“The image of a damsel lost in a showroom, if it ever actually existed, is no longer something salespeople will see.” – Vijay Jeyapalan


For many people, buying a car is a stressful process.

Something worse than going to the dentist or, for women, a Brazilian waxing. Ouch.

It can be a lengthy one, too.

Furthermore, it doesn’t always start by going from dealership to dealership.

In fact, most people have access to the Internet, so they’re doing their research beforehand, prior to even leaving their home and finding themselves on a dealer lot, or with glossy brochures in hand.

They look at various vehicle reviews, flip through newspapers or sites (like the one you’re reading now) and ask other car owners for their opinions.

When they get to the dealership, that’s when it becomes real.

You take the car for a test drive, fall in love with it, or walk away from it.

When you find “The One,” then comes the time to sign on the dotted line.

But before you seal the deal, it’s time to negotiate… unless you’re happy with the price given.

For women, this can be an even more intimidating process. Getting through the dealer’s door is just the first hurdle they feel they have to overcome.

But for Vijay Jeyapalan, of Unhaggle – which helps Canadian car buyers get the best price on their new car by getting dealers to compete to offer the lowest price – he’d argue that women are better negotiators than men, an idea that challenges societal norms when it comes to car buying.

“Before stepping into the showroom or test-driving a vehicle, most women are recognized to have done their homework and pre-purchase preparations,” Jeyapalan says. “This advantage allows them to properly assess what they want upon arrival and ask the necessary questions to advance the car buying process.”

His point centres on the notion that when you know less, you prepare more.

With all the tools out there, it’s not as difficult or as time-consuming as it has been in the past. Sites dedicated to women and automobiles are there to assist, as well as female car reviews, lifestyle writers, mommy bloggers and more.

He adds that women don’t mind shopping around, browsing at various products, taking the information and then contemplating it. They aren’t always in a hurry to buy right then and there.

“Many are convinced that the forceful tactics men use during negotiations are actually working against them in car buying situations,” says Jeyapalan. “Men tend to focus on status and act upon superiority, which is a poor way of negotiating.

“While the man says, ‘Take it or leave it,’ the woman might be more collaborative and willing to compromise – thus making them better negotiators. Listening is the key, not aggression and intimidation.”

He goes on to say, “Women understand that a common ground is usually the best platform for a fair negotiation. Empathy plays a large role in that regards. Being able to view the situation from another person’s perspective doesn’t necessarily create an advantage, but it does allow the person to understand why they aren’t getting the upper hand.”

Statistics show that more women are making car purchases that ever before. Granted they might not be experts when they walk in the door, but they generally know what they want.

“The image of a damsel lost in a showroom, if it ever actually existed, is no longer something salespeople will see.”

Email: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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