Everything I needed to know, I learned from Herb Cohen

Since our cars are older and we’re considering the fact that one in particular may kick the bucket in the next year, my husband and I are discussing the possibility of buying another car. Which made me think of Herb Cohen.

While working for a company ten years ago, the owner – who was a  terrific salesman if nothing else – informed me before a new car purchase, that if wanted to know how to REALLY get the best price I could, I had to read You Can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen. I didn’t believe him because I was horrible at negotiation and hated it, but he lent me his copy…a very small paperback that I breezed through in a couple nights.

That book changed my life and I am not kidding. It’s not high literature and it’s not even about how to negotiate the purchase of a car. But once I understood the principles that car salesmen used, I was armed and I was dangerous. My husband and I (actually, I’m the one who does all the real negotation, he just sits back and grins) have used the tools in that book to negotiate at least 30% off the sticker price of the last three new cars we purchased. And I even think negotiating is fun now!

So I thought I’d pass along this information with you. If you are buying a car, or making any large negotiable purchase, you must read this book.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Natasha
    Feb 25, 2010 @ 19:23:59

    I just realized that Herb looks like Ron Paul!


  2. Natasha
    Feb 24, 2010 @ 22:22:07

    I agree, cash is best — car loan from your credit union next best — loan thru the dealer the worst.

    Knowing your top price before going in, and what ‘extras’ you do or do not want — and then sticking to that makes all the difference.

    Good luck! I have a Honda Fit and LOVE it. Peppy, fun to drive, surprisingly huge amount of interior space and easy to configure to carry all sorts of stuff, great gas mileage, economical.


  3. darksculptures
    Feb 24, 2010 @ 14:56:40

    Cash is the worlds best negotiator!

    The last time we purchased a vehicle. We did our research at home, decided what we wanted to pay and walked in with cash. Needless to say we didn’t pay a penny more. The dealer even had to back in all of the add ons for tax, tag, title ect.

    You should have seen the look on their face. It was classic. Of course needless to say, we don’t buy a car often. This one will have to last us a good long time.

    Maybe I should brush up on those negotiating skills. You never know when they are going to come in handy. As a general rule we have always played good cop, bad cop. My hubs starts the negotiations, but I generally finish them as the ***ch holding the checkbook.


    • kathanink
      Feb 24, 2010 @ 17:56:05

      One of the biggest tools I’ve used in negotiations are my long legs. And it’s not what you think! I mean walking out on a sale, the best tool ever (which is in Cohen’s book).

      One time asalesman tried a bait and switch on us, when the sale was almost closed. I “Said, no, we’re not going to do that. We’ll take what we originally negotiated.” He said he couldn’t, blah, blah blah, so I stood up and looked at the hubs (who had been quiet to that point) and said, “Let’s go.” Then I turned to the salesman and said, “If you change your mind, you have our phone number. Give us a call,” and walked out. I think E. was still sitting in the chair when I blew past him. He didn’t know what happened!

      The dealer called the next day and we got the car we wanted for the price we wanted to pay. I learned after that to never let them waste my time (another Cohen-ism) and I’ve walked quite a few times. I’ve always gotten a phone call!!


  4. dayner
    Feb 24, 2010 @ 11:14:53

    I am hoping my twelve-year-old 250,000 mile Camry will last me at least until September. I’ll be checking out this book. One thing for sure, I will never walk into a car dealership with my husband again and ‘let him do the talking’ phuh…
    I think when he does the talking we actually paid more 🙂


    • kathanink
      Feb 24, 2010 @ 14:51:26

      I think you’re right…besides, if a woman is armed and knowledgeable and has the courage to negotiate, I think it throws off the salesmen…they don’t usually know what hit them when I start talking since I think most of them still think it’s the man that does the car buying! 😀


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