Move cars off the lot faster than you can drive them
The auto industry is male-dominated, however, when dealerships prioritize hiring women they increase profits and have happier customers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown that women only make up about 21.4% of all employees at auto dealers. These numbers, however, do not match up with other driving and purchasing trends.
For example, in an analysis conducted by Frost & Sullivan, it was found that 51% of all licensed drivers in the U.S. are women. Even more surprising? 80% of car buying decisions are influenced by women. Road & Travel Magazine believes that number is even higher; they say that women control 95% of all auto purchases.
“When buying a new car, women are practical, but they also tend to associate the purchase with aspirations of freedom and independence,” said Frost & Sullivan’s Partner and Global Director Sarwant Singh in a press release about the company’s study.
So, if more women are driving than men, and they are also playing a major role in car buying decisions, why aren’t more auto dealerships creating a more female-friendly experience?
Do auto dealership customers want women selling cars?
Women are major decision-makers when it comes to purchasing vehicles, but at the end of the day, do customers want to buy from them?
CNW Marketing Research has found:
- 39% of women would rather deal with women in the car showroom
- 10% of men would rather buy from other men
- 13% of women prefer to deal with men
- 11% of men want to deal with women
- The remaining customers are indifferent about the sales representative’s sex
An article from Wards Auto notes that women like buying cars from women — they trust them, and they speak the same language. The article also recommends, along with other industry experts, that a dealership sales force should be about 30% women; there should also be women in the finance and insurance departments as well.
Success of all-female dealership staff shows benefits of women selling cars
An auto dealership in Victoria, Texas — Victoria Auto Smart — has made headlines due to its unique, all-female staff. The dealership never intended to hire only women, but after a while, they realized that the accident was working out just fine.
“People are always surprised when they see it’s all women who work here,” said Jessica Peinkofer, sales manager, in an interview the Victoria Advocate. “We get that all the time.”
The dealership believes they are popular because they can understand their customers’ needs, and also relate to female customers. They prioritize relationship-building — asking about things such as dogs, babies, and families — to pinpoint what the customer is indeed looking for. A Great Dane and a car seat won’t both fit in a Fiat 500. The women aren’t pushy, and they realize choosing a car can be a long process.
Women selling cars = overall increase in profit
Car dealerships don’t do a great job communicating with women, and that shows in the 74% of women who say they feel misunderstood by car marketers and salespeople.
“The auto industry today is in trouble, and automakers are struggling so hard,” said Jody DeVere, president and CEO of Ask Patty, a site staffed by women car experts who advise other women on car purchases and service. “Yet they’re only doing lip service to women in terms of marketing and selling. When what they need to do is change, and create an environment where women don’t equate buying a car or getting it serviced with going to the dentist.”
There’s no way around the facts: About 95% of the 20,000 auto dealers in the U.S. belonging to the National Automobile Dealers Association are male. The customers, however, are not predominantly male.
When auto dealerships prioritize hiring women to sell cars, they may finally realize that the old “boys club” model is just that — old. The realization will come in the form of more happy customers who appreciate relationship-driven service and feel like their voices are being heard. And, in this social media age, when customers feel valued, they let everyone know — which means more profit for dealers and a better overall reputation in the community.
Hiring More Women in Dealerships: Breaking the Mould
It’s interesting to note that the problem of female underrepresentation in car sales is not because of a lack of interest from women. Women are not just interested in buying cars; they are interested in selling them too. According to Deloitte’s Women in Automotive Industry report, 88% of women would be interested in a career in the auto industry if it were more inclusive.
The auto industry and dealerships, in particular, should focus on hiring more women, given the rising trend of women becoming primary consumers. Women have the potential to bring a refreshing change to the auto sales floor, transforming the current, more traditional ‘boys club’ model into a new, diverse and progressive space.
Why is there a need for more women in car sales?
