Ready… Set… Winter!

December 21st is the official start of winter, but depending on where you live, you may have already fallen victim to its first arctic blasts. Some of you that live in the west or the south can skip this blog, but for most of the country, winter will soon be upon us. According to the 2017 Farmer’s Almanac, this winter is going to be a doozy filled with bone chilling temps and lots of ice and snow.

A few simple steps to take care of the inside and outside of your car will go a long way towards keeping your ride safe and smooth this winter – whether you’re headed on a ski trip to the mountains or just trying to navigate a blizzard on your way home from work. Before the cold, wintry weather moves in to stay, make sure car is ready for the season with these Ready, Set, Winter! tips from Michelin:

Inside:

EMERGENCY KIT: Carry an emergency kit with gloves, blanket, flares, a shovel, flashlight, water, extra batteries and cell phone charger, as well as an emergency contact list with important phone numbers.

BATTERY: Battery capacity is decreased significantly by cold weather. Before the winter months, have your dealer or mechanic check it to ensure it’s at peak performance. It’s also a good idea to carry jumper cables in your car, should you ever need someone to give you a boost.

HEATER & DEFROSTER: Make sure the heater and defroster are in proper working condition for occupant comfort and visibility.

INTERIOR MATS: Using winter mats in your car can go a long in keeping your car’s interior clean during the snowy, slushy months.

Outside:

TIRES: Tires lose pressure as temperatures drop. Even if winter conditions are mild, remember to check your pressure once a month.

If you’re driving where temperatures consistently approach freezing, consider a winter tire like the Michelin X-Ice Xi3, built for superior traction and handling in winter conditions.

LIGHTS: Inspect your headlights and brake lights to ensure they’re fully functioning, which are especially important during winter fogs or heavy snow.

WIPERS: Buy washer fluid with antifreeze solution to protect visibility and ensure windshield blades are in good working order.

WAX: A fresh coat of wax before the snow flies can help protect against damage from salt and dirt.

Safe Travels this Winter.

Women’s Wednesday #55: How Your Dealership Can Capitalize on Emoji’s

Last time, we discussed how imperative it is for your sales advisors to recognize, understand and empathize with the emotions of each buyer. Discerning emotions can impact the approach and the sale. And this, readers, directly influences your dealership’s reputation!

Women & Reviews: A Closer Look
Women-Drivers Certified Trusted Dealers have a 92% Satisfaction Rating which is 23% higher than Non-Certified Dealers. How does this translate to your CSI and Retention Rate? In a BIG way.

Maybe it's time for you to consider what the cost is of not having a marketing plan to women. Learn More Now.

First to Market: Emoji’s Boost Sales & Reputation
Emojis are pervasive in social media, and serve an important purpose. Since emoji’s are so common, people have adapted to both selecting and interpreting the meaning behind them.

Since women rely on dealer reviews 50% more than men, it is important that women not only be able to read reviews by other women, but that can see at-a-glance summary of someone’s experience. Women-Drivers.com added emoji’s to help reviews better identify their feelings.
And, it's quick.

How can your dealership capitalize on the use of emoji’s? Ultimately, the emotions experienced go beyond classification within a few emoticons. Emotions make up a large part of a shopper’s experience. This will result in happy, smiley faces on both your customers and in your reviews! And, your bottom line.

Women’s Wednesday #54: Do Emotions Play A Part In The Process?

Car Buying and Emotions, Part I
Women shop and buy cars for a number of reasons, but regardless of the reason, emotions are involved in every step. The emotional range can start with excitement about the prospects of a new car, to apprehension when signing papers, to frustration when taking a car in for service.

Why Emotions Matter
During the buying process, your customers will experience a range of emotions. You know this. It is important to understand how these emotions ultimately end up reflecting on your dealership.

Women-Drivers.com has tracked the emotions reported by 3,105 women car buyers, and they are:

  1. Excited 55.7%
  2. Relaxed 34.4%
  3. Confident 30.7%
  4. Apprehensive 30.3%
  5. Nervous 25.8%
  6. Overwhelmed 20.1%
  7. Intimidated 11.4%
  8. Confused 8.6%
  9. Frustrated 8.6%

These percentages add up to more than 100% because respondents can submit multiple answers.

It’s key for your sales advisors to recognize and understand these emotions. They are a normal part of the buying process for any large-ticket item. What becomes important is the ability to discern if these emotions are helping or hurting the approach. Savvy advisors ask the right questions to see if the negative emotions can be minimized by assisting a female buyer to feel more comfortable with the decision being made.

For example, a buyer who is overwhelmed or confused can easily decide to stop the process before it is completed. Recognizing these emotions and taking steps to clarify any buyer’s questions can mean the difference between saving and losing a sale. A buyer’s frustrations can be mitigated by streamlining the sales and financing process to eliminate wasted time.

Emotions make up a large part of a shopper’s experience, and smart dealerships will learn to monitor and do what is necessary to keep the emotions on the positive side.

Women’s Wednesday #53: Have you earned your bragging rights?

Does your dealership brag about your reputation? Do you constantly explore new ways to improve your interactions with customers and employees?

Big BragBrag Boards
Women rely on reviews 50% more than men and especially like reviews by other women. Reviews act as your 24 x 7 brag board by letting others hear the voice of your customer champions.

