Women’s Wednesday #73: 6 Contact Strategies that Pay Dividends with Women

Men and women communicate in different ways and have different expectations when buying a car. Therefore, it’s critical to incorporate different contact strategies into your communication methods with your women customers.

1. Know the difference between talking and communicating. There’s a big difference between talking to and communicating with women. Communication builds trust, and trust matters to women. In fact, trust ranks as the #1 reason women choose their dealer. Giving a standard sales pitch is not the least bit engaging to this audience. Communication involves listening and relating to your woman customer’s needs.

2. First impressions happen within 30 seconds – make them count. Human beings are wired to make snap judgments. So, while your sales advisor is making a judgment about a guest, that prospect is making judgments, too. First impressions go way beyond a polite greeting. Six in 10 women who don’t buy at your dealership on a given day won’t return to your store.

3. Body language matters – know what gestures and postures resonate well. Good posture, a genuine smile, eye contact, and a warm handshake all go a long way toward showing engagement. Body language matters in every customer encounter, not just the initial contact. Unless it’s to gather information about a vehicle, put away your phone.

4. Too little or too much – what’s the just-right amount of contact that creates satisfaction? Throughout the course of working with buyers, your team has several opportunities for communication. Over the ownership of the car, follow-up phone calls, emails, and repeat visits will be necessary. How often should you contact your customer? There’s no single formula for each prospect buyer. Ask a customer for their contact comfort level and read their non-verbal signs. Over-communicating is as unhelpful as under-communicating!

5. Choosing the right form of communication can make or break a deal. Today’s social media world has expanded the forms of communication. Customers have contact preferences. Ask women how they prefer to be contacted and honor their wishes. Some may prefer a phone call. Others might want email. Text messages are another option but should be used carefully to avoid overuse. Customers have several activities competing for their attention, so don’t be “that message” that causes annoyance.

6. Customer contact takes many forms – understand the brand message being relayed. Messaging comes in many forms: direct contact with a sales advisor, advertising, online reviews, friends, and competition. Providing a consistent message from your brand to your customers and guests as well as the addressable market is crucial to building trust. This means having an awareness of the total, overall message your customer is receiving. They may not pay detailed attention to all communication, but they will notice inconsistencies, which may create negative questions. Keep your messaging on point and consistent.

Women look for much more than price when shopping for a dealership. Those who recognize what’s important to women will receive the payoff in satisfied, repeat customers and an increased bottom line.

Women’s Wednesday #72: Cracking the Car Code for Selling to Women

Pre- and post-purchase analytics are the key to cracking the code for selling to your #1 buyer: women. Women are buying 45% of all vehicles today, which translates to 819 total vehicles per year at an average new car dealership. Yet most business leaders still don’t celebrate this market, nor do they undertake mining data to advertise and sell directly to women.

Understanding why women buy or don’t buy from a particular dealership or sales advisor can be a game-changer for your dealership.

WSI Reports

Now, executives can get direct feedback from their own women consumers and guests to understand their experience. Over 90% of women who write reviews on Women-Drivers.com opt in to a proprietary 25-question survey in one of 3 areas: buying, shopping, and the service drive. These qualified insights take the guesswork out of marketing and allow dealers to improve and fine-tune sales techniques.

The WSI® Dealer Report allows astute general sales managers to channel the voice and collective feedback of their own women customers to help improve perception, process, and messaging. The chronicled findings fundamentally enable these leaders to become ambassadors for positive change and increase sales to this buying segment.

DOWNLOAD the report NOW.

Want to crack the car code with your #1 buyer and boost your sales performance and reputation?

Women’s Wednesday #71: Trust is the #1 Factor!

Your Trust Dashboard Part 2

In our most recent blog, we reported that trust is the #1 factor for women in determining where they buy and service their cars. Yes, there’s a direct parallel between increasing trust to increase sales. But trust can be a nebulous concept.

9 Ways to Create Trust and Convert It into Sales

  1. Track as much data as possible. If you aren’t already keeping statistics on these guests and customers, start now. This will provide feedback to see how programs are working and who falls off.
  2. Know your women customers. Encourage them to write reviews. Read your reviews with a critical eye and always thank, acknowledge, and respond to each one.
  3. Stay in contact with your guests and customers post-visit to answer their questions. Work with your sales advisors to build a trusted relationship so women are comfortable.
  4. Treat women prospects and customers with respect and use active listening to ensure that their needs are met.
  5. Ensure that your website speaks directly to women customers. Create a friendly, inviting digital presence. Remember, your website and social media are your 24/7 sales advisors.

