Women’s Wednesday #17: (Don’t Say) “We Treat Everyone the Same”

Today we focus on customization when selling to women. When dealership personnel say that they “treat everyone the same,” what that really means is that they greet prospects consistently and similarly with a sales process – whether in person or digitally. However, having the capacity and ability to treat each customer the same simply can’t be accomplished. It sounds nice as a concept, but after all we are humans, not robots. We can’t be shaped and programmed to treat everyone the same. And, who would want that anyway? Certainly not your customers. But, it’s more than semantics.

It Simply Isn’t True
Does a physician treat all her patients the same? Does your child’s teacher treat all his students the same? Of course not. They would have a pretty bad reputation if they did. Why? Each patient has his own well-being issues and each student performs at her own learning style that is personal to them. Why would it be any different for a client or customer purchasing a car? What brings them in, their finances, influencing factors, comfort and ability to negotiate are all personal and individual.

Don’t Let Past Experiences Interfere with Sales
It’s important to advise and remind your sales team not to let their past experiences interfere with their sales engagement. But that is much easier said than done! Folks who sell cars are just like us all; sometimes those experiences from the past influence the way we behave in the present. It’s largely because each and every one of us has a neurological make-up filled with fright and flight responses. Let’s take a closer look.

Sales advisors interact with numerous customers every day. The good, bad and ugly experiences, behaviors, reactions and emotions of previous situations are all stored in the human brain. When confronted with a similar situation, whether consciously or not, elicits reactions based on past recollections, right? A dealerships’ sales team undergoes the same level of training. How is it that some sales advisors are very engaged and sell to women with ease? Others, even seasoned ‘car guys’, may get through it, but have less comfort and success.

Customized Treatment is Critical
Today is about customization, both in offering tangible and intangible services. The same holds true in selling and approaching customers. Using the same opening line to sell customers equally isn’t going to work. Being ‘customer-focused’ means going the extra mile in delivering quality experience to each customer individually according to their preferences.This means dealerships must ensure that their team of experts on the sales floor and BDC don’t deliver cookie cutter lines, openers, or emails to customers; but rather understand each customer as well as possible. That’s what customers are now looking for. Not, just a sales exchange. Wow, it’s a tall order!

Understanding the customer is more crucial today because our industry is shifting from male to female-focused, leaving dealership management trying to truly understand this growing market segment. It’s time to break away from some idea that you are ‘treating everyone the same’ and start to deliver tailored treatment to each customer.

For 7 Tips on How to Customize the Customer Experience, and more on this topic Click here to read

Want to Sell More Cars and Distinguish your Dealership to Women?
Click here

Did you receive a Free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here

 
Good Selling!

Don’t Say “We Treat Everyone the Same”

When dealership personnel say quickly and almost automatically that “we treat everyone the same”, what is really meant is that they greet prospects consistently and similarly with a sales process in person or digitally. However, having the capacity and ability to treat every walk-in customer the same simply cant be accomplished. It’s the perfect ideology, the perfect philosophy that we all want to live by but the truth of the matter is that it is not possible. After all we are humans, not robots. We can’t be shaped and programmed to treat everyone the same. And, who would want that anyway? Certainly not your customers.

And, it’s more than semantics.

It Simply Isn’t True
Think about it. Does a physician treat all her patients the same? Does your child’s teacher treat all his students the same? Of course not. They would have a pretty bad reputation if they did. Why? Each patient has his own well being issues and each student performs at her own learning style that is personal to them. Why would it be any different for a client or customer purchasing a car? What brings them into this dealership, their finances, influencing factors, comfort and ability to negotiate are all personal and individual.

A dealerships’ sales team undergoes the same level of training. How is it that some sales advisors are so much more engaged and sell to women with ease? Others, even seasoned ‘car guys’, can have a more challenging time – sure, they may “get through it”, but they don’t have the comfort and success rate?

Don’t Let Past Experiences Interfere with Sales
During sales training, it is important to advise sales professionals not to let their experiences from the past interfere with their sales engagement. But that is much easier said than done. Folks who sell cars are just like us all; they have full and robust lives, and sometimes those experiences from the past influence the way they behave in the present. It’s largely because each and every one of us has a neurological make-up filled with fright and flight responses. Lets take a closer look.

