March is Women’s History Month and there is no better time to talk about why creating a memorable dealership experience for women has never been more important. This article was contributed by a guest poster and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Editor. It was originally published on CX Cafe.
SUV and truck sales are driving profits for automakers and their retailers. Whilst the majority of truck sales come from men, it’s mainly women who are buying SUV/Crossovers. And according to GenAnalytics, women now influence 65% of the car buying decision. It’s become increasingly important to dispel the historic disconnect between female customers and the auto industry.
Men and women have different wants, needs and desires when it comes to vehicle purchasing and servicing. It’s often said that a mostly male retail front line find it difficult to connect with women than men. The common ground between male retailer and customer may go some way to explaining why men seem to be coming away happiest.
Where Does the Problem Lie?
Despite automakers making considerable effort to ensure female customers are having a memorable dealership experience, we are still finding examples of women feeling disrespected and misunderstood.
Due to past bad experiences, women may be going into the dealership expecting a poor experience. Most retailers are doing a better job to increase satisfaction for all customers, but with this mind-set it’s difficult to reverse the lasting effects of what it’s been like for women in the past.
The only real way to put this to bed is with a “memorable customer experience,” making sure women come away with a positive response. According to a study carried out by wealth psychology expert Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, women refer people and businesses more than men do, and so creating a memorable experience could lead to new customers for your business too. Particularly if these preconceptions are as common as they appear.
How to Create a Memorable Dealership Experience with Women Customers
Men and women communicate differently, and this is probably why male front line retailers are finding it easier to connect with men. Learn how we communicate differently, adapt your style, and you will have a better chance of making sure everyone has that “memorable experience”.
Below we have compiled a guide into understanding how to adapt your approach and apply this understanding into conversation.
- Come to terms with the fact that men and women do communicate differently. You should also assume that women go into the dealership with a preconception that they’re not going to be treated as fairly as men.
- If you understand men and women communicate differently, make a commitment to look at these key differences. Greater understanding will allow you to make that connection with all your customers.
- If you are in management it’s important you believe in the differences, otherwise your staff won’t either.
- Women like to be greeted, so be ready to offer your help if it’s needed. They like sales people who ask questions and show a real concern for their experience. Building up a positive relationship with a female customer will also get a good response, it’s important to build a level of trust. Also, when opening the conversation, let the woman lead, “What would you like to accomplish with your time here today?” They will consider this respectful.
- Always make eye contact and avoid interrupting. Count three seconds before replying to women, as it is dismissive if you don’t listen to what they have to say. It can also be offensive to make presumptions. Try to ask open questions, rather than multiple choice.
- Men tend to rush to the bottom line, providing solutions rather than suggestions. This is usually different with women. Letting them reach their own conclusions is a big difference in the way we communicate.
- Make sure your explanations are just as in-depth for all customers you face unless you feel they don’t need, or already know, the information. Explain how it works, the process in customer terms, break down the steps and manage their expectations.
- Express interest in what they have to say, nod to show you are listening and learn what the customer wants to get from their experience. Also, nodding for women isn’t necessarily used as a closing signal, often it is a signal to “tell me more”.
- As mentioned before, it is worth putting extra effort into getting referrals from women.
Key Differences to Focus On
- Rather than following the previous steps to the letter, develop an understanding in the different ways we communicate, so you can use them when engaging with different customers. Safety, personal security and practicality are some of the things to consider when looking into gender differentiated communication styles.
- You’ll come to realize that using these steps will not only help you provide women with a more “memorable experience”, but you will also exceed expectations for other customers.
- Try to remember that communication differs personally, as well as by gender. If you learn to become a good judge of character, it will lead you through the dealership process.
Don’t Hang Around
Put this into practice as soon as you can. As the world’s fastest growing audience, there has never been a more important time to ensure women have a good dealership experience. It doesn’t really matter what is causing these negative conceptions and poor experiences women have with auto retailers, if retailers are going be successful with SUV/ Crossover owners they should learn to adapt their style to ensure customer satisfaction for all.