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"Connecting with female buyers doesn’t have to require a completely revamped sales and marketing strategy."

5 Ways to Make Your Dealership More Appealing to Female Buyers

2015-03-03 16:00:00 (GMT)

Grand Rapids, Michigan, United StatesRecent studies have shown that women purchase roughly 65% of new cars sold in the US and influence 80% of household buying decision. Women’s share of consumer demand has changed dramatically over the last few decades, but the way most auto dealerships interact with women as primary decision makers hasn’t evolved as quickly. 

Connecting with female buyers doesn’t have to require a completely revamped sales and marketing strategy. In this article, we’ll look at five simple, actionable ways to attract and engage more transparently with women on the sales floor.

1. Sharpen listening skills - The automotive industry has a poor track record for treating women as equals when it comes to discussing automotive specifications. For some women, the idea of interacting with auto dealer sales reps carries a stigma, and they are naturally leery of being given false or half true information about technical specifications, performance, maintenance requirements and other specifics. Because of this uneasiness, it’s important to learn how to actively listen to the specific questions and concerns female buyers express. Active listening requires intently hearing the customer’s questions, responding to them directly and honestly, and asking questions back, to clarify that you’re guiding the customer towards purchase decisions that meet her needs, not just the sales rep’s quota numbers. Show female buyers their concerns are heard, and engage with relevant feedback and product suggestions.

2. Don’t make assumptions - Thanks to the Information Age of the internet, automotive information is readily available to everyone. Between auto shows, Kelly Blue Book, Consumer Reports, auto forums, and a slew of online articles from industry experts, it’s safe to assume most customers have done at least some research, especially female buyers, who are known to do extensive research before making purchase decisions on large items. Never assume female buyers are uneducated about cars because of their gender; instead, ask questions first to establish how much the buyer knows already, and what additional information they’re looking to you for. A car is one of the biggest purchases a person will make in their lifetime. With women wielding 80% of the influence in making household buying decisions, they’re more likely to be just as - if not more - educated and business savvy as their male counterparts when negotiating on the sales floor.

3. Build relationships before they step through the door - Because many women are naturally skeptical of dealerships, oftentimes they begin their interactions in the social space - i.e., social media. Auto dealerships would be smart to begin developing relationships with their female audiences before they walk through the doors. This could look like reaching out to female leads through social media with genuinely informative articles, while showcasing the dealership’s personality and family-oriented culture. It could also mean holding women-centric events, such as a Ladies’ Night Out, again, with the goal of educating and informing female buyers. A well organized educational wine and cheese event, with potential female buyers and their friends invited via direct mail marketing, could make a significant impact in emphasizing the dealership’s brand as one that is female-friendly.

4. Ask questions that address her needs - Good listening isn’t passive; it requires actively engaging and soliciting feedback to pinpoint each customer’s specific needs. When working with a new female buyer, learn about what’s important to them. Do they have children? Will they use their vehicle for long trips? How important is gas efficiency? Are there any specific features that could improve their daily quality of life? Show them that meeting their specific needs is more important than closing a sale. Exceed their expectations.

5. Establish long-term trust with ongoing maintenance - Savvy dealerships know that a car’s purchase shouldn’t be the final step in a dealership’s relationship with customers. Arranging for ongoing service and maintenance is often a top consideration for women, who are looking for reliable, easy and consistent service. Knowing the dealership can provide the same level of respectful service and attentive care after the initial purchase decision can turn a one-time buyer into a long term loyal customer. Communicate this to female buyers by having a comfortable, welcoming reception area, by making repair and maintenance services clear, by offering warranties for maintenance and other services that help keep the car in top condition, and even by giving the customer a tour of the service center. Taking these small extra steps to establish trust can not only land repeat business, but also referrals.

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