By Deborah Renshaw
NASCAR Professional Driver
I am a professional NASCAR driver, graduate of Northwood University with a degree in automotive marketing, the daughter of new car dealer owner ,Dan Renshaw of the Renshaw Auto Group, Bowling Green , Kentucky and grew up in and around the dealer world and from time to time work with my Dad there. We make a point to give women a great experience at our dealerships.
I wanted to give a few suggestions for dealerships to consider on how to improve their verbal communication skills with women buyers and create a better “buying” experience for women buyers. Communication can be verbal and non-verbal. Let’s look at some non-verbal ways to communicate with women effectively.
1. Smile and look women in the eyes when you greet them, keep your gaze above the shoulders.
2. Pay attention to her non verbal “cues” , she came to shop for a vehicle and wants to feel “in charge”, try not to rush to open doors and be the gentile escort, ask her if she would like you to get the door for her. Being the “gentleman” is appropriate behavior on a date; however these gestures may undermine her confidence and dilute her feeling in control during the sales process.
3. Provide a nice assortment of women’s magazines in your waiting rooms.
4. Have separate, clean and pleasant restroom facilities that include a changing table for young mothers with small children. Keep it well stocked with supplies. Go the extra mile and stock a few “extra necessities” to show you appreciate their “waiting time”.
5. Women want to be respected as savvy consumers, support and educate her during the sales process rather than take the role of the “know-it-all” expert car guy.
6. When women come in to your dealership with their husbands, be sure to greet, speak and make eye contact with both husband and wife EQUALLY, rather than direct all your questions and comments to the husband, in many cases she will actually be the one to make the final buying decision!
7. Go at her pace during negotiations, rushing her to close the deal “today” might backfire, women generally take longer to make a buying decision, however once satisfied with their purchase and experience with your dealership are typically more loyal then their male counterparts.
Did you know that women purchased more than 50% of all vehicles sold in 2006 and represent Billions of dollars of revenue to new car dealerships , yes I said Billion dollars in annual revenue for new car franchised dealerships in 2007 ? Women consumers are the majority new car buyers and represent a huge revenue opportunity for your dealership, how are you going to gain a larger market share in your local market?
What are you planning with your marketing and advertising budgets to attract, sell, retain and increase loyalty with women consumers at dealership?
What if any specific training is your dealership providing for you your sales, service and finance departments to increase their skills with women buyers?
Do you have a program to recruit, hire and train women for sales, service and finance positions?
Have you mined your DMS to identify and segment your women customers and create retention or loyalty programs?
What kinds of women’s initiatives are you working on for 2007? Check out the Ask Patty female friendly dealer certification program to help you gain your share of the majority car buyer here:
About Deborah Renshaw:
Deborah Renshaw a native of Bowling Green Kentucky, highest ranked female Professional NASCAR race car driver, Graduate of Northwood University Midland, Michigan Campus, graduate of the NADA Academy, daughter of dealer principle Dan Renshaw, Renshaw Automotive Group, heads up the advisory panel of expert automotive women for Ask Patty.com, Inc.
( www.askpatty.com ).