  1. Be sure reviews are front and center on your website and social media efforts.
  2. Don’t limit your reviews to only glowing comments or they will look pre-screened. Show how you readily solve problems.
  3. Post reviews in plain sight. A bulletin board provides a good way to reinforce your performance. Include reviews where customers will stop and pause, like in your service lounge.
  4. Encourage customers to write reviews about their visit. Let them know you are using their ideas to improve your ability to deliver outstanding service.

Explorations Boards
An exploration board is today’s “suggestion box.” An exploration board is very open and inclusive. Dealerships can start the conversation by using “what if” statements to get people thinking about specific topics, like:

  • What if each sales advisor sold an additional 5 cars this month?
  • What if prospects were immediately comfortable when they walked in the showroom?
  • What if today was the top selling-day of the year?

Here are tips for getting an Exploration Board started at your store:

  1. The board must be presented in a non-threatening way to gain participation from all. Using first names or initials can help keep the suggestions positive. Everyone’s participation is encouraged, and must be met with respect.
  2. Allow ongoing discussion of the ideas. Bring the exploration topics to staff meetings to encourage continuation of the conversation.
  3. Pick specific topics from the board and keep the discussion going. Turn suggestions into a new plan, adding metrics and goals. Post the results.
  4. Reward employees for participation. Let people know that their ideas can be brought to fruition.

Encouraging participation and showing the results makes a difference in your employees’ performance, and ultimately will drive more dollars to your store, boost morale and encourage healthy competition. Customers will feel that you are interested in their feelings and perceptions.

Employees whose ideas matter become happy employees, stay longer and interact better with customers. And that is really something to brag about!

Women’s Wednesday #52: Increase Sales to Women Buyers by $6 Million

Women-Drivers.com is excited to bring you this white paper on how you can generate up to $6,000,000 in annual sales to women. Now is the time to strengthen your position and turn your dealership into a destination for the fastest car buying segment. The headlines are reading how business is only getting tougher. Is it really going to finish up at another 17.5 million unit year? How will your store stack up?

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This white paper enables dealers to train their sales team and help develop new attitudes and behaviors to sell more cars. The bonus tracking worksheet allows GSM’s and SM’s to measure female guests (ups), referrals, and sales to measure this growth over time. CSI and retention are improved, too.

A Way of the Future: Stress-Free Buyers

Lexus Plus dealers introduces no-haggle pricing. Really!

Many people associate car buying with stress and hours of time as well as having to navigate a difficult decision process. Deciding which car is right is only the first step in a long process that includes negotiating, financing and service.

Women can find the process especially challenging, while trying to balance work and family. Women report that car buying creates a lot of apprehension and uncertainty.

Lexus Plus – Streamlining the Process Start to Finish
No-haggle pricing isn’t new. Pre-the great-recession, Saturn (when it was still around) was the first brand to adopted an “one price” strategy. Recently, even Cadillac announced it’s creating a retail overhaul that streamlines the sales process.

And now, Lexus has introduced #LexusPlus. This pilot program in 11 select dealers has a dedicated consultant for sales or service. This consultant is the single point of contact for the entire process, ensuring continuous communication throughout buying or servicing. This consultant has access to all of the information necessary to create a fast and efficient process. Click here to see Lexus Plus video.

No-haggle pricing is a big part of Lexus Plus. Each sales or service consultant knows the exact price of a vehicle or a service and offers transparency in how the numbers are calculated. No-haggle pricing removes the discomfort of negotiation and ensures that the buyer establishes trust in one person that will see the transaction through each stage – including financing. Frankly, a relief – for many.

Lexus may very well be on to something. Last year, Autotrader conducted a survey showing that 44% of car buyers did not want to negotiate the purchase of their vehicle. Other industry reports show that younger buyers are no longer interested in negotiating.

Jeff Bracken, group vice president and general manager for Lexus, shared more about what’s driving Lexus Plus, “Women rank trust at the top of their list of reasons to buy from a particular sales consultant. Lexus Plus appeals especially to this audience because relationships and transparency are the pillars of trust, and Lexus is already a strong brand with this powerful segment.”

Dealer Payoff
Dealers who adopt the dedicated consultant and no-haggle pricing strategy have several advantages over traditional sales methods:

  • Consultants can be selected to carefully match a dealership’s demographic. If the demographic is over 50% women, then at least half of the consultants should also be women.
  • Training is streamlined. When a consultant “owns” the start to finish process, can be delivered in a cohesive way.
  • Consultants provide a more personalized service, since they will get to know a customer in a more thorough way.
  • Possible issues during the deal will be more easily spotted, because one person is monitoring the transaction from start to finish.
  • A customer is likely to develop a more trusted relationship if there is only one consultant involved.
  • Further, because the client has had a rewarding experience over and over, retention and CSI will be increased.

Customer Payoff
A dedicated consultant can be a welcome change for a number of reasons:

  • A customer has a single point of contact for everything and can find answers to her questions quickly.
  • Streamlined communication and up-front pricing saves an enormous amount of time.
  • Knowing exactly who to talk increases a buyer’s confidence and reduces the confusion of shopping for a car.

Overcoming Possible Pushbacks
One price or “No-haggle” pricing may not be right for everyone. Customers who place a high value on getting “the best price” may feel negotiating is necessary, since it’s the overwhelming industry paradigm. Either way, get ready to see this more relaxed approach to car buying more and more over the next 5 – 10 years.