In its first analysis of the top 10 selling car brands of 2015, Women-Drivers.com provides insights into women car buyers’ preferences and experiences. The report includes the top selling brands by units sold including Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Jeep, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, and GMC (in descending order, with sales volume sourced and provided by GoodCarBadCar.net).
The report includes intel about what women have experienced while shopping, buying and servicing their vehicles at new car dealerships. This data is specifically generated from participating dealers who are certified through Women-Drivers.com. This information helps forward-thinking dealerships understand the nuances by brand for women buyers who are the largest buying segment and influence the most purchases. Unlike other reputation sites, the source of the information comes from reviews and opt-in surveys. 9 out of 10 women nationally opt-in to the 25 question survey.
Perhaps conventional wisdom says that most buyers are basically alike; that a “one-size fits all” approach is simple and works fine. The report indicates otherwise. While some results from the survey across brands appears similar, there are enough differences to warrant a closer look. The same definitely holds true for the dealership and dealer group reports.
In today’s information-rich world, it is sometimes difficult to sort out what really matters. Reports like the “Women Car Buyers and the Top 10 Brands” distill key data points by brand into easily understood analysis that can help you drive more dollars to your dealership’s bottom line.
How well do you adapt to new techniques for improving sales? Are you up-to-date on the latest buying trends of the ever-growing women buyers’ market segment? Are you confident your departments meet the needs of women, who now buy half of all cars and influence 80% of the purchases?
Adapting to change to Surge ahead of the Competition
Today’s information-driven world allows dealerships to collect and analyze customer intel to help fine-tune sales and service strategies to increase business. Change is challenging. However, unless customer and market intel is collected and analyzed, it is impossible to tell if your store is reaching it’s potential. To stand out, maximizing strategies for female buyers is a key way to improve revenue.
1. Dealer reviews have become so common that 80% of shoppers use them to choose what dealerships to visit.. But how are you marketing to women who rely on reviews twice as much as men? Further, they depend on reviews written by other women – seeing them as authentic and more relateable.
2. With numerous ways to shop, women are armed with an overwhelming amount of information before even stepping into the showroom. A strong digital-to-showroom approach is important and having a trusted online presence that speaks to your women+families is imperative. Use lifestyle content from the Women's Car Guide to cultivate and build a trusting relationship with your female clients that keeps you top of mind, by providing educational and engaging posts and newsletters.
Did You Know? Dealership websites are the top place women go first when researching to purchase a car.
3. Unlike other review sites, Women-Drivers.com provides unprecedented, thorough consumer intel from your own customer experiences when shopping, purchasing or servicing her car. Working to constantly improve the customer journey will result in continued stellar reviews, trust and marketshare build.
This week we are having a look at relationships with women customers. Traditionally, after women buy their car, they come into your store for mandatory service visits or for a recall. It's a bit like a Yo-Yo effect. What do more meaningful and ongoing interactions with women look like? A dealership might offer free car washes or birthday oil changes? What about a “happy anniversary this-is-the-day-you-bought-your-car-here-and-we-appreciate-you” tire rotation? These are opportunities to build relationships with women customers and for her to keep you top of mind.
Innovative Engagement and Enrichment
Innovative digital tools like Women's Car Guide provides touch points to cultivate and build a trusting relationship with your female clients that keeps you in a fluid relationship, while providing educational tips to women+families.
A woman may just buy a car every 5-8 years, but she uses it several times a day. Content in the Women’s Car Guide can be seen as a trusted resources all year round by emailing her articles that are relevant to her. Or, they can be used in newsletters to all your subscribers. The mobile responsive Women’s Car Guide integrates into your website to showcase lifestyle and life-stage articles.
It improves time spent on a dealer’s website. Content also auto-posts to the dealer's Facebook page. Reviews are also integrated to showcase transparency with this emerging market that relies on authentic feedback.
Click to see Women's Car Guide.
In the world of connectivity, click here to learn how to stay top of mind with your women shoppers.
This week, hot-off-the press, we’ve got the 2016 U.S. Women’s Car Dealership Report, showing how progressive car dealerships make a difference in the experiences of women and families. This national report shows what is important to women when shopping, buying and servicing their vehicles.