Sales advisors interact with numerous customers every day. The good, bad and the ugly experiences, behaviors, reactions and emotions of previous situations are all stored in the human brain. When confronted with a similar situation, whether consciously or not, elicits reactions based on past recollections.

Let’s say a sales associate approaches a women shopper who resembles a one-time friend with whom the relationship soured. Instantly and unconsciously there will be a negative association formed with this customer. In most cases the sales process will not go well or be successful as the sales professional person fails to deliver customized, service. In most cases when pressed what went wrong, the sales member feels and believes that “that customer rubbed me the wrong way.”


Customized Treatment is Critical
Today is about customization, both in offering tangible and intangible services. The same holds true in selling and approaching customers. Using the same opening line and attempting to sell customers equally may not go so well. According to the new world definition, being ‘customer-focused’ means going the extra mile in delivering quality experience to each customer individually according to their preferences.
This means dealerships must ensure that their team of experts on the sales floor and BDC don’t deliver cookie cutter lines, openers, or emails to customers; but rather understand each customer as well as possible the way they want to be treated. That’s what customers are now looking for. Not, just a sales exchange. And, it’s a tall order!

Understanding the customer and offering customized treatment has become even more crucial today because the auto industry is gradually shifting from male to female-focused, leaving dealership management trying to truly understand this large and growing market segment. Its time to break away from the so-called ideal philosophy of treating everyone the same and begin deliver tailored treatment to each customer. And, who knows what that approach will be until the customer speaks, and dictates it?

Tips for Your Dealership

  1. At a sales meeting, brainstorm on ideas for opening conversations and ice-breakers with women.
  2. Women buy a car because they trust and respect the seller. Period. Ask questions to get a true understanding of what she is looking for and how you can be a trusted advisor. Don’t stop asking until at least 5 questions have been asked to each customer. Get to know her. That is relationship building and what women want.
  3. Outbound emails should be personal and of value to each client. Provide her with women+family relevant content that will truly assist her. For example, if a prospect is considering leasing and needs a few days to consider the numbers, send her a personal email from your dealership with a link to this article. Customers appreciate when they are made to feel special and that you care.
  4. Be supportive, attentive, and interested. Above all, listen.
  5. Speak in full sentences to women. Many times we hear that sales advisors say “leather or cloth”? etc. The point is there is another adult being spoken to, so don’t be in such a hurry that you stop speaking to them and instead start talking at them.
  6. Don’t ask for a test drive too early without being very clear on #2 above.
  7. Don’t jump to conclusions about any of your customers. Even with a husband and wife and who is going to initiate the paperwork. Keep your eyes on both of them.

Women’s Wednesday #16: The Good + Bad News about Your Service Drive: What Women Want

Today we are looking at the Service Drive. This is the critical department where your female customers visit in between purchasing or leasing their vehicles. With all the touch points in the service department, it's also happens to be the highest gross margin department in your store. It's the place where retention happens – or doesn’t.

The Good News?
Women are having very good experiences on the front end of the dealership. 93% of women report it was easy to schedule their service appointment. Furthermore, a stellar 95% of women report being satisfied with the way they were greeted by the service advisor. Better yet, 96% were completely satisfied with their dealership experience. Bravo!

The Bad News?
There is a drop off at the end of the interaction. How so? Only 69% of women report receiving follow-up communication from their dealership… a huge miss! Why not send them a personalized email for a free car wash? A free tire rotation or oil change? Additionally, 13% of our reviews report the service was not completed correctly, on time or at the estimated price. This is more troubling, as over one in 10 women can be leaving your dealership, and because you don’t even know it , you can’t resolve the issue and retain that customer.

Want more information on this all-important topic? Click here to read

Want to Sell More Cars and Distinguish your Dealership to Women?
Click here

Did you receive a Free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here

 
Good Selling!

Women’s Wednesday #15: Women Walking Out – What is it Costing Your Dealership?

Today’s Women’s Wednesday is a must-read as we focus on the cost to your dealership when women walk out.

In the Wall Street Journal last month, it was reported there are now more women drivers on the road than men. The last several years the auto industry has witnessed a big and not so surprising shift in the car buyer demographics particularly in terms of gender.

This leaves many dealerships shifting their paradigm in terms of how to re-strategize their business and marketing plan to truly optimize sales to women. And, it’s leaving other dealers unsure as to exactly how to do that!

