5 Phrases to Say When Negotiating a Car Price

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Last updated Apr 25, 2023

When it comes to buying a car, there are definitely no “magic words” that will convince a salesperson to give you an amazing deal, but there are a few phrases that can give you leverage in negotiations. Ready to learn how to negotiate with a car salesman? Great! Let’s get moving.

“I’d Like to Discuss My Trade-In Later”

Car buyers with a vehicle to trade should get familiar saying “I’d like to discuss my trade-in later.” When selling and buying a car at the same time it is best to treat them as two separate transactions. A salesperson will always want to “work their magic” on the numbers and make it look like you’re getting a better deal than it is when you negotiate the trade-in and the new vehicle purchase price at once.

So keep it simple with one of the most vital car buyer negotiation phrases. Every time that the salesperson brings up your trade-in while you’re talking about the new car, remind them that you’d “like to discuss my trade-in later.”

Chances are that you may even need to come up with a few versions of this phrase, since the salesperson is likely to bring up the value of your trade-in more than once.

Learn how to get the most from your trade-in. Check out our guide of trading in your car and using it to your advantage.

“I Know What the Car is Worth”

The vehicle purchase process is terribly confusing. Here at CarEdge we strive to teach our members about all of the numbers involved in a car deal before they even contact a dealership so that they can stay in control of the process. One of the most vital (and obvious, albeit challenging!) numbers you should know, is the value of the car that you want to buy. 

Unlike buying a refrigerator, a sofa, or literally any other item, buying a car entails hours of gamesmanship over what the “price” of the vehicle actually is. Be prepared to say “I know what the car is worth” to a salesperson, and feel confident that you actually do.

By the time you go to the dealership or begin email negotiations, you will have used the Market Price Report to know exactly how much you should be paying for your car. If you’re looking to buy a used vehicle, you will have run it through CarEdge’s Black Book vehicle valuation tool to get the same pricing information the dealer has, immediately leveling the playing field. The purpose of this phrase is to let the salesperson know that you’ve done your research and you know what you’re talking about.

“I Like This Car, But I Don’t Love It”

I’ve said it before, and you’ll hear me say it again … You don’t want to act too eager when you are buying a car. “I like this vehicle, but I don’t love it,” is one of the important phrases you can say to a car salesman to keep control of the conversation. Your salesperson should know that you like the car and that you might buy it, but you’re not so in love with it that you’re going to pay more than it’s worth. 

Don’t say this phrase and expect any response. Just say it during your test drive to show that you still need to be convinced that the value is right. It’s one of our car buyer negotiation phrases that’s somewhat subtle, yet important. It’s all about keeping your cards close to your chest.

As an added bonus, this phrase can be a good reminder to yourself that you should walk away if you don’t get a good deal. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotions of buying a car, but by repeating this phrase, you can stay in control of the negotiations.

Buying a car in 2021 is not easy! Check out our guide step-by-step guide here.

“Can I See the Invoice Price?”

Are you buying a new vehicle, or are you factory ordering a car? Great, ask to see the invoice price. Having the dealer’s invoice will give you much more information that you can use during your negotiations. In fact, this is one of the most important phrases you should say to a car salesman. When you know the dealer’s invoice price, you’ll be able to propose a fair deal with a fair amount of markup.

More on how to get the dealer to give you their invoice here: https://caredge.com/guides/dealer-invoice/

“I’ll Come Back Later”

There’s nothing that a salesperson wants to hear less than this phrase. They want to sell you a car today, not tomorrow. Most salespeople know that if you leave the lot, you might not return. They would prefer to keep you there, make you happy, and sell you a car. However, if you aren’t reaching the right numbers in your agreement, it might be time to leave.

You deserve to be treated properly and to get a fair deal on your vehicle. That’s why this is our top suggestion for buyer negotiation phrases: It gives you a chance to stand up for yourself and retain control of the negotiations.

Use our step-by-step car buying guide

Do you want to learn more about how to negotiate with a car salesman like a pro? We created our step-by-step car buying guide to coach you through the phases of buying a vehicle like a pro. Check it out here!


  1. Jarret O'Boyle

    You only listed 4 phrases

    • Zach Shefska

      There are five 🙂 Thank you for reading!

      • Robert E Schafer

        I only see 4 “phrases” and 1 direction to a guide.

      • Brian King

        Seriously., I also count 4. Maybe proofread it again?

      • Brian King

        Thanks for fixing it.

    • AC

      Am I missing something because I see 5. See below…

      1 “I’d Like to Discuss My Trade-In Later”
      2 “I Know What the Car is Worth”
      3 “I Like This Car, But I Don’t Love It”
      4 “Can I See the Invoice Price?”
      5 “I’ll Come Back Later”
      6 Use our step-by-step car buying guide

    • Manny

      None of this works in Florida…..Stealerships will tell you Bye and not think twice about it…

      • Another Manny

        Florida is full of stupid. Dealers know they will make more money if they quickly move on to the next dummy and stop wasting their time with you haggling over $500. (One trip to their Service Dept.)

  2. Mike Hawkins

    Zach, I have a mindset and phrase I’ve used for many years. I tell the salespeople that their car is one of two in the finals. I explain that I would prefer a good deal with them but, honestly, there’s a Blastfire XL across town with some motivated sales people trying to unload it.
    Give me your best deal and I’ll decide if I’m buying your car or decamping to the other dealership.
    It tends to really sharpen their focus.

  3. Herschel Purvis

    4 Phrases
    5 headers

  4. M. K.

    I tell the salesperson that I have decided on the exact car I want with specific options and I would like an “OUT THE DOOR ” price. I also say that right now I am price shopping that car and which ever dealer has the best price, on the specific car, will have a sale within the week. I go to the closest dealer to my home last and explain that I would like to buy the car from them, due to my desire to buy locally, but I would not have a problem traveling to another dealer to save some money. By the way, I purchased an auto 2 weeks ago using this method and the local dealer met the lowest “OUT THE DOOR” price of 4 dealers, one of which was 160 miles away. Keep up the great videos.


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