The information in this report is drawn from over 4,000 women’s reviews and opt-in surveys. Using the reviews, Women-Drivers.com generates a Women Satisfaction Index® (WSI Score), ranging from a high of 5.0 to a low of 1.0. The surveys are used to delve deeper into women’s shopping, buying and servicing experiences.
This information is specifically generated from dealerships certified through Women-Drivers.com based on the customer reviews. These progressive, forward-thinking dealers use the company’s platform to improve sales and service experiences for their women clients. Dealers who participate, continually evaluate the data an consumer intel they receive to ensure they maintain high scores, knowing women rely on reviews almost twice as much as men.
“Unlike other 5-star review sites, we give women the opportunity to write quick reviews and then opt-in to a 25-question survey, which 9 in 10 women nationally participate in” said Anne Fleming, President of Women-Drivers.com. “Our platform empowers women to respond in an honest and productive way, thus, helping certified dealers evaluate and improve the customer experience. This data helps dealers take the guesswork out of marketing and selling to women."
Certified Women-Drivers.com Dealers receive an average satisfaction score of 92%, which is 23% higher than non-certified dealers. Women rely on reviews 50% more than men, so having positive ratings has a direct impact on a dealership’s building trust and the bottom line.
Women have a variety of options when shopping for a car and have an array of information available. It is always in a dealer’s best interest to understand how to engage women, and tune their strategies to maximize this buying segment’s interest.
Click here to read the full Press Release about the 2016 US Women’s Car Dealership Report.
What Are The Elements?
What are the various elements in creating great chemistry with women visiting your dealership? The good news? Half of all women buyers shop at only one (1) dealership. The bad news? 6 in 10 women report that once they leave a dealership and didn’t buy, they never return there. YOU HAVE A SMALL WINDOW TO MAKE AN OUTSTANDING IMPRESSION.
Download The Dealership Periodic Table and review this with your executive staff and sales, service and BDC advisors. Lets review these closer:
Today’s shopping starts long before a woman walks in. What chemistry are you creating with your Internet, Facebook and Twitter presence? Is your site appealing & personal? Is it engaging? How about reviews – are they easy to find? Don’t forget to show various demographics. Have value-add content. And, certainly you site should be mobile responsive.
2. Social Media
Social media keeps your message current. Daily posts show that your dealership is actively engaging. Be a trusted resources by providing educational, lifestyle and life-stage content. Reviews by women for women will bring great results, too; women rely on reviews more than men.
Be sure to offer women-centric ads that speak to what matters - like safety and practicality. Think of ways to differentiate your store from the competition. How do you show a woman and her family that you are the better choice? Your advertising should speak of engagement and service.
4. Store Environment
When a woman arrives, her perception forms instantaneously. Aesthetic chemistry matters. Flowers, artwork, fresh paint and a warm environment add comfort. Another important aspect is a balanced workforce – it reflects that you are heading into the future.
Your sales advisors have the task of engagement. A good impression is mandatory, and goes beyond appearance and friendly demeanor. Women demand a respectful, trusted advisor who is interested in finding the best car for her. How well does your team understand the nuances of Emotional Intelligence? Advisors should be able to detect frustration and concern, which means they must be excellent listeners, too.
6. F & I
Here, she is dealing with a new person, altogether. If she perceives she is being coerced or her questions aren’t being answered to her satisfaction, she can become uncomfortable; that can unravel the entire buying experience. Keeping it easy, be patient, and be a solution provider.
7. Service Drive
Here she will again interact with a new group of people. This critical relationship delivers revenue to your dealership for 5-8 years, and is a lifeline. Getting a car serviced is rarely a welcome task, so it is important to take steps to ensure convenience and comfort. A courtesy vehicle is a must, as well as a comfortable waiting area with Wi-Fi. Dealerships that build great chemistry go beyond the standard – they provide healthy snacks & beverages, PlayStations and child play areas as well as workout rooms and business lounge. Educational videos and seminars help retain and engage clients.
