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.
So, you’ve received a poor review from a woman customer. Now what? First, remember poor reviews will happen. Someone will be unhappy with your dealership at some time. The same happens to Starbucks, Apple and Nordstrom. As long as the poor reviews are infrequent, they really are good news. Why?
- Customers expect to see a variety of ratings when reading reviews. If all are “exceptional”, customers will think they aren’t seeing the whole picture.
- You have a chance to correct the issue. Your dissatisfied customer could have not mentioned the problem and just told her friends. Instead, she took the time to tell you about it, and now you have a chance to work on it – and most importantly, the relationship
- It allows other women prospects to see the entire thread and see the larger picture as well as understand how you respond and treat customers.
The key issue for any ‘poor review’ is how you handle it. Here are a few things to consider:
- Use rating services that allows this type of feedback to be held offline until you have a chance to resolve the problem. (Certified Dealers on Women-Drivers.com allows 10 working days for customer resolution before posting the review.)
- Carefully read and note the real issue. Determine if it's a problem you need to address internally. Don’t dismiss it or think it is a one-time problem.
- Discuss the problem in a prompt manner with your customer. Be sure to thank her for the feedback and make sure she has been “heard and gotten.” Once the issue is firmly resolved, you may consider:
a. Offer a service coupon and ask her to give you a chance to make up for the inconvenience.
b. A follow up call from the Service Advisor or even the GM provides an appreciative touch.
c. Free car washes or lunch for two can be in order.
- Resolve the issue internally, even if it was a one-time problem. If one customer reported the issue, other customers may have experienced the same thing.
- Ask the customer if they are willing to re-write another review based upon this issue being resolved to their satisfaction.
Did You Know?
Customers who leave a bad review have taken the time to tell you about it rather than just walking her business elsewhere. View this as an opportunity rather than a threat and reap the rewards. Customer retention and recognizing the residual revenue in the service drive is paramount. Keeping a customer costs a lot less than getting a new one.
Car advertising is heavily slanted towards price. The buying demographic has shifted to women who now make up more than half of the sales, and influence over 80% of the deals. Today, it makes sense to move advertising to accommodate this powerful market sector.
Did You Know?
When women are asked why they bought a car at a particular dealership, the “Sales Advisor” was the #1 reason. “Price” and “Dealership Reputation” tie for second place.
All customers want the “best” deal possible and women are no exception. In fact, 7 of 10 women report that price is a top factor in purchasing a particular vehicle.1
What Does this Mean for Your Dealership?
It means that applying “softer and smarter” factors can improve the overall messaging effectiveness in traditional TV, radio and print advertising. Improved effectiveness increases reach, and provides more advertising dollar value. Let’s take a closer look:
Idea #1: Ensure your advertising conveys reputation, trust and respect. Reviews and scores are subtle forms of advertising that are ongoing, persistent and pervasive. Frankly, they create an evidence-driven reputation. Numbers speak louder than words. Emphasize your dealership’s rankings and how you compare with others in your brand category and geographic area. Consider using:
- Customer Testimonials: Authentic and local testimonials will personalize your advertising and convey a customer-centric approach.
- Reviews, especially reviews from women. Women are 50% more likely than men to read reviews, and prefer reviews written by women.
- Statistics to convey reputation, e.g., “#1 in customer satisfaction” from reputable sources.
- Positive words that convey a high level of service: happy, comfortable, delighted, pleasant.
- Supportive Digital content. Make sure your web site conveys inclusion, with women as an identifiable demographic. Showcase reviews on your home page.
Idea #2: Supplement competitive pricing with specifics that speak to women. Show women (happy women) in your ads. Include a broad demographic. Photos speak volumes and convey emotions. Remember, 50% of car buyers are women; and 53% of millennial buyers are women.
Idea #3: Show that your dealership is more than a showroom full of cars. Be sure your advertising includes:
- Showcasing your service center. Mention courtesy vehicles, and any other amenities that show the value you place on customer loyalty and an ongoing business relationship. Ensure your advertising promotes the message “when you buy from us, you receive a good price, PLUS you receive great service.” Describe what “that great service is.”
Putting these ideas into practice
Using these ideas can mean a fresh conversation with your creative agency. Let them know what you want to convey as you reach out to women buyers. A comprehensive advertising program is the best way to start the process of customer engagement. Including and targeting your most powerful buying segment will increase your overall advertising success, provide more value from your budget, and drive more dollars to your dealership’s bottom line.
