Three Ways to Treat Women Car Buyers Better

Going the extra mile to connect with all consumers, male and female, on a personal level will yield successful results.

Tony Graham

March 19, 2018

4 Min Read
Three Ways to Treat Women Car Buyers Better

It’s no secret traditional dealerships haven’t tailored the car-buying experience to women.

While many dealers recognize the importance of changing this fact, the thought of overhauling the sales process can be overwhelming. However, dealers only need to look at their numbers to realize now is the time to focus efforts on developing a friendly, welcoming sales experience for women buyers.

Buying a car is an intimidating process and one of the biggest financial decisions most people will make after buying a house. 

Women in particular feel uncertain and often spend much time researching vehicles online before heading to a dealership. They arm themselves with knowledge so they can get what they want in a car. But that’s not the only reason.

Many women still see the auto industry as an old boys’ club where they’re treated as an easy mark not acknowledged as a decision maker.

With just 7% of frontline management, sales and service adviser positions currently occupied by women, it’s easy to see why female shoppers might feel their voice and perspective aren’t represented at the dealership.

Dealerships who don’t address this are taking big risks. Women make up more than half of potential buyers and wield influence. Eighty-five percent of car-buying decisions are influenced by women, and they spend at least $200 billion annually on vehicle purchases and services.

Yet, most women would still rather visit a dentist than buy or service a car at a dealership.

What can dealers do to help make buying a car an experience that ranks well above getting a root canal? I’ve outlined three tips which can benefit all dealers:

First, start online.

Dealer websites are important in attracting female customers. With many consumers – including women – starting the car-buying process well before stepping into a dealership, put all necessary information to buy a car online. That includes inventory, pricing, credit applications and contacts.

A dealer’s website should also offer basic information about the dealership itself, including services and amenities such as loaner-car availability or a waiting room with a children’s area. Featuring such amenities show customers you respect and value their time.

Second, be transparent and build trust and relationships. It’s no surprise transparency is important to all consumers.

Providing information up front increases the likelihood women will want to shop with you. It also helps to ensure they’re spending less time on other websites, which could eventually lead them to a different dealership.

Services such as CDK Connected Store offers consumers the opportunity to shop by accurate lease or finance payment on a dealer’s website, build a complete quote online for a vehicle of interest and then pick up the nearly completed buying process in-store. That saves time and builds conviction in that vehicle and that dealer.

When customers finally enter the dealership, it’s essential the sales team focuses on building relationships as opposed to selling based on their own agendas. Women car buyers are looking for friendly, caring and compassionate sales associates who are willing to listen.

That brings us to tip three. Listen, listen, listen. Seventy-six percent of women consider dealer websites valuable in the car buying process, according to a 2014 Accenture study. Since women car buyers are arriving at dealerships armed with a wealth of information, sales teams should listen to understand what’s important to them in a new vehicle.

When salespeople and service advisers act as helpful consultants, it shows they value their customers as individuals. It has a huge impact on the dealership’s reputation.

According to J.D. Power, women are more likely than men to post positive online reviews. Social media plays a bigger part than ever in reputation. Cultivating a good reputation will lead to an increase in shoppers – particularly women, who also are highly likely to check reviews as part of their research.

Simple post-sale actions such as sending follow-up emails with direct links to leave reviews on reputation sites or asking to take a photo of a shopper on her phone and reminding her to tag your dealership can go a long way.

Many dealers are on the right track, but some are still stuck in old-school ways and cater to just one type of buyer. They risk alienating half of the population, damaging their reputation and leaving money on the table.

Mitigate the fears of female car shoppers by addressing their concerns about the buying process, listening to needs and building relationships.

Going the extra mile to connect with all consumers, male and female, on a personal level will yield successful results.

Tony Graham is CDK Global’s chief customer experience officer responsible for strengthening connections between the information-services company and customers. He acts as the voice of the customer to both consumer-facing and dealer-facing products.

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