Larger dealerships have a Director of Customer Experience that takes a true pulse of your customer’s journey and charts course corrections if necessary. They solicit fair and authentic reviews, thanking and acknowledging your customer’s contribution. Be sure to use reviews by and for women in your advertising, outbound emails, web site and social media.
9. Your Ideal Buyer
Last but not least is the chemistry of an ideal woman buyer. Not all buyers will fall into this category, but you and your staff have a real say here. With your dealership’s help, she can be confident and comfortable throughout. She can drive away in a car that she loves, feeling satisfied and excited. She can feel empowered knowing she has a thorough understanding of her car and your ongoing commitment to her satisfaction. If she has a question, she knows exactly who to call.
Happy New Year to you all! Now is the perfect time to reflect on your current customer engagement and interactions strategies in order to exceed this past year's business. How to achieve this? Does this sound unreasonable? For starters, with the emerging buying power of women, unemployment at its lowest rate in years, and millennial buyers out in full force, 2016 may very well be a repeat performance. Naturally, it's nothing to be taken for granted and every walk-in matters.
The Right Formula
When it comes to customer service or sales, we often talk about having the right chemistry with a customer. But what does that really mean? What are the right ingredients to attract women shoppers, turn them into buyers and keep them coming back to your service center? There are many combinations of the “right formula” and it can seem very complex to find the optimal combination. We have created a handy chart to use as a reference for steps your dealership can take to help “re-create” the right synergy and drive more dollars to your bottom line this new year.
Download Now and share this with your team at the next sales/company meeting. Women-Drivers.com will take the next few weeks to touch upon the elements creating chemistry and trust including WEBSITE, SOCIAL MEDIA, ADVERTISING, SALES, STORE ENVIRONMENT, F & I, SERVICE, and REPUTATION. Lastly, we will discuss how all of the processes, people and planning you have in place have a huge difference in driving in YOUR IDEAL BUYER.
Do You Know?
CERTIFIED Women-Friendly Dealers have a 92% Satisfaction score – 23% higher than Non-Certified Dealers. Further, 6 in 10 women DO NOT return to a dealership when they leave and 55% of women only go to 1 dealership. The take-away? There is a lot at stake on that first visit. #ChemistryMatters
Last week we began a two-part series on the brain. More specifically, the science of how it works, or Neuroscience. This is a hot topic. Leveraging scientific knowledge about the brain can create a better sales process, drive more dollars to your dealership’s bottom line and create happy women customers that remain loyal to your dealership for years to come.
Let's check “under the hood” at the Limbic System and the Neocortex. After last week’s Part 1 article, you know that when selling cars, it had better be your NeoCortex doing the work – and definitely not your Limbic System. When selling to women, having the optimim level of engagement with your buyer is imperative. While you know that intellectually, it helps to have reminders in place to reduce the natural tendency to let your brain’s autopilot take control.
4 Strategies for Interrupting the Autopilot of your Brain
1. Know what matters to women. Women have a list of needs when buying a car, but emotional factors also figure into this decision. The top reason women report buying at a particular dealership is not price. The top reason is the customer service and treatment received. Price ranks second. This is important, because it really means you have to have the best price and top that off with unparalleled sales and customer service.
When it comes to what women look for when working with a specific sales person, trust and respect rank first and second. Here, the Limbic System is at work in your woman prospect’s brain, comparing you with her memories and making emotional judgements. The easiest way to build trust is to listen carefully and remain present.
2. Be confident, but not overly so. Confidence matters in life, but over-confidence can derail a potential deal. Overconfidence can allow you to miss the subtle emotions from your prospect that may be signaling she is apprehensive, intimidated or frustrated. Keeping overconfidence in check can help you ask the questions necessary to mitigate any concerns she may have.
Her emotions may have nothing to do with your dealership or your sales process. She may have brought those emotions with her from another experience, and it is up to you to find out how to overcome the issues. Listen more and talk less to help you assess how the deal is proceeding.