Millennials have a bad rep in today's society. They are stereotyped as narcissistic, lazy, and entitled. Although they are often misunderstood and underestimated, millennials are very important to the automotive industry. Millennials are the people buying and they have the money to spend. One in 10 millennials earn six-figures or more. The group, which ranges in age from 18 to 30, also has the most education. Therefore, they like to do their research. When marketing to this unique bunch, there are a couple things to keep in mind.
Learn What Motivates Them - This group is extremely results -driven. So having your statistics on hand is very beneficial. They like to know the purchases they make are worth their hard earned money and the time they spent researching the buy. Also, millennials love to laugh. Tune in to what makes them tick and they will be more likely to make a purchase.
Keep It Short - Don't beat around the bush with millennials. The more transparent you are, they more a millennial will be willing to buy from you. Millennials are known to multi-task and have a million things going on at once. The easier the buying process the better.
Although millennials are often disregarded, they have a lot of buying power. The challenge is knowing how to market to this research and technology centric group.
The inaugural Women in Automotive Convention will hit Downtown Orlando this fall. August 18 - 20, female automotive professionals will come together to learn the latest industry trends and network with one another. Currently, women account for 17 percent of employees in auto dealerships. The creators of the Women in Automotive Convention hope the workshop will help women will see the career possibilities available to them and facilitate cultural changes inside dealerships.
Selling cars to women takes a confident equipped sales person with a high level of communication skills, personal engagement and EQ. Women visit 30% more dealerships and may take a longer time in the shopping funnel than men. Patience is another key aspect to making a sale. Understanding when to stop pitching ideas and pull back is extremely important. Going overboard can be perceived as annoying or assertive an end up being a deal-breaker.
Surefire Signs of Overselling
Here are some signs of overselling. These show shoppers may be changing their minds and no longer interested. Paying attention to these can help your sales team pull back when they start overselling without realizing it.
1. Shopper becomes Distracted - When customers get busy with their phones while having a conversation with their salesperson, this is an indication that Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram are winning. It shows the potential buyer is losing interest and could leave soon if their interests or needs are not piqued.
2. Unease in Body Language - Body language, like averting eye contact and fidgeting, can be signs that are not hard to miss. These body movements show that customers are tired of listening to the pitch. They may believe their salesperson is trying to assert his/her personal opinion on them regardless of understanding what it is they want. This can cause frustration.
3. Moving Away From Salesperson - When women shoppers begin to move away, it shows the salesperson might have overdone it. This is the time to stop focusing on techniques and check in by asking them questions on their interest.
Did You Know?
One of the main reasons women go to more dealerships is NOT price. Rather, it’s because they want to get their buying experience “right”. If that initial engagement doesn’t go as well as they want, they will leave your dealership and go elsewhere. The sale and residual revenue have been lost forever. What’s the cost of your cumulative lost sales due to poor first engagement?
Tips to Avoid Overselling
1. Understanding what women buyers want and need is the key. Instead of pitching ideas right from the beginning, provide a space for women to express themselves. Ask questions and then ask some more. This is the best way to learn what their car buying needs are. It also provides a great opening to get related, so there is a connection; women buy when there is trust and respect provided. Listen to them first and then pitch ideas.
2. Friendly sales people are easier to talk to and women feel more comfortable around them. They find friendly salespersons more likeable. Our research shows that likeability is one of the top factors that help close a deal.
The Downside? One in three women report feeling apprehensive or overwhelmed when they shop and buy a car. Only 38% of women feel confident about the process.
Women have different buying criteria and behaviors than men. Women rank trust and respect at the top of their list when it comes to choosing a sales advisor and are 50% more likely to read dealer reviews. They prefer to read reviews written by her peers.
Reading dealer reviews, bringing someone with her to the dealership --- these actions show women are seeking ways to be confident about their purchase. Here are tips to boost women’s confidence and impact your sales revenue:
1. Convey trust and respect. At the core of building trust and respect is the ability to listen and respond to what a woman is saying. Listen, don’t lead, and pursue a goal of truly understanding. After all, she is in your store and she is there for a reason, even if she isn’t purchasing today.
2. Support the decision making process. When it's time to buy, just 1 in 10 women know exactly which one they want. What this means is she has a list of needs and desires in a car, and wants to find the best fit for that list. This isn’t indecision, it is a smart and more open way to shop. A savvy sales advisor will create a “decision tree” that helps reduce the list of cars to the best choice. Following a logical decision-making process will help a woman feel she bought the right car.
3. Create a powerful evidence-driven reputation digital-to-showroom story. Encouraged happy female clients. Why? Their scores rate higher than men, and they acknowledge their dealership and sales person with rave posts. Use your reviews and reputation in your advertising so this buying segment puts you at the top of the list.