Women Walkouts: A $4 Million Cost Analysis
Dealerships don’t even know that they can increase their sales another
$4 million dollars a year. How? Most walk 10-15 women out their door each month and don’t even know it. By paying more attention to women and providing critical respect + trust the whole way through the sales engagement process; those browsers can be converted to buyers. Easily.

Did You Know?

Today, when a woman walks out your store dissatisfied without making a purchase, it’s a matter of concern, because:

  1. If she isn’t buying from you then she IS going to buy from your competitor
  2. If she isn’t buying from you then there is a good chance she will be writing a review on a car dealer review platform about that experience
  3. If she isn’t buying from you, you not only lost the sale, you lost the RESIDUAL REVENUE
  4. RESIDUAL REVENUE = Vehicle + (Service Drive Visits X 3-6 years)
    + Future Vehicle(s)
  5. THIS is happening at your store EVERY DAY; It's what you DON’T KNOW THAT YOU DON’T KNOW

Double Check Your Automatic Response, “That Doesn’t Happen Here, We Treat Everyone the Same”
Women shop at 1.9 dealers before buying a vehicle, or the equivalent of 30% more dealerships than men. Why is that? They want to get it right, and avoid getting it wrong. Don’t be so quick to think she is not leaving your store. An unhappy potential car shopper walking out of your store costs you a fortune – literally. Here’s what is put on the line when this happens:

1. You Lose the Opportunity to Make a Quarter-of-a-Million Dollar Sale
Women buy or lease an average of 8 cars in their lifetime. At today’s average price of $32,500 that money adds up quickly. Plus service drive visits over the long haul; that is a huge chunk of gross profit and sales, too.

2. You Lose a Customer for Life, or at least a Long time
Lose the loyalty that this woman and family + friends bring. Not to mention, her many referrals. Huge miss!

3. You Lose More Potential Buyers
Women are influential. This can work in your favor or against you. So, whether she is just looking around and browsing, you need to offer the ultimate shopping experience so that she walks out your door feeling content. If that happens, she’ll spread the word and – return to buy. If it doesn’t, she will walk and talk. It’s a pretty simple formula. Which side of the $4 million will your dealership be on? In today’s hyper-competitive market, its time to pay much closer attention.

Want more information on this all-important topic? Click here to read

Want to Sell More Cars and Distinguish your Dealership to Women?  Click here

Did you receive a Free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here

 
Good Selling!

What’s the Cost to Your Dealership When Women Walk Out?

It’s been verified. In the Wall Street Journal last month, it was reported there are now more women drivers on the road than men. The last several years the auto industry has witnessed a big and not so surprising shift in the car buyer demographics particularly in terms of gender. Men, who have been strongly associated with cars, touted as their ‘first love’ and accounted for the biggest chunk of auto sales, have now taken the back seat as women take the lead and are the fastest growing car buying segment.

This leaves many dealerships shifting their paradigm in terms of how to re-strategize their business and marketing game plan to truly optimize sales to women. It’s leaving more dealers unsure as to exactly how to do that. Company president Anne Fleming shares, “Most dealers say quickly and unequivocally that they know exactly how to market to women. It’s the brave and daring ones that share they are looking for more than just a “women spokesperson in the family” to market to this powerful buying group. If you don’t have an exceptional understanding of this market, ups and potential customers are likely to slip away.”

Women Walkouts: A $4 Million Cost Analysis

Dealerships don’t even know that they can increase their sales another
$4 million dollars a year. How? Most walk 10-15 women out their door each month and don’t even know it. By paying more attention to women and providing critical respect and trust the whole way through the sales engagement process, those browsers can be converted to buyers. Easily.

