May 16, 2011
Is Your Dealership Certified Female Friendly?
Stephanie Young, Vice President of Business Development for The Manus Group, a premier provider of strategic sales force training, corporate leadership development and automotive and corporate recruiting services, posted an interesting entry on the Automotive Social Network recently, entitled “Helping Goldilocks Find the Right Car.”
In the post, Young offers a personal story of when she was in the market for a sports car. The first dealership she tried was inattentive, unwilling to listen, jumped to conclusions based on her gender, and even after she point-blank said she was only there to buy a sports car and would buy that day if she could only get a test drive, the salesperson still tried to steer her toward another vehicle because it would be “too much car for a young lady”.
This was years ago, but Young still enjoys the silver sports car she purchased that day from a competing dealership.
As a member of the automotive community, this was more than a personal experience for Young, but also a social experiment that has informed her own business practices. The salesperson who failed to help her let a stereotype ruin a good sale, something that can be seen more prevalently when dealing with female consumers, even though statistically women make 54% of all car purchases and influence up to 80% according to http://www.women-drivers.com/.
Those statistics may explain why there are several websites targeted to women drivers and women who might be in the market for a new car.
AskPatty.com, for example, is a site providing automotive advice for women. It offers a place for women to ask questions, rate places they have shopped for cars and service, and read up on some basic tips.
The most interesting aspect of the website, however, is the portion directed at auto dealers, tire dealers, collision centers, and auto service and repair centers. AskPatty.com offers a Certified Female Friendly® program for training and certification on how to attract, sell, retain and increase loyalty with female customers.
Learning an entirely separate sales strategy might seem like unnecessary effort, but the reality is that male and female customers are different, and a unique strategy for each could mean the difference between a sale and helping your competitor down the street get rid of a sports car.
Women are often intimidated about even starting to car shop or bring a vehicle in for repair because they expect to be treated as if they do not know anything about the industry. On AskPatty.com they can search for dealers that are certified as Female Friendly and feel more at ease before they even go in.
While the AskPatty.com program may not be for everyone, it may be time to consider how your dealership is marketing to female customers.