How Women Consumers Are Modernizing Car Dealerships by Women-Drivers.com Printed with permission
raditionally, the car dealership environment was one where women felt they needed to “bring someone with them” in order to feel comfortable. Let’s face it, the industry was built by and for men. With decades of cultural, financial, and educational empowerment, as well as technology, training and transparency advancement, we are now in a new era altogether different from the experiences of the past. Every year, women car buyers buy millions of new and used cars. What steps are you taking to capture your share of this powerful demographic? Women do their research prior to stepping into a dealership. Reviews assist them in determining which stores to visit first. They trust themselves and are looking for trust from their front-line ambassador. Culture and values are important when choosing a dealership. While the buying population is trending female — there is still much work to do. Dealers are at a crossroads: Exploring ways to shift the face of the front-line team to match your marketplace. Hovering between generational mindsets regarding ways to manage the business. Managing new advertising messages to meet new customers and customer segments. Creating inclusiveness and diversity in their culture.
Dealer owners and influencers need to focus on why the above numbers are acceptable, rather than explaining it away as “consumer behaviors.” These interactions are having an enormous negative effect on revenue. The top reason women report leaving a dealership without buying is “they didn’t like the way they were approached and treated” and “the sales advisor was offputting, or her questions weren’t answered to her satisfaction.” To reduce this trend, hire sales members from the hospitality industry where delivering a high level of customer experience is expected. Telecom retail experience is another source, where trained staff sell a technical product and work long hours. It is expected that customer-facing experts from other industries have knowledge in problem-solving and finding results, not just “selling”. Some guests are browsing and shopping and are distinct from folks who walk in ready to buy. Someone browsing is checking out your store and your people. They may also want to test drive a car. Pay attention to these guests. If you don’t approach them at the right time, they will walk out the door and not be heard from again. These guests may say they are “just looking.” Train your team to give breathing room but to stay attentive.
By exploring new ways to engage and reach these buyers, dealers can not only increase their sales, but establish higher rates of retention.
Defined by the FAA, Flight Planning is the process of producing a plan for the proposed aircraft flight. This includes forecasting and preparing for headwinds and all types of weather conditions. In flying, as in business, these climates come and go, don’t they? Anytime there are risks, a plan is required. You don’t hope that customers come into your store. The FAA doesn’t base their model on hope, either. They have a certified plan to ensure a certain aircraft takes off, flies to its destination on time and arrives safely, even with bumps and variables along the way. Who are your qualified planners? What are the benchmarks you use? What new benchmarks might you use? What new messages can be crafted to engage new buyers?
A Look through the Gender Lens Shows High Tolerance Problem
In the 2017 Women’s US Car Dealership Report, 54% of women buyers reported going to one (1) dealership and having a good experience. That is great news. But a resounding 46% of women said that they visited an “average of 3.2 dealerships” when buying a car. Why do we report this? This number is two times larger than the 1.6 average dealerships than the “average consumer” visits. These statistics indicate that dealers have a high tolerance for women walking out of their store. Business must be good at some level to allow this. Even when it comes to online leads, only 5% convert to a purchase. March 2021
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What’s your Flight Plan?
A Frightening Signal for Change
Profound changes in the market will continue to put more pressure on the traditional dealership group. 41