Make a Power Purchase: How to Avoid Getting Screwed When Buying a Car - or Anything

Karen Keller

What causes butterflies, knots, avoidance, self-consciousness, and fear when shopping for a new car? The feeling you may get screwed over. So why does getting screwed over, at its core, hurt so much?

Humiliation. Next to the natural fears of falling and loud noise, the fear of humiliation is a confidence-killer.

But there are two reasons no woman should fear getting screwed over when buying a car. Firstly, because women are now the world's most powerful consumers.

Let me repeat that: You have more buying power, more product say-so and more influence at the shelf than ever before.

You see, women are the engine of the global economy: we drive 80% of consumer spending in the United States; buy 60% of all new cars (and influence up to 80% of total purchases); purchase 53% of used cars and; spend $300 billion annually on car repairs.

Financial and market-share clout goes a long way....especially with business men. (And doubly for the woman 40+ who has more to spend.)

There's another way we're in the driver's seat when walking into a car showroom. We've got our built-in power executive within us: influence. Women see the world differently than men. When you understand this, and know how to recognize it, then use it, you've got the influence to make a power purchase.

A Girl's Gotta Have Car-Buying Influence

The definition of today's woman is influence, a skill that that spotlights her strengths instead of her perceived weaknesses. You were born with mental prowess, a strong and pliable identity, keen emotional insight and relational tools different from men.

Capitalize on them.

Women in the know follow these 7 practices to buy a car without getting financially taken or being emotionally shaken:

1. Become the influencer.

Know who's going to be the influencer. An influencer is someone who affects the actions of others. If you aren't sure stay home until you know it's you.

Recognize when you are being influenced-you're kept waiting, a pulling handshake, hearing "Follow me," pushing for a 'before-the-night-is-over' decision, continuous talking, and instilling a sense of urgency with the "I don't know how long your current car will make it" speech.

Your assertiveness is being tested. Your desire to get out of your old car is exploited. The salesperson intends to raise your excitement level hoping to reduce your reasoning.

Influence Expert Coaching Tip:

Get the salesman to agree with you from the beginning. Say, "We both want me to leave here with a car," or "We both know the invoice price-so let's start there."

Send a non-verbal message of confidence-assume a power position.

Put your heels on, add a little bling, freshen your makeup then walk in with your head high, back straight and direct eye contact (no jeans, no sweatshirts, and no morning bed-head).

Influence is up for grabs. It's in your best interest to grab it first.

2. Escape from your comfort zone.

Psychologically speaking, your comfort zone is a simulated mental boundary designed to maintain a sense of security (comfort), staying out of great discomfort (pain). The method? Avoiding any semblance of discomfort (pain).

Your comfort zone is a mirror image of your self-image. If your self image has its roots in fear, then you live your life based on that fear. And you stay in your comfort zone, missing out on golden opportunities and true potential.

This is because we're designed for greater and greater good. Life is a never-ending upward evolution.

So your security is never outside of you-it lives within you. Dealerships can be scary, after all, buying a car is not something we do every day. We're surrounded by the unfamiliar.

Influence Expert Coaching Tip:

Do something out of character. No, you don't have to scale the Andes Mountains. Stretch yourself. Because women desire stability and continuity, acting out of character is a challenge.

Lessen fear by refusing to entertain your uneasiness. Not doing this creates drama, feeding the uneasiness with energy, paralyzing you.

One way to do this is by repeating (even writing) an Influence It! Power affirmation. Try "I am adequate in all situations." Or write one that resonates for you. And use it!

3. Become a "Know-It-All"

Get curious. Information is your ammunition.

Learn about the car, the dealer, and the process before you go in. Make anticipation and enthusiasm a habit. It unlocks new understandings.

Knowing your numbers BEFORE you go to the dealer gives you a frame of reference. Use to access valuable timely information.

Influence Expert Coaching Tip:

List questions for the salesperson. "How long have you worked at this dealership? How many cars do you sell per each month?" Identify what you want. Style? Mileage? Capacity? Horsepower? Ask yourself, "What have I left out?"

Bonus Tip: The person who asks the questions is the one in control of the conversation. And you are not obliged to answer every question. When asked a question you don't want to answer, respond with, "That's interesting" then move on to your next question.

4. Recognize your boundaries

Solid boundaries (rules you live by) give you a clear sense of identity, allow you to communicate your needs to others, and protect you from harmful manipulation.

Knowing your preferences creates balance by enhancing your ability to separate your thoughts and feelings from those of others.

Undefined boundaries leave you vulnerable to making powerless decisions that do not support your best interests.

Influence Expert Coaching Tip:

Avoid answering personal questions, i.e. discussing your daughter's cute performance in "Cinderella." Buying a car, like any other purchase, is primarily a financial transaction.

Seemingly relevant questions are attempts to size you up-lifestyle, income, driving habits, etc. Never answer to 'honey'! Imagine how you want the conversation to unfold...and then stay with your storyline.

Bonus Tip: Repeat to yourself, "If one of us has to be uncomfortable, that person doesn't have to be me."

5. Take action.

Planned initiative is attractive. Doing your homework using your strengths puts you in charge of your results.

Your ability to stretch begins when you move in a new direction with a new focus. Once you make that move - you feel comfort again. You find comfort because you are consciously accepting the 'new' as familiar and safe. Then look for the next challenge - raising the bar again.

Influence Expert Coaching Tip:

Visit 3 dealerships each week for the next three weeks. Stride in with confidence. Look around, kick a few tires, take a few notes, then leave. Key point-leave. You've done this before...plenty of times. Why don't we practice this more when buying a car? Relax. You have no intention of buying just yet.

6. Know what's on the other side.

Women are acknowledging their hunger for pushing beyond the restrictions set for them by society -and by themselves. Why? What's waiting?

New experiences, a deeper sense of you, abundance, solutions, growth, potential and that great adrenaline rush on your way to breakthrough!

Self confidence grows. Resiliency increases. And you are challenged to improve yourself.

Influence Expert Coaching Tip:

Will acting from a source of power serve your greatest good? List 5 non-monetary benefits of making a power car purchase. Knowing how these benefits serve your future will compel you forward with assurance. If you need help-look at any unmet needs you have.

Bonus Tip: Read my special blog post: Surprise! Why New Year's Resolutions Fizzle to get the low-down to the high-rewards of the benefit of the benefit.

7. Practice Inner Attention

Your female intuition is the seed of your solution. Listen to it. Trust it. Your intuition is the deal breaker. If it doesn't feel right or something doesn't fit - head for the door.

Influence Expert Coaching Tip:

Make a deal when the numbers make sense. Not out of obligation to the salesperson. Your first and only obligation is to yourself.

Next time you're about to put your blood, sweat and tears into buying a car-or any purchase-take a second to review what your fellow power decision-makers do.

Long live the female economy. Influence It!

Karen Keller, Ph. D. is the Influence It! Life Coach for women and creator of the website Real Power For Women Who Want It. Unlike other psychologists, Karen is also a Master Certified Coach and the only modern-day teacher of Influence as a way of inner thinking and being...then ultimately doing for having more of what you (really) want. Her first book, "Stepping Stones to Success: Experts Share Strategies For Mastering Business, Life & Relationships" with Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, and Denis Waitley comes out March 2010. Experience the gift of inner influence for power decision making by subscribing to Karen's blog - power for women who really want it, Influence By Design. @KarenKeller