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The Upside of Customization – Don’t Say ‘We Treat Everyone the Same’


8 Strategies to Add Value with Women Buyers

In today’s hyper-competitive business, women car buyers are crucial for dealers’ success. Here are some game-changing data points about this market segment that is spending an estimated $445 billion on new vehicles at new car dealerships:

  • 45% of women purchase cars by themselves[1]
  • 53% of millennial car buyers are women[2]
  • 38% of women out-earn their husbands[3]
  • 56% of women do not buy from the brand dealer closest to their home[4]

What is your dealership doing to not only engage, but to be a destination dealer to this growing and loyal buyer? When dealership sales and leadership personnel say, “we treat everyone the same,” what is really means is that they greet guests consistently and similarly with a sales process in person or digitally.

However, having the capacity and ability to treat each guest the same simply can’t be accomplished. It’s the perfect ideology, the perfect philosophy that we all want to live by, but the truth of the matter is that it is not possible. After all, we are humans. We can’t be shaped and programmed to treat everyone the same. And, who wants that anyway? Certainly not your customers.

In fact, the golden rule that we heard growing up is becoming a thing of the past. The higher standard that is demanded by customers today – especially women –  is the “platinum rule” – treat them the way they want to be treated.

It Simply Isn’t True

Think about it. Does a physician treat all her patients the same? Does your child’s teacher treat all his students the same? Of course not. They would have a pretty bad reputation if they did. It’s the same with your customers, walk-ins and guests. What brings them into the dealership, their finances, needs, influencing factors, and their comfort and ability to negotiate are all personal and individual.

A dealership’s sales team undergoes the same level of training. How is it that some sales advisers are so much more engaged and sell to women with ease? Their “Emotional Quotient,” or EQ is high, and they listen well, ask questions, don’t interrupt and never assume. Others, even seasoned “car guys,” can have a more challenging time — sure, they may “get through it,” but they may not have the comfort and success rate.

Customized Treatment is Critical

Today is about customization, both in offering tangible and intangible services. The same holds true in selling and approaching customers. Using the same opening line and attempting to sell customers equally may not go so well.

This means dealerships must ensure that their front-line teams and BDC don’t deliver cookie cutter lines, openers, or emails to customers; but rather understand each customer as well as possible the way they want to be treated.

That’s what customers are now looking for. Not just a sales exchange, but a positive experience – after all, they are buying a product that averages thirty-five thousand dollars.

With the auto industry gradually tilting from male- to female-focused, leading dealerships are trying to understand this large and growing market segment. It’s time to break away from the so-called ideal philosophy of treating everyone the same and begin to deliver tailored treatment to each customer. And, who knows what that approach will be until the customer speaks, and dictates it?

What Matters to Women: Now and on the Horizon

How does a destination dealership adopt new techniques and create a more exceptional methodology to engage more women buyers in this competitive environment? Here are 8 strategies:

  1. Be sure to engage each female customer in a trusting, respectful manner. After all TRUST in the sales advisor is the #1 reason women buy from a dealership. Ask questions to get a true understanding of what she is looking for and how to be a trusted adviser. Don’t stop asking until at least five questions have been answered by each guest. Get to know her. That is relationship building and what women want.
  2. Be supportive, attentive and interested. Above all, listen.
  3. Speak in full sentences to women. Many times we hear that sales advisers say “leather or cloth”? etc. Don’t be in such a hurry that you stop speaking to them and instead start talking at them.
  4. At a sales meeting, brainstorm on ideas for opening conversations and icebreakers with women.
  5. Utilize a digital-to-showroom strategy. Start attracting your customers in the comfort of their own home by having an attractive web site with reviews for and by women. Use tools like “Salesperson Connect” on Cars.com or DealerRater that allow women to begin a dialog with a top-rated sales advisor of her choosing, based on any number of criteria that speak to her.
  6. Adopt a strategy of “evidence-driven reputation” in your advertising by using reviews to boost confidence and trust in your dealership. Include and showcase your DealerRater Dealer of the Year and Consumer Satisfaction Awards.
  7. Adopt a web-rooming strategy on your web site. Have web content that is of value and demonstrates you care.
  8. Outbound emails should have informative content and always be of value to each client individually.

Click here to learn more about the DealerRater suite of products that are helping more than 6,400 dealers nationwide connect their salespeople to consumers before they step on the lot to inspire trust.

Anne Fleming is the President of Women-Drivers.com, the leading review company amplifying women’s cutting-edge experiences at Certified Trusted Dealers. The company helps dealers by providing solutions that foster trust, engagement and sales. For more information visit www.joinwomendrivers.com or Twitter @Womendrivers.

[1] Women-Drivers.com 2017 US Women’s Car Dealership Report http://www.joinwomendrivers.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/2017-us-womens-car-dealer-report.pdf

[2] Wall Street Journal, https://www.wsj.com/articles/car-sellers-refine-pitch-to-women-1408575175

[3] “Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey.” Bureau of Labor Statistics. United States Department of Labor. March, 2014. Web. February, 2015. http://www.bls.gov/cps/wives_earn_more. htm#table25new.f.1

[4] Women-Drivers.com 2017 US Women’s Car Dealership Report http://www.joinwomendrivers.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/2017-us-womens-car-dealer-report.pdf