What’s in it for Your Dealership?
A confident, delighted buyer who has written a positive review of her experience can influence countless others to follow her lead. When that buyer decides to purchase or lease again, the loyalty created during her engagement with your dealership will bring her back.
Sean V. Bradley, CSP, CEO of Dealer Synergy speaks on the topic of how BDC is not an expense. People are not an expense, they are an asset. The difference between your organization and others are your people. The competition does not have anything different than you do, people are not an expense it comes down to your value proposition package. You cannot make money without putting money out. 92-99% of Americans go online before they even step foot in the dealership. If you can direct that traffic to an Internet or BDC department and you've got the right factors, you will be able to build a customer factory.
If you like Make Money Mondays, then you will love Bradley On Demand:http://www.BradleyOnDemand.com
Do you want more information on the automotive industry find out more about Dealer Synergy and our training services:http://www.dealersynergy.com
Dealer Synergy Headquarters are located in Audubon, NJ: http://bit.ly/1tF0RrQ
It’s Officially the Women Buyers Era...
OEM’s are increasing their advertising towards this powerful buying segment. Smart dealerships are too. Women bought an estimated 13 million cars at new car dealerships last year; an estimated 35,000 vehicles a day.
How many female “up’s” are converting to buyers at your store? If you aren’t tracking that number yet, we suggest you start accounting for sales by gender. The upside of your gross profit potential is tied to this.
The 2015 US Women’s Car Dealership Report, compiled after 3,450 women’s car dealer ratings and reviews, showcases the top car brands as rated by women when purchasing. Each brand’s WSI® or Women Satisfaction Index is derived by taking the aggregate of all the dealer’s scores from that brand’s reviews on the site ranging from a 5.0 (highest) to 1.0 (lowest).
The average WSI® for purchasing was 4.73, up from up from 4.65 last year. The top ten rated brands are Mercedes-Benz (also held the #1 spot in 2014), Lincoln, Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Lexus, Chevrolet, Ford and Volvo. They were followed by Audi, Toyota, Hyundai, Subaru, and Nissan brands.
Did You Know?
One in 3 women buyers describes being “apprehensive”, “nervous” or “overwhelmed” at a dealership when buying. Another 13.4% say they feel “intimidated” or “frustrated”. In this hyper-competitive market, what is your dealership doing to combat this? Do you offer a hassle-free, seamless experience?
You’ve heard it before: women have a different set of needs and expectations when buying a car. Yet, it’s a pretty straightforward equation. Car manufactures and dealerships that focus on treating women well by engaging and respecting them in a trustworthy manner throughout the purchase process are positioning themselves exceptionally to capture future business. It is not the luck of the draw; these businesses have processes and training in place to optimize the customer visit. More importantly, the execution of that training is being fulfilled.
Certified Dealers Rate Higher
While the overall WSI® score was 4.73, there is a distinct difference in the dealerships’ reviews and scores.
- Certified Women-Drivers Friendly® Dealers have a 4.85 WSI® or 97.0%
- Non-Certified Dealers have a 4.48 WSI® or 89.6%
There is a tremendous upside for dealers to become Certified and distinguish their business to women+families. These numbers indicate a correlation between Certification, higher CSI and increased sales and profits.
HOW DO I BECOME A CERTIFIED DEALER?
Our company has published it’s second annual report which showcases women are having empowering experiences at progressive car dealerships in the United States.
Women are responsible for buying over 13 million cars at new car dealerships; that’s an impressive 36,000 vehicles a day. Dealerships have to literally change gears, advertising, amenities and their sales strategies to attract this powerful buying force. “It’s a very competitive industry” shares Women-Drivers.com President, Anne Fleming. “Women know they can buy a car anywhere in their respective city. It’s in dealer’s best interest to strategize and market to women. However, it takes more than just having a family female spokesperson.”
The research in the 2015 US Women’s Car Dealership Report comes from over 3,450 women’s surveys from the company’s website. From these surveys, the company generates a Women Satisfaction Index® or WSI score. The range is from a 5.0 (the highest) to 1.0 (the lowest).
Unlike other 5-star review sites, Women-Drivers.com offers women the opportunity to write a quick review and then opt-in to a ‘deeper dive’ survey to share more thoroughly about their dealership visit. Over 90% of the reviewers opt-in to the twenty-five question survey.
Fleming goes on to share, “In the past, women haven’t been asked for any real feedback by the industry, with the exception of the dutiful CSI. Through our platform, women are empowered by the opportunity to share their voice and provide productive opinions. Generally, these buyers are having more than “satisfied” visits at car dealerships; they are truly delighted by the respectful and trustworthy manners of their sales advisors. In turn, when asked to write a review, they are generous.”