3. Stay logical. While emotions will play into a car sale for your woman buyer, it is important that you stay logical and focused. Relying on your intuition, instinct or “gut feel” has great potential to mislead you. Relying on a “smile” from your prospect as an indicator of her happiness, can be completely wrong. Studies show that 90% of people smile when they are frustrated. Again, culture and gender can be at play here – women often smile out of habit to placate others.
Your instinct has a good chance of perceiving false signals of success. Keep a logical perspective on the immediate situation to keep from misreading anything.
4. Find out what you don’t know. I’s easy – and natural - to rely on experience and knowledge when selling. Your prospect will expect you to have answers to her questions. Often times, however, it’s what you don’t know that will break the deal.
Maintain an open mind, and ask questions until you know what you need to know to lead the sale to a successful close. For example, some women may have trouble articulating their issues about the car they want, the warranty, or the loan. Don’t assume you know what they are asking before you answer a question. Careful not to interrupt or answer the question before she’s finished asking.
There is nothing easy about being human. But paying close attention to paying attention will make a real difference when selling to this emerging, powerful market in the New Year.
As we get ready to embark on a new year, we will dedicate the last two issues of Women’s Wednesdays in 2015 to an ultra-sophisticated topic….the Brain. More specifically, the science of how it works, or Neuroscience. Why? Leveraging scientific knowledge about the brain creates a better sales process, drives more dollars to your dealership’s bottom line and creates happy women customers that remain loyal to your dealership. Toning down the Limbic System and firing up your Neocortex will help your sales team avoid “autopilot” and turn potential lost sales into successful deals and new clients.
Lots of times women come into the dealership and may say “just browsing”. But when a genuine buyer or potential successful sale falls through, that is met with real surprise to the staff. There may be questions like “What did we miss? What was going on with her?”
When an expected conversion doesn’t happen, it is human nature to blame or to shrug it off and say someone wasn’t a serious buyer. By employing new ideas, however, your sales team will avoid miscues – and missed sales. Let’s take a closer look.
The Brain’s Autopilot
Any activity that is repeated over and over can become routine. Our brains are built that way for efficiency. The brain’s Limbic System stores these memories and reactions so we can call on them again rather than “recreate the wheel.” This system can be handy when we are doing tasks that don’t require a lot of new thought, such as driving a car.
The Neocortex, on the other hand, is the best part of the brain to use during a car sale. The Neocortex is in charge of language, reason and analysis. This part of the brain needs to be active and supercharged during the sales process in order to take in all of the information necessary to understand interactions with your customers.
Here are some ideas for reducing the natural tendency to let your brain’s autopilot take control:
1. Assume your woman browser is a buyer until she buys a car. This may sound silly, but it is important not to dismiss anyone who is IN A DEALERSHIP looking at a car. On average, women visit two dealerships prior to buying a car. Dismissing any prospect may mean she buys at the “other” store. Stay engaged and find a way to interact with your women prospects.
2. Beware of blind spots. Gender is a powerful filter for the way people look at the world. Bridget Brennan, author of “Why She Buys” and CEO of Female Factor, thinks it is “more significant than age, income, ethnicity or geography” in the way we see the world. It pays to examine if your dealership and sales advisors have preconceived notions about women buyers. Brennan suggests studying women as you would a foreign market, because “cultural differences dictate language, behaviors and perceptions.”
Making assumptions can prevent accurate assessments of the potential success of a sale. Allowing emotions to cloud logic is easy to do – that Limbic System is always ready to turn on and take over! Work to remove any unconscious bias so that the sales engagement doesn’t follow the path of past unsuccessful encounters. Next week we will examine 4 new ways to Interrupt the Brains AutoPilot.
Last time, we discussed not selling cars like they are “power tools” in your advertising. You know, “the best this, the best that”— it is so cliché and it doesn’t resonate with women. Here are four recommendations to ensure that your sales approach doesn’t fall into the “power tool sales” category, but rather, speaks to women about what’s important to them:
Sell more than cars in your advertising. Women look at car ads, read dealer reviews and use social media to help make a car buying decision. Do your ads only talk about price? If so, spend more time conveying your reputation for excellent service and trustworthy business. Be the dealership that attracts women buyers because they can get a great car from a trusted, respectful sales advisor AND great service for the next five to eight years.