Lets take a closer look. Maybe a decade ago when a woman walked out of a dealership without buying it wouldn’t have mattered. Today, when a woman walks out your store dissatisfied without making a purchase, it’s a matter of concern, because:

  1. If she isn’t buying from you then she IS going to buy from your competitor
  2. If she isn’t buying from you then there is a good chance she will be writing a review on a car dealer review platform about that experience
  3. If she isn’t buying from you, you not only lost the sale, you lost the RESIDUAL REVENUE
  4. RESIDUAL REVENUE = Vehicle + (Service Drive Visits X 3-6 years) + Future Vehicle(s)
  5. THIS is happening at your store EVERY DAY; It’s what you DON’T KNOW THAT YOU DON’T KNOW

Double Check Your Automatic Response, “That Doesn’t Happen Here, We Treat Everyone the Same”

Women shop at 1.9 dealers before buying a vehicle or the equivalent of 30% more dealerships than men. Why is that? They want to “get it right, and avoid getting it wrong.” Don’t be so quick to think she is not leaving your store. An unhappy potential car shopper walking out of your store costs you a fortune – literally. Here’s what is put on the line when this happens:

1. You Lose the Opportunity to Make a Quarter-of-a-Million Dollar Sale
Women buy or lease an average of 8 cars in their lifetime. At today’s average price of $32,500 that money adds up quickly, especially for larger dealerships. Add service drive visits in there over the long haul; that is a huge chunk of gross profit and sales, too.

2. You Lose a Customer for Life, or at least a Long time
The larger dealerships loose the loyalty that this woman and family + friends bring. Not to mention, her many referrals. Huge miss. Even if she had a bad experience at one brand, rarely will she return to this “family dealership” to buy from another brand. You lost her and her referrals.

3. You Lose More Potential Buyers
Women are influential. This can work in your favor or against you. So, whether a woman is just looking around and browsing in your store or actually thinking of purchasing a car, you need to offer the ultimate shopping experience so that she walks out that door with a smiling face and feeling content. If that happens, she will spread the word and refer you to her friends, family and – she will return to buy. And if she doesn’t have a great time at your dealership, she will walk and talk.

It’s a pretty simple formula. Which side of the $4 million will your dealership be on? In today’s hyper-competitive market, its time to pay much closer attention.

Women’s Wednesday #14: Empowering Women at Your Store: What’s in it For You

The Latest in Women Buying Cars

In today’s competitive marketplace, women buyers are crucial for auto dealers’ success. Just take a look at numbers and reported growth opportunities in a recent Wall Street Journal article.

It may be no surprise that car buying is an emotional purchase for women. Even on the heels of a recent survey showing women are comfortable with negotiation than men, there is still a huge upside for dealers to create an empowering buying experience for women.

Did You Know?

Every other woman in the United States purchases a car by herself. While many women are confidant and excited, others walk in with different emotions. Consider, that 3 in 10 women report being apprehensive about their visit while 20% are nervous and overwhelmed. You don’t know which woman coming in your door is feeling what. Nonetheless, it is vital to encourage and boost women’s confidence, respect and trust from the get-go. Establishing trust-based relationships and assisting them in a considerate, flexible, non-intimidating manner is the equation for having a browser convert to a buyer. Anything short of that, she walks.

Tips to Empower Women and Increase Buyers + Retention:

  1. Respect and Trust are the building block to every car sold today. It begins with greeting her in a timely and friendly manner. Eye contact is locked in and the smart phone is put away.
  2. Invite women to use your wifi or child play area. Would they like a cold or warm beverage?
  3. Have them lead the conversation, but it’s your job to ask questions. What distance does she drive to work? Does she have children? What type of activities does she do? Talk to women like you are having coffee with her. Don’t be in a hurry to get her into the car for a test drive.
  4. When asking about features, be sure to use full sentences with women, not “leather or cloth.” Our senior trainer friend, Vicki Parker, provides these tips that make a difference when engaging with prospects. Women don’t want to be rushed, they want to build and create a sense of relationship.
  5. The four-corner-around-the-block-11-minute-test-drive doesn’t serve all customers anymore. Let women make their own trail. Bring the car to their work place to test drive when needed. Better yet, let her take it overnight so the family can give it a true road test. That is one way to surprise and delight your customer.
  6. The average length of time it takes a woman to buy a car is 3 hours and 30 minutes. How about a “Buy a Car in 120 Minutes or Less”? Women love saving time.
  7. Have an open door Car Wash Policy.
  8. The #1 concierge item requested by women is an overnight vehicle. It is no mystery women do not want to have to wait for someone else to pick her up, be dropped off by a van, or — have to pay for a rental car. Make it easy for your customers.

Want to Sell More Cars and Distinguish your Dealership to Women?  Click here

Did you receive a Free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here

 
Good Selling!