The auto industry is constantly trying to capitalize on the next big "target market." Seeing as female buyers influence more than 80% of carbuying decisions, dealers and automakers are trying figure out what makes them tick, but it is really not that complicated.
Friend of Jalopnik, A.J. Baime has complied some fascinating research in a piece for the Wall Street Journal about how the industry is responding to millienal buyers, particularly women.
Here are some highlights:
- Women accounted for 39% of car purchases in 2013, up from 37% (that is about 300,00 vehicles)
- 74% of women feel that they are misunderstood [by car marketers]
- Women wield influence in anywhere from 85% to 95% of car purchases.
- 47.5% of women who bought a new car went to the dealership by themselves.
Most of the study focused on the development and marketing of products to female buyers, but what concerns me is what happens when people actually go to purchase something. As a buyer's consultant I speak to both men and women everyday about their auto purchases and I still hear from women buyers that dealerships treat them differently than men.
Silly dealerships, you don't need some think-tank to learn how to sell cars to women. Just treat them like you would any other customer. Specifically...
A woman who walks into the showroom is not some clueless dame who wants a nice set of wheels that will be financed by her husband. Chances are that the woman who walks into the dealership knows more about the product than you do, so don't go making shit up. That may have worked in the past, it doesn't work anymore. Answer the questions, and if you don't know the answer say, "I'll find out for you." That phrase doesn't mean that your manly parts don't work anymore, it just means you have to ask someone else. Trust me, your customer will respect you more.
You may think, "Oh, women love to shop. They spend all day at the mall trying on shoes and whatnot. They won't mind a few hours at the car dealership." Wrong. Female car buyers want to spend the least amount of time possible at a car dealership, like everyone else.
None of this ,"Well if we can get your monthly payment to X, will you buy the car?" bullshit. If they ask for the best price, go talk to your manager or whatever (see above about time) and tell them the best possible price that you can sell the car. This is especially true for online shoppers. In case you are not already aware, if they emailed you they also emailed other dealers. So think of this as the Wild West, whoever shoots first and shoots best (cheapest) wins.
Don't tell a female customer that the "extended warranty is mandatory" or that the "$200 VIN etching helps protect her investment." I get that margins are slim and you need to make money in the F & I office. If you want to offer products that give the buyer an opportunity to purchase some extra peace of mind, go for it. But there is a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it.
None of what I just said is groundbreaking in any way, good salespeople have known these tips for awhile. This is because the above tips work not only on women, but EVERYONE. Because women are people, and people don't like the hassle of buying a car. So minimize the hassle, and you will be a successful auto salesperson.
(Photo Credit: Shutterstock)
If you have a question, a tip, or something you would like to to share about car-buying, drop me a line at AutomatchConsulting@gmail.com and be sure to include your Kinja handle.