  6. Host educational seminars and publicize the seminars on social media or in service drive reminder cards. This is a great way to continue engagement with prospects and customers.
  7. Talk to your sales advisors and employees. What ideas do they have to help increase trust? Are they comfortable with the programs you’ve created? Do they feel they can implement them with positive results?
  8. Include relationship-building messaging in your advertising. Price cuts or having a female spokesperson isn’t enough. Think about what’s in it for her and convey value-added benefits. Women use dealer reviews 50% more than men, and reviews influence women 3 times more than price. Include statistics about your reputation and reviews and show Dealer of the Year awards.
  9. Make your service center worth the visit. A waiting lounge with Wi-Fi, refreshments, and workspace is a minimum today. Loaner cars are the top concierge item requested by women. Other appealing amenities include free car washes, oil changes and state inspections, a no-hassle return policy, and non-commissioned sales advisors. Be sure to include these in your advertising. Remember, it’s not just the price that matters.

Increasing trust to increase sales is an interactive process that requires practice and dedication. Over time, smart dealers learn what works and can implement increasingly effective processes. Ultimately, the reward shows on your top and bottom lines.

Women’s Wednesday #70: What is Your Trust Dashboard?

Your Trust Dashboard Part 1

Do you know the #1 reason women choose a particular dealership to buy a car over another? It’s TRUST. Surprised? Many dealers think the lowest price is the top reason. Research shows women seek a trusted advisor first to help them navigate the myriad of choices when selecting a vehicle. This means your dealership’s perceived level of trust by guests and buyers has a direct impact on your bottom line.

How do you grow trust and convert this to more women customers?

You Can’t Grow if You Don’t Know

First, learn about your women customers, specifically:

1. What percentage of your leads are generated by women?

2. What percentage of your business is generated from women?
3. What percentage of your service drive business is generated by women?

Nationally, women purchase 45% of the cars. This is a great benchmark for determining how your individual dealership is performing when it comes to female market share.

Once you know your own numbers, create a benchmark “Dashboard” to show your starting point. Include the statistics from above and create goals and a timeline for increasing performance.

Gain Valuable Insights:

  • What percentage of your women-prospect leads convert to buyers at your dealership?
  • What is your average retention rate for women in the service drive?

Compare Results

Once you implement plans to increase sales by increasing trust, track your progress. Keep statistical information front and center for your front line team and employees. Engage them in the process to reiterate ideas and create new programs. Evaluate what is working and investigate areas that are not improving.

Their success is your success.

Women’s Wednesday #69: How to Tailor the Brand Experience for the Decision Maker

It’s critical to create ways to tailor your consumer brand experience to the female buyer. She is your number one referral source and the key decision maker of 85% of all purchases at your dealership.

We recently had the distinct privilege of interviewing Katie Mares, who inspires audiences around the world to think differently about their customer experience and service.

Katie shares, “Dealers that are not curating an experience for the female buyer are losing her lifetime value, which Carl Sewall has estimated at $517,000. That is serious money and margin.”

Here are 4 tips from Katie on tailoring the consumer brand experience toward women:

1. Create real relationships. Building trust with your female consumer base is extremely important when it comes to referrals and their desire to purchase a vehicle. One of the best ways to do this is to create real relationships. I use the word real intentionally, as women can sense when someone isn’t sincere and will walk. Get to know your female consumers through actively listening, showing compassion and empathy, and taking an interest in what they need or want (even if it’s outside purchasing a car).

2. Make it personal. Capture information and use it in a meaningful way to tailor the experience and make it personalized. For example, if a customer has spoken about her son Johnny playing in a soccer tournament, make sure to ask about this the next time she visits. Remembering this detail not only makes her experience personalized, it also contributes to building a stronger relationship.

3. Create a female-friendly atmosphere. Ask yourself, “Is my dealership female friendly?” Here are some things to look for:

  • Is the music appropriate?
  • How vast is our magazine menu selection?
  • An overnight car is the number one item requested by women in the service drive. Do you offer this concierge service?
  • What is the temperature in our dealership? Is it too cold?

There are many ways to create a more open and friendly environment, but you must flip the lens and look through another POV.

4. Train for EQ. EQ—that’s the good stuff like having self-awareness, listening, and having empathy. It’s critical to building your sales to women. One of the main reasons women walk out is because they don’t like the way they were approached or treated. Advisors with high EQ can read people’s nonverbal cues and can adjust their approach based on the needs of each consumer.

Focus your training on soft skills (EQ) and layer in the IQ (product knowledge) as you go. When you blend EQ and IQ, you will receive optimum engagement from your female consumer.

Each of these tips will help to create an above-board customer experience that ultimately will increase your CSI results on all fronts plus outstanding reviews, loyalty, and retention.

For more information visit, www.katiemares.com and