Want A Good Deal? Use These Body Language Hacks When Buying Your Next Car

Buying a second-hand car right now is a real challenge. Here are some little-known body language hacks that can make it a much easier process.

It’s official: the world is in the midst of a new car shortage. We’re still feeling the sting of the ongoing computer chip shortage, as well as other supply chain and labour disruptions caused by – you guessed it – COVID. On top of that, the used car market remains incredibly hot, partially due to people speculating on new or virtually-new cars, and also due to demand. But you’ve heard all this before.

What people really want to know is how to get the best possible deal when shopping for a second-hand car in this seller’s market. There are a few obvious answers: do your research, shop around, don’t be afraid to haggle, don’t buy a car sight-unseen (although I’ve done exactly that…)

Turns out there’s another way you can get the edge when buying a second-hand car: by learning a few simple body language hacks.

“Simple body language techniques such as… avoiding contradictory body language signals and being conscious of your posture and gestures can empower you to make an informed decision and give you the confidence to negotiate a better price,” Professor Allan Pease, best-selling author of The Definitive Book of Body Language, behaviourist and Allianz Australia expert, tells DMARGE.

One of his top tips is to consider how much eye contact you’re using: “eye contact is important with any negotiation, from business to buying big-ticket items like a car.”

“[For example], in Australia, locals maintain eye-contact 65% of the time and look away 35%. This builds rapport with the seller and show you are listening, friendly and receptive to information.”

Image: Shutterstock

A hack that might be less obvious is simply to take a notepad and pen and take notes whilst inspecting the car. “This makes you appear informed and organised, and it keeps your arms and hands from revealing nervous gestures,” Pease relates.

“Body language is picked up subliminally so being aware gives you more overall control of your behaviour.”

RELATED: The Used Car Market Is A ‘Wild West’ Right Now. Here’s How To Avoid Getting Swindled

Another clever move is to take a drink bottle and sip water as you ask questions about the car’s history. “This gives you the chance to think about and analyze what’s being said before you respond. Time is what you need to consider your options, and this is a great way to add ‘the pause’ in a negotiation,” he explains.

A pro tip Pease offers which is less about body language and more about psychological tactics is this: “if you feel pressured into making a decision, explain that while you love the vehicle (if you do) you don’t have the power to make the final decision.”

Image: Pinterest

“[Say] you need to defer to another person who is not available right now. Before you get to the sale, think about who you talk to about your purchase, friend, partner, family and actually run it by them! Or take someone with you! This helps your final decision making and helps you step out of pressure-buying.”

RELATED: How Much You Need To Earn To Buy The Car Of Your Dreams

The other advantage of taking someone with you, of course, is that it’s much safer than going to meet a seller on your own. On a lighter note, it also means you’ve got someone who can drive your car home if you’re successful with the purchase.

Allianz Australia has also put together a handy Private Buyer’s Manual with even more tips on how to get the best deal possible when shopping for a second-hand car.

Now go forth, stand up straight, and conquer…

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