Show that your customers matter before, during and after the sale. Include reviews by women on your website and social media. Provide stories about happy customers. Show women that your service center is professional, fast, trustworthy and provides amenities that matter to women.
Did You Know?
Nearly 40% of women out earn their husbands. And when researching for a car, women rely on car reviews about 50% more than men.
Understand and respect women’s emotions. Be sure your sales advisors understand woman aren’t “ just shopping". Understanding body language will teach you if your customer is engaged in the process. (e.g., folded arms, stiff body and short responses probably mean the conversation is not going well). Be sure to listen – distinct from hearing.
Be ready to answer tough questions. For women, a car is much more than a way to get from point A to point B. Women will do plenty of research before visiting. Be ready to listen to a woman’s needs and have truthful, knowledgeable answers ready. If you don’t have those answers, the dealership down the road will.
Sell your dealership, too. Let women shoppers know what is exceptional about your service business Is it free car washes? Courtesy vehicles? Do you have extended service hours or exercise rooms? How about quiet spaces to conduct business? What is exceptional about your dealership? Let women know this when they are shopping for a car!
Ultimately, the most important thing to remember when selling to women is: don’t assume anything. The world of women’s car buying is changing continuously.
Women buyers have different reasons than men for choosing where they finalize the deal. Understanding the nuances of women’s buying habits can mean the difference of making a sale or losing it.
It's easy to make the assumption that price is the first priority. Price does matter, but it’s weighed along with more emotional priorities like trust and respect. When women are asked their reasons for purchasing at a particular dealership, price is the #2 factor. The top reason is a positive engagement with the sale associate.
Now, think about your car ads and commercials that run each week. How much focus is on the price? Remember women are buying over half of the cars today and influencing 80% of the deals! Be careful your advertising isn’t too slanted toward sounding like power tools from the home improvement store. Cars and power tools may be perceived the same by men, but women see more nuance in the car deal.
Did You Know?
Women rely on reviews and reputation 50% more than men. Showcase your stellar reputation in commercials so women "get" what a reputable, comfortable and trustworthy place your store is to do business.
Sell more than cars in your advertising. Women look at car ads, read dealer reviews and use social media to help make a car buying decision. Be the dealership that attracts women because they can get a great deal from a trusted, respectful sales advisor AND great service for the next five to eight years.
Show that your customers matter before, during and after the deal. Include reviews by women on your website and social media. Provide stories about happy customers. Show women that your service center is professional, fast, and trustworthy and provides amenities that matter to women, like a comfortable place to wait, service hours that respect her time and extras, like a courtesy car.
Today’s news is full of articles about the buying power and habits of the “millennials”, which has an estimated population of 78 million. This Women’s Wednesday is part of a multi-part series we are exploring about women buyers within this segment. Of millennial buyers, 53% are female. Understanding the nuances of selling to this new generation of women can put your dealership in a position to leverage the newest car buyers and truly increase your market share in today’s ever competitive industry.
Our latest study tracked 620 reviewers and sheds light on the similarities and differences between millennial and non-millennial women that will help you create age-specific sales techniques. Both millennial and non-millennial women ranked their satisfaction level with dealerships as very high.
1. While “excited/excitement” is the #1 emotion the buyer felt while shopping for a car, millennials report “relaxed” as being number two, versus “apprehensive” for non-millennials.
Why it Matters and How to Leverage: The newest generation of women reports they are more relaxed and confident when buying a car than previous generations. Why? According to a study by Ameriprise Financial (June 2014), millennial women are more in control of their finances and enjoy making these decisions. Six in ten millennial women (vs. 43% of non-millenial women) reported they learned about finances from their parents.
Additionally, younger women are more comfortable using technology to arm themselves with the information they need to make car buying decisions. Astute sales advisors who understand and respect this confidence will quickly gain the trust of their potential car buyer. A good sales approach is to ask questions, respond truthfully, and guide car shoppers through the remaining information needed to make a decision. Above all, assume these women are smart, and have spent a lot of time learning about what they want. While they may have less experience buying cars than older generations, they have a wealth of information at their fingertips that has not been readily available in the past. They are prepared and fully capable of accessing that information while inside your dealership.
