Women in the dealership

Ananth GodavariAre you missing an opportunity?
by Megan Hanson

Are you missing out on an opportunity to grow your sales by widening your appeal to female customers? Did you know, according to a Women-Drivers.com 2017 report, 45% of women purchase cars by themselves. And 56% of women do not purchase from the brand dealer closest to their home. Women tend to use more social media and rely on referrals from their friends and family when making purchasing decisions. Poor online reviews and bad experiences relayed by a friend can lessen your dealerships chances of attracting this valuable group of buyers.

Let me share with you my own true story about purchasing my current vehicle. It's not far off from that of most of my female friends. I was that woman who thoroughly researched the car they wanted before heading to the dealership. I'd been to the car show and looked at every vehicle that suited my needs. I narrowed my search to two vehicles: the Toyota 4Runner and the BMW X3. I headed, with a male friend, to both dealerships to take a test drive.

First we went to BMW to check out the X3. The salesman would only speak to my male friend despite him clearly stating that I was the car buyer. And when I drove the X3, the salesman decided to point out the mirror in the visor, the cup holder and a good place to put my purse. Yes, I kid you not. This was the salesman's pitch to me.

Then we headed to the Toyota dealership to drive the 4Runner. I'd met a salesman at the car show who answered all my questions and handed me his business card. When we got to the dealership, I asked for him specifically. He remembered me and immediately set up a test drive. He discussed the options on the 4Runner including the tow package and upgraded stereo. He didn't insult my intelligence.

As a petite female, I can honestly say that it's intimidating to walk into a dealership and see a room full of men. I happen to be car savvy but wonder how many women would appreciate the opportunity to work with a woman. I know sometimes it's easier than having to explain my decisions to a man. Why? Because woman think differently than men. Our desires for what we want in a vehicle are a bit different than what our male counterparts might desire.

OR ARE THEY REALLY?

In my case, I wanted a small SUV that drove more like a truck, could possibly tow a boat, had leather seats, and a nice stereo because I like road trips. One salesman listened to me and the other insulted me. And even though I liked how the X3 drove a bit more, I bought the 4Runner because of how the salesman treated me.

It's no secret that the car industry is male dominated. And as a female consumer, sometimes it's nice to work with another woman. I'm not saying that only women get other women because my Toyota salesman respected my opinion and he ultimately got my business. But having women in sales or management positions might help attract female customers who've had similar experiences to mine. And in this era of small margins, where customer service is key, isn't any advantage you can get a sound business decision?

For more information about Autopeople, please go to www.autopeople.com or email us at info@autopeople.com or call 1-800-659-9501.

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