The industry requires women in sales roles because they bring a different approach to sales and have a greater understanding of the desires of female customers. Women are often more empathetic, intuitive, and less aggressive in their sales techniques, and these qualities can contribute to a more comfortable buying experience for many customers, particularly for women, who often feel alienated by the current male-dominated sales environment.
Addressing women’s needs in car sales
When women are present in the dealership, they often create an environment that allows customers to feel less pressure and more at ease. They encourage buyers to take their time, understand their needs, and make the best decision for them without feeling rushed or pressured.
Women salespeople also have a better understanding of the features that appeal to women. From safety features to in-car technology, seating configuration to storage capacity, they have a unique understanding of these needs, leading to a better overall buying experience.
Creating a More Inclusive Dealership Environment
Building a more female-friendly environment is not just about hiring more women. It’s also about promoting inclusivity in terms of dealership design, marketing approach, and customer engagement.
Dealerships should be more focused on creating a more relaxing, friendly, and non-intimidating environment. There should be a play area for children, a comfortable waiting area, and a more welcoming atmosphere overall.
Marketing strategies also need to be geared towards women. Instead of the usual adrenaline-fueled commercials, they should focus more on the practical aspects of car ownership. They should highlight safety, reliability, and fuel efficiency – aspects that are more important to women.
Lastly, the engagement approach should be altered to meet the preferences of women. Women prefer to deal with salespeople who take time to explain things to them, who are respectful and considerate, and who don’t undermine their knowledge or decision-making abilities.
Forging Ahead: Shifting Perception and Empowering Women
The auto industry has to recognize the crucial role of women, not only as consumers but as leaders in sales and service roles. It’s time to shift the perception and show that women can excel in these roles as much as their male counterparts, if not more.
It is essential for the auto industry to eliminate the gender stereotypes that have traditionally been attached to car sales. Selling cars is not only about mechanical knowledge or negotiation skills but also about communication, empathy, and understanding customer needs – all areas where women tend to excel.
Furthermore, women who work in dealerships can bring unique insights that can enhance the business model. They can help foster an environment that caters to all customers by pushing for more family-friendly policies and facilities, advocating for greater transparency in pricing and negotiations, and promoting a customer-centric sales approach.
The Importance of Mentorship and Training
One key strategy for attracting more women to car sales is to offer mentorship and training opportunities. Mentorship programs, for example, pair women with experienced professionals who can guide them, offer advice, and help them navigate the challenges of working in a male-dominated industry.
Similarly, training programs can equip women with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in auto sales. These programs should cover everything from the technical aspects of vehicles to sales techniques, negotiation tactics, and customer service skills.
Increasing visibility of successful women in car sales
One of the ways to encourage more women to consider a career in car sales is to increase the visibility of successful women in this field. Celebrating the success stories of women in the industry can inspire others to follow in their footsteps.
Companies should make a conscious effort to showcase successful women, not just in car sales, but in leadership positions across the auto industry. Showcasing the stories of these successful women in car sales can serve as a beacon of possibility for aspiring female professionals in the industry.
Taking Proactive Measures
However, increasing the number of women in car sales is not just about hiring more women. It involves taking proactive measures to ensure that women are supported and given the opportunity to grow within the company.
This includes implementing policies that promote work-life balance, such as flexible working hours and maternity leave, offering competitive pay and benefits, and creating a positive and inclusive company culture that values diversity and treats all employees fairly.
Auto dealerships should also make an effort to combat sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. They should have strict policies in place and ensure that all employees are aware of these policies and the consequences of violating them.
As the auto industry continues to evolve, it is crucial that it reflects the changing demographics of its customer base. The outdated “boys club” model is no longer sustainable in today’s market.
The industry must make a concerted effort to recruit, retain, and promote women in sales roles. The benefits are clear: increased profits, happier customers, and a more diverse, inclusive industry.
Ultimately, the auto industry’s future success depends on its ability to adapt and evolve. This means breaking down the barriers that prevent women from entering car sales and making the necessary changes to ensure that they not only succeed but excel in this industry. By doing so, the auto industry will not only survive but thrive in the years to come.