I recently read a great article As Sexy Cars Take The LA Spotlight, Women Take The American Wheel where the author Micheline Maynard spoke about the steady influence of the female consumer not only in the purchase of vehicles (or the decision to purchase) but also that women drivers now outnumber male drivers.
The auto industry has been aware for quite some time of that fact that close to 95% of auto dealers are men yet women influence over 80% of the decision to purchase a vehicle when in a coupled relationship. The male-dominated industry has typically designed cars from their point of view, and on top of that, they have created the experience the female consumer receives in the dealership from the same viewpoint. This is a massive disconnect which highlights the enormous gaps in both the design of vehicles and the shopping experience the most influential consumer in the world receives.
Women are not only growing in dominance in the workforce, often out-earning their husbands, but they also dominate the road too! I’ll let the experts at Truecar.com give you the insights on the type of vehicles the female consumer is purchasing, and I will provide you with ideas on how to deliver an experience once she walks into your dealership.
To close the gap on the experience that is currently provided in dealerships and what women want, here are five tips to consider when serving the decision maker; the woman
1. Greet Her
In an independent study I conducted I found that when a woman is shopping with a man, the man is greeted first 100% of the time. The greeting is the first interaction that will set the tone for the entire journey; it is a customer’s favorite pick up line. Try greeting her first (or at least at the same time). The female consumer will feel like an equal, respected, and open for the journey she is about to experience.
2. Use Her Name
“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”- Dale Carnage. Using a customer’s name not only shows respect but is the most important words you can use to create a connection with your customer. A female customer gravitates even more to the use of her name. Over the decade’s women have fought to be equal with their male counterpart and using her name is a great way to help her feel welcome, respected and important in your dealership.
3. Show Genuine Interest
We make decisions out of the ‘feelings we have’ not the facts and figures that are presented to us. Women crave connection and will walk out of your dealership if: 1. No one attempts to make a connection, and 2. If a person is disingenuous when trying to make a connection. She wants you to take time to get to know her; genuinely. The 80/20 rule applies here. Let her talk 80% of the time because you have spent 20% of the time with her asking questions and showing genuine interest in her.
4. Be Authentic
Being authentic appropriately follows showing real interest. The female consumer wants to create a relationship with the sales associate, and she expects the interaction to be authentic. You will have much more success winning the heart of your female consumer by being authentic, revealing vulnerabilities and of course showing genuine interest in her.
5. Follow Up
The last touchpoint on a customer’s journey is often viewed as the ‘goodbye’ or ‘lasting impression’ which leaves the touch point of ‘following up’ as a big opportunity! You would think in the automotive industry we would know the importance of following up to ‘close the sale’. Funny enough it is overlooked a lot! The follow up is an excellent opportunity to strengthen the relationship you have created with your female consumers. This time allows you to continue to show genuine interest, be authentic, and increase the likely hood of getting her back into the dealership. Here is the catch, the follow up doesn’t have to be just about the vehicle she was looking at, or that is coming up for renewal. The follow up is way more successful if you couple it with a personal touch like remembering a birthday, anniversary, or big event. Show you care, and she will follow up with a visit to your dealership.
The end goal is always to sell a vehicle; we are in business after all. However, this is a result of how you treat your customers. Focus on ‘how’ you can close the gap between the current experience design by men, for men, and delivered by men and the experience the most influential consumer expects. If you focus on how you and your team will live up to her expectations, then the results will follow.