From Cars to Cosmetics: How to Outsmart a Salesperson

What Most Salespeople Wont Tell You

Whether you’re shopping for cars or cosmetics, it’s inevitable that you’ll encounter a salesperson.

From the moment you walk in, many salespeople can already tell what kind of customer you are.

“When you first walk on the lot, the first thing I’m going to do is see if you’re with people or alone, how you’re dressed, the way you walk up on the lot, the type of car that you just got out of,” former car dealer and author of “Inside the Minds of Car Dealers,” Ray Lopez, told ABC News’ “20/20.” “So by the time that I show you a vehicle that you’re interested in, I’ve already psychoanalyzed you from the moment you got out of your car.”

Other salespeople know just what to say to get you to spend more.

“We're in sales, and if I tell you that this one is better, you're just going to believe me 'cause America is full of people that believe salesmen,” salesman Morris Michael told “20/20.”

ABC News’ “20/20” got the inside scoop from former salespeople. Before you make your next shopping trip, be sure to follow their tips so you don’t go home with an empty wallet and buyers’ remorse.

1. You might not actually need that.

Big ticket items, such as computers and televisions, are priced low to get customers in the door. But what stores really want you to buy are the accessories and extra items, such as cables and an extended warranty, according to former saleswoman Ashley Meyers. “There’s almost no profit margin on actual hardware, the computers, cellphones, TVs, stuff like that,” Meyers told “20/20.”

2. Read the fine print.

Car commercials often advertise great deals, but it’s more than likely just to get you to come into the dealership. Deceptive ads might say you can buy a car for $99 a month with no down payment, but hide the truth and more fees in the fine print flashing by.

3. Watch out for your ego.

When setting out to buy a car, you might feel pretty confident after doing your research into prices and models beforehand. But at a manipulative car dealership, you're just another customer that dealers can try to outsmart. Former car salesperson Ray Lopez said he would play to a customer's ego by saying something like, "You know what, you're a very intelligent person. You've done your due diligence. That's very good, so we can cut out the [expletive]."

4. Recognize a tricky salesperson.

According to Ray Lopez, a car salesperson who tells you that they have to drive the car off the lot during the test drive is lying. “Because the trick to getting you to really [enjoy] this vehicle is to whet your appetite,” Lopez said. “You can’t wait to get behind the wheel, man. The farther I drive it, the more anxious you get to drive it, so by the time I pull over and say, ‘Let’s trade places,’ your emotions are running high.”

Another sign of a tricky car dealer is when they say the price they give you is only available for today. “If I can sell you this car today, I can sell it to you any day that it’s still in inventory at the same price,” Lopez said.

5. Never leave, then come back.

If you feel uncomfortable or that a car dealer is trying to trick to you, walk off the lot. But don’t turn around, no matter what the salesperson says to you, Ray Lopez said. “As you turn around and you’re back to me, well that’s what I want, because now I’ve just set the bait,” Lopez said.

6. There’s probably not a minimum purchase.

If you’re ever lured into sitting for a free makeover at the cosmetics counter, don’t feel obligated to buy anything. “Some [salespeople] would actually just lie and say, ‘Oh, there’s a minimum purchase of three items,’ and just hope they didn’t get caught,” Cara Phillips, a former makeup artist at some of New York’s top department stores, told “20/20.”

7. Beware of “the face.”

Another way salespeople try to boost sales at the makeup counter is by having women pull out their current makeup stash and then reacting with “the face.” “Look at something and be like, ‘Oh,’” Cara Phillips said. “And if you make the right face, the customer will be like, ‘What’s wrong with it? I knew this wasn’t right for me,’ and immediately, they’re going to buy whatever version that you have.”

8. You can definitely use different makeup products together.

“This is the greatest lie in all of makeup,” Cara Phillips said. “You have to use all of our products on your eye because if you use some other company’s [products with our products] they won’t work.” Phillips said this is absolutely not true. It's also a way of convincing a customer to toss out their current makeup in favor of the ones they've just been sold.

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