When you head to the dealership, start out by being sure you are prepared. Have your research printed out and available for reference. Be sure you have dressed appropriately and how you are dressed does not belie what you are going to be telling the salesperson. If you are going with your spouse, be sure you’ve decided in advance what you are willing to pay.
When you meet with the salesperson, do not give too much information. If the salesperson asks what you are going to be doing with your old car, or if you will want to finance, simply and politely delay the discussion by saying you haven’t decided yet.
Stay focused on the car you want and do not tell the salesperson the maximum you are willing to pay. You might say the low end of what you are willing to pay, and if the salesperson asks what your max is, simply repeat the amount you’ve already stated.
Also, avoid getting overly excited about a car. Don’t show that you have to have this particular car, or that you’ve wanted one your whole life. Treat buying the car the same as if you were choosing an insurance provider: calmly looking at the pros and cons and negotiating each individual fee.
While negotiating, do not sign anything or give any personal information, besides your name. You do not need to sign anything until you are actually buying the car, and you do not need to give your social security number unless and until you are getting financing.
Be certain you are getting a deal you are comfortable with, and always be willing to walk away. There are a lot of dealerships out there, and no dealership is the only place in the world that has a car that will work for you.