Recent results from surveys conducted by CARMAX and Capital One Auto Finance, concluded that women continue to be unsatisfied with their car buying experiences. The fact that 80% of all car buying decisions are influenced by women and 50% of all new car purchases are made by women, suggests that the market for women buyers represented $80 billion dollars of new car sales, reported in 2005, (source NADA data). These numbers are rather disturbing considering that women are still buying 50% of the automobiles, yet their car buying experiences have not improved according to these recent surveys.
Here is a recent quote from an article written on www.askpatty.com by Toby Bloomberg, Co-Owner of a well respected marketing Diva Marketing Blog on how to market to women, “As a card carrying Diva, I must admit I love to shop. Shoes, clothes, books, music I even like grocery shopping. However, there have been a few traumatic experiences in my shopping life and several of those were centered around car shopping”.
It appears dealerships are definitely selling cars to women; The question is, will they “be back” to the same dealership for their next car purchase as a loyal happy customer?
Several recent trends promise better results from dealerships and dealership groups who are taking these recent survey results seriously and “get” that women are controlling much of the profitability of dealerships through their growing “buying power’.
Here are some of the strategies emerging from dealerships to improve customer satisfaction scores from women consumers
*Recruiting, hiring and training additional female sales and service advisors.
*Holding workshops and clinics for women to educate women on car care, financing, service and maintenance.
*Giving flowers, gift baskets and spa treatments to women as thank you gifts for new car purchases.
To take the word ‘traumatic” entirely out of women’s comments about their car buying experiences, dealerships need to listen to what women want and need and learn create a way to make buying a car as pleasant and rewarding as their other retail shopping experiences.
Many women really love to shop and here lies one of the problems when “dealership salesman” and “woman shopper” collide at the dealership. When a woman says “I am just shopping”, 90 % of the time she really means she is just shopping! The well honed and trained super dealer #1 professional salesman takes these words, “I am just shopping” as a battle cry. Mr. Car Salesman immediately decides to take the challenge and take out his bag of dealer sales tactics and do whatever it takes to close the deal before she escapes! She may even end up actually buying a car, but in the end somehow ‘feels’ manipulated and frustrated because she was not able to complete her mission and complete her due diligence and research by ‘shopping’ before she makes her buying decision. Will she buy again at this dealership and report a good experience, I think not.
Communication and listening differences between car dealerships and consumer women are what I believe to be a ‘core’ issue dealerships need to address. By providing ongoing required educational training to adjust or modify sales tactics will insure the “buying power” of consumer women come in to dealership showrooms and stay there.
In part two of this series on how to sell cars to women I will discuss more on communicating with women consumers, effective advertising and marketing tactics to women consumers and provide some additional resources for dealers.
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.
About Ask Patty:
Ask Patty is a safe place for women to get advice on car purchases, maintenance and other automotive related topics.