Car sales expert shares the 5 questions car dealerships

@billythecarkid/TikTok dusanpetkovic1/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘They’re going to tell you the same thing’: Car sales expert shares the top questions car dealerships will ask you—and how to expertly answer each

‘I’m going to teach you to answer them like a pro.’


Nina Hernandez


Unless you’ve personally got a few purchases under your belt, the car dealership experience can be more than a little intimidating. You call the dealership to make an appointment with nothing more than test drives on your mind. But all of a sudden, you’re bombarded by a salesman on the other end of the phone. And he’s talking about makes and models, sure, but also about MSRP and interest rates. And other things you might not have considered when first thinking about getting shiny new (or new-to-you) wheels.

That’s where TikTok user and car-buying expert Billy (@billythecarkid) comes in. In a video posted to the social media platform on June 6, Billy lays out the top questions a dealership will ask when you call about purchasing a car. “And I’m going to teach you to answer them like a pro,” he says.

In the caption, he writes, “Start by emailing, phoning or texting with the dealer. Until you locate the perfect vehicle and have everything just the way you want it, you shouldn’t step foot in the dealership.”

@billythecarkid Start by emailing, phoning or texting with the dealer. Until you locate the perfect vehicle and have everything just the way you want it, you shouldn’t step foot in the dealership. #carbuyingtips #carbuyingsecrets #carbuyinghelp #carbuyer #cars #carbuying #dealership #carbuyingmadeeasy #carsalesman #dealership ♬ The Last of Us (Remix) – 林怿

What vehicle are you interested in?

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Jeep rubicon 4xe near canyon lands national park in utah.

Billy says the first thing the dealership will ask when you call is what vehicle you’re looking for. According to Billy, that’s when the salesperson you talk to will try to create a false sense of urgency. “Then they are going to do something that they do at every dealership, hands down, no matter what. They always act like they have to check if the vehicle is still there,” Billy says. “Sometimes they’ll even add the little bonus of, ‘I think someone was working a deal on that one,’ or ‘I saw somebody about to buy that last night. Let me check if it’s still here.’”

Billy says that is what every salesperson says, and it’s often untrue. And regardless, you shouldn’t factor it into your decision, he urges.

According to AutoRaptor, this is in fact one of the first questions many car salespeople are trained to ask up front when speaking with a potential buyer.

When can you come in?

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sepy/Adobe Stock

Shortly after the salesperson verifies the vehicle is still at the dealership, Billy says they’ll start “hounding” you to come test drive the car in person. And this will be just the start of the dealership pushing for you to do everything in person. It’s presumably easier for salespeople to close the deal in person. “This is where we need to be strong and let them know that we’re just window shopping right now, and we’ll let them know when we get to that next step,” he says. 

Do you have a trade in?

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Salesman and client shakes hands

“Every time the dealership says this, even if you have an almost brand-new vehicle, they’re going to tell you the same thing,” Billy says. And that is that you need to take the car down there in person to get a truly accurate appraisal. Otherwise, the dealership says, you won’t be offered the highest possible value for the trade in.

“This is what a dealership is always going to say to you, and it’s so frustrating,” Billy says. “Why can’t they give you full price for the vehicle and what the trade would be worth to them and then peel the number backwards once you get there, if you lied about things and it wasn’t in good condition?”

To counter this, Billy recommends getting independent bids from services like CarMax or Carvana.

What is your monthly payment goal?

Pen with money on the calendar
Pen with money on the calendar

The next question Billy says the salespeople will ask revolves around one’s monthly payment goal.

Billy suggests you respond with the following: “’I’d like to know all the numbers and how we got there more than just the payment. The payment will work itself out.’” That’s because, in Billy’s view, the dealership will try to get you fixated on the monthly vs. the overall cost, because the monthly payment is what can be manipulated by the finance department. This could potentially help you avoid some car financing scams

Finance or cash?

Businessman giving or paying money to a man
Atstock Productions/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

Billy says you’ll also likely be asked if you’ll be financing or paying in cash.

“In my opinion, unless there’s some benefit on the price, or a discount or an incentivized rate the dealership is offering, I don’t have any reason to use the dealership financing,” Billy says. “But, for negotiation purposes, I like to dangle that carrot in front of the salesman’s face and make it seem like it’s possibly an option.”

In many cases, the dealership will match a rate from your credit union or another financial institution. 

Any down payment?

A real estate agent calculates the buyer's down payment
BongkarnGraphic/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

This is Billy’s favorite piece of advice, although he acknowledges it is controversial. “But I think the more information we give the dealership until we are sure of everything is just helping them and not us,” he says. “This is one of those instances where, I think, let’s not tell them about our down payment.”

He offers a suggestion for what you should say when asked. He recommends saying, “’Probably, I really don’t know. I haven’t put a number on it yet. I’d like to see the final numbers and see what everything lays out like, and then I can assess what kind of down payment I would like to put down.’”

The Daily Dot reached out to Billy via TikTok comment and direct message for comment.

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