Securing a car loan in advance is the first step to having a successful negotiation at the dealership. However, there are many other things that buyers can do to make the process go more smoothly.
Some drivers may think negotiating is all about facts and figures, but it's not. A strong portion of negotiation is tied into how you present yourself. If you walk in confident, knowledgeable and relaxed, a salesman will have a hard time breaking you down. Keep in mind that nothing is final until you sign on the dotted line. You have the power during the negotiation – because you can simply walk away and shop somewhere else.
Still, many buyers get nervous before they head to a dealership. This is why doing research beforehand can be helpful. If you've already looked into a car and know its strengths and weaknesses, then you can be confident in what you're saying and what the dealer is telling you.
Cars.com also recommends looking the part – and this doesn't mean buying a high-end suit. In fact, rolling up in a luxury model with a shiny wristwatch is a good way to let the salesman know that you're not looking for a deal, because you've apparently got money to burn.