Dealership groups and manufacturers use the data collected by the company to better understand, improve and shape the customer’s experience. From the analytics, trends and predictive patterns are captured to help take the guesswork out of marketing to women.
- When shopping for a vehicle, the overall WSI was 4.37, up from 4.25 last year. The top five rated shopping brands by women are Volkswagen, Ford, Chevrolet, Jeep, and Buick.
- When purchasing a vehicle, the overall WSI was 4.73, up from 4.65 last year. The top five rated purchasing brands by women are Mercedes-Benz (also held the #1 spot in 2014), Lincoln, Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler.
- When leasing (a subset of purchasing), the overall WSI was...Click here for more about Trends of Women at Car Dealerships.
Third party Vendors are waking up to their worst nightmare. The party is almost over and we're turning the lights on. They are in denial reminiscent of 'Newspaper Advertising' a few decades ago. Newspaper was the juggernaut, dominant, over-bearing, dictating, necessary, and way over-priced. At the end of the Newspaper Era, they were screaming they were still effective and still relevant as they could no longer prove heir worth or justify their extravagant high-prices. The Newspaper Advertising moguls were sucked down into the tarpits wheezing their last wheezy gasps, still proclaiming their relevance.
NOW - The Paradigm is shifting again. The third-party vendors can no longer justify their rdiculous high prices and can't document any real results. They're No Longer selling results, they can't. They don't have them to show. So they misdirect with VDPs and SRPs and QRXs instead of showing us real business. AND, they tell the dealers if you're not selling, it's your employees fault.
WHAT CHANGED? Well several things changed.
FIRST OF ALL, the consumers changed. Dealers websites are smarter and more reactive. VDPs need to become stickier and conversion is 'king'.
SECONDLY, Mobile Happened! Consumers are engaging on handhelds and tablets and devices other than desktops. They are able to USE Google and other avenues to directly connect with the dealers. Real time transactions favor the dealerships, not the vendors.
THIRDLY, Dealers became educated in dealing with the modern consumer and they don't feel hostility on our Websites. CHAT is huge for conversion.
AND FOURTH, The "CLICK TO CALL" Google option puts them in touch with us immediately. It's probably one of the greatest things that's happening to fuel the shift. TEXT MARKETING and PERSONALIZED VIDEOS from the Dealerships are humanizing our efforts. People still like to deal with people. ONLY the Vendors see advantages to dehumanizing the processes. We are NOT DEVO.
THE CRM Companies that own website development will inherit the business. They become the DASHBOARD that controls the Dealers' Marketing... Adwords, Social Media Strategies, Everything the Dealership does to market. The CRM creates it, coordinates with the website, and measures and adjusts the campaigns. THE CRM companies allow the dealer to run their campaigns without all of the slander and defamation the vendors use to bring us down and make themselves look like the saviour from us. Reputation will be better and profits will increase.
I have always advocated a CRM-Driven Culture in the Dealerships, now the worm is turning and the third-party vendors are scrambling like Newspaper executives did several decades ago. I doubt they'll go extinct totally, but their value in our marketing plans will become second-tier and optional.http://www.InternetBattlePlan.com
The revolutions here and they are screaming bloody murder because they all see it coming. Ask your CRM Provider and others, the CRMs are gearing up to take over the marketing. I just wrote this article/blog a half hour ago and it's already viral. Three CRM Companies and Website Vendors have already, in just a half hour, asked me for the permission to reprint and distribute at the convention.
This week, Anthony Alagona talks about "Building Value." How do you build value in yourself, your vehicle, and your dealership? Building value in yourself starts with identifying yourself to the prospect and establish a clear channel of communication. Building value in the vehicle starts by telling the prospect about the vehicle and selling the prospect on all of the special deatures that make the vehicle stand out. Building value in the dealership starts with passionately selling your value package to the prospect and explaining the benefits it can offer. Remember: People do not buy what you sell, they buy what you believe.
For more training check out http://www.BradleyOnDemand.com
If you're looking for more information on the automotive industry visit http://www.AutomotiveInternetSales.com
We are well into December. It's time to take stock of your year and your accomplishments. It’s definitely time to have fun and to be mindful of what is ahead. As we turn the corner into a new year, 2015, today’s Women’s Wednesday you are invited to take a short, interactive quiz to evaluate where there is room to expand your dealership’s customer excellence. And in doing so, your competitive edge.
Get Started Here: www.HowFriendlyisYourDealership.com to take the test
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