2. “Trustworthiness” and “respect” are ranked #1 and #2 for millennials’ reason to buy from a sales advisor. “Understanding” replaces “knowledgeable” as #3. Millennials visit slightly more dealerships to look for a car.
Why it Matters and How to Leverage: Millennial women hold trust and respect as the top qualities they insist on for a sales advisor. They expect their sales advisor to understand them and what they want in a new car. Many millennials are first time buyers and combined with the knowledge and confidence described above, want to feel they are making a comfortable choice. Trust and respect comes from realizing millennial women have done their homework about what is available to them.
Sales advisors will benefit from listening carefully to what their millennial shopper is saying and provide honest answers to her questions. A prepared buyer doesn’t need help with all of the decisions. Learning to perceive where the grey areas are can help accelerate a sales decision. Be there to help, not coerce. And listen, don’t lead.
Today’s cars continue to become smarter as they “learn” and adapt to the behaviors of drivers. Cars “listen and learn” about the driver to provide the optimal driving experience.
How can your sales advisors learn to engage, optimize and convert women shoppers into buyers and provide the optimal sales experience? What changes can your dealership make to create an ongoing relationship with this demographic, which is 50% of the national market?
Women shop at 30% more dealerships than men. How do you differentiate yourself beyond all that noise - and create an effective sales process that lasts beyond a car sale?
1. Think emotionally. Emotions matter! Respect and trustworthiness are the top two reasons a woman buys from her sales advisor. While 50% of women are excited about their car purchase, only 30% are confident. Price matters, but emotions carry the day when buying and securing a woman buyer’s satisfaction level.
2. Respect your shopper’s time. Everyone is busy. Your woman shopper may be on her lunch hour or ready to pick up her kids from school shortly. She certainly isn’t window shopping; she is there to accomplish something. If a woman senses you can’t assist her – even if she said “no, I’m just looking” - she will go elsewhere. And, when buying, the average woman spends 3 hours and 20 minutes at a dealership. See where you can save time to make it quicker and more efficient. Be honest, when was the last time you bought a car from your own dealership?
3. Visualize Your Best Dealership. How do you help your sales advisors have the highest possible EQ? How do you see your dealership changing if you proactively educate your sales and service advisors to read your buyer’s emotions? What would happen if you empowered them to adjust to advance a sale? What if your hiring procedures screened for people with high EQs as well as strong sales skills?
Women visit 30% more dealerships than men when buying a car. Several factors contribute to this variance. According to KBB, women are twice as likely as men to be undecided about which car they want. Add to this the fact that women are less confident (38%) about car buying than men (58%), and take longer to make a decision; 75 days for women vs. 63 days for men.
The tendency for women to shop at more dealerships, coupled with different buying criteria, can be turned into an advantage for any dealership willing to lean in and take the right steps to meet the needs of this emerging segment of car buyers.
4 Ways to Attract Women to Your Store
Check this out -- 60% of women do not purchase from the dealership brand closest to their home.
1. Women rely on car dealership reviews 50% more than men and they prefer reading reviews written by women. A dealership will benefit from encouraging happy and satisfied women clients to write reviews. This has an additional benefit, because women who are satisfied will leave a higher-scoring review.
2. Nearly one-third of women report their dealer’s website as “unhelpful”. Making sure your website appeals to women will keep them on the site longer and help speed a buying decision. This means knowing and highlighting what matters to women, such as durability, safety and economy, not just MSRP.
3. Women rank respect and trust at the top of the list when it comes to working with a sales advisor. Customer excellence ranks higher in a purchase decision than finding the best price or deal. Creating a comfortable environment that establishes trust and respect makes the difference for sales now and in the future.
4. Women now account for half of car purchases and influence up to 80% of auto buying choices. In a study by University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, women drivers now outnumber male drivers 105.7 million to 104.3. Understanding these statistics and reflecting them in your sales approach and process are important to foster an environment of trust and respect.