push hard and use tactics to get you to make a decision “before it’s too late.” One of the most trusted car dealer secrets is creating a sense of urgency so that you feel pressured into make a decision.

They Prevent You From Saying No

Car dealers purposefully avoid asking yes or no questions because they don’t want you to get into the “no” mindset. The easier it is for you to say “no,” the more likely you are to reject the entire sale. Car dealers ask obvious questions that clearly yield a “yes” just to get you into that “yes” mentality. Then, instead of offering you something you may not like, they provide options. For example, they may ask: Do you prefer tan or black leather interior? Even if you prefer gray fabric, you’ll say so instead of “no.”

They Excite You With Extras

Offering attractive upgrades and custom options to squeeze another couple thousand out of you is one of their favorite car dealer secrets. Dealers first channel your emotions and evoke a “yes” mentality, then casually and cheerfully offer you extra items that put icing on the cake. They make a case for why you’ll regret not upgrading and make it seem like you’re saving time and money by choosing the add-ons up front.

They Aren’t Car Pros

Car dealers are professional salespeople, not professional car manufacturers, designers or mechanics. They understand enough about cars to make a pitch and answer questions, but they mostly spout statistics and phrases you can find in company literature and newspaper advertisements. You’re better off researching the manufacturer, reading reviews of current and previous owners and looking up advice from mechanics.

They Want You to Finance

One of the best kept car dealer secrets of all is that they make more money when you finance than when you pay cash in full. With financing, interest accrues and sometimes capitalizes, which increases the total cost of the purchase. Since car dealers receive commission, they prefer when you finance in order to increase their earnings.

The Prices Are Negotiable

All vehicles prices you see at the dealership are marked up to increase the company’s profit. Therefore, when you’re offered special “car dealer deals,” it means there’s some wiggle room in the price. You can use this knowledge to your advantage, negotiate a lower price and keep the ball in your court. A novice car dealer may surrender the negotiation to you in order to make the sale. Don’t be surprised if a car dealer needs to “check with the manager” or “check with the financing agent” to be sure. If anything, the dealer is learning new car dealer secrets on how to take back control of the negotiation and present an irrefutable counter offer.

They Use Visual Strategies to Convince You to Buy

Whether it be four squares, a series of colorful pictographs or the trusted Ben Franklin strategy, you can bet that when you sit down at a car dealer’s desk, the dealer is going to draw a few lines on a blank sheet of paper and start writing out pros and cons or drawing diagrams to help visually convince you to buy the vehicle. In one sense, these are great tools to help you make informed decisions, if you were doing the exercise at home on your own with no pressure from a salesperson. However, your car dealer is using this visual strategy as a manipulation tactic to get you to agree that making the purchase is clearly the right choice.

Come Prepared With Your Own Car Dealer Secrets

To remain in complete control of your purchasing decision, do your research before you enter the dealership, establish criteria that meets your needs and stay firm and objective during conversations. Avoid being swayed by flattery and don’t reveal too much about yourself. Always stick to your guns and know that there is absolutely no urgent need to make an immediate decision.

Be on the lookout for these car dealer secrets and know that you are the one that is truly in charge of the sale. You control your checkbook, you control your preferences and you know which features will work best with your lifestyle. Resist the urge to let a salesperson make your decisions for you, or you may end up making a decision you will regret.