Women’s Wednesday #17: (Don’t Say) “We Treat Everyone the Same”
Posted: October 15, 2014 by Anne Fleming, Car Buying Advocate
Today we focus on customization when selling to women. When dealership personnel say that they “treat everyone the same,” what that really means is that they greet prospects consistently and similarly with a sales process – whether in person or digitally. However, having the capacity and ability to treat each customer the same simply can’t be accomplished. It sounds nice as a concept, but after all we are humans, not robots. We can’t be shaped and programmed to treat everyone the same. And, who would want that anyway? Certainly not your customers. But, it’s more than semantics.
It Simply Isn’t True
Does a physician treat all her patients the same? Does your child’s teacher treat all his students the same? Of course not. They would have a pretty bad reputation if they did. Why? Each patient has his own well-being issues and each student performs at her own learning style that is personal to them. Why would it be any different for a client or customer purchasing a car? What brings them in, their finances, influencing factors, comfort and ability to negotiate are all personal and individual.
Don’t Let Past Experiences Interfere with Sales
It’s important to advise and remind your sales team not to let their past experiences interfere with their sales engagement. But that is much easier said than done! Folks who sell cars are just like us all; sometimes those experiences from the past influence the way we behave in the present. It’s largely because each and every one of us has a neurological make-up filled with fright and flight responses. Let’s take a closer look.
Sales advisors interact with numerous customers every day. The good, bad and ugly experiences, behaviors, reactions and emotions of previous situations are all stored in the human brain. When confronted with a similar situation, whether consciously or not, elicits reactions based on past recollections, right? A dealerships’ sales team undergoes the same level of training. How is it that some sales advisors are very engaged and sell to women with ease? Others, even seasoned ‘car guys’, may get through it, but have less comfort and success.
Customized Treatment is Critical
Today is about customization, both in offering tangible and intangible services. The same holds true in selling and approaching customers. Using the same opening line to sell customers equally isn’t going to work. Being ‘customer-focused’ means going the extra mile in delivering quality experience to each customer individually according to their preferences.This means dealerships must ensure that their team of experts on the sales floor and BDC don’t deliver cookie cutter lines, openers, or emails to customers; but rather understand each customer as well as possible. That’s what customers are now looking for. Not, just a sales exchange. Wow, it’s a tall order!
Understanding the customer is more crucial today because our industry is shifting from male to female-focused, leaving dealership management trying to truly understand this growing market segment. It’s time to break away from some idea that you are ‘treating everyone the same’ and start to deliver tailored treatment to each customer.
For 7 Tips on How to Customize the Customer Experience, and more on this topic Click here to read
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Communicate tangible value-adds in your advertising.
If your store provides overnight loaner cars, include this in your messaging. It’s the #1 concierge item requested by women.
A confident, pleased buyer who writes a great review of her experience can influence countless other women to follow her lead.
Ask, track, and always respond to reviews.
Reviews are 3 times more influential than advertising when women buy a car.
Women want to read others’ experiences to help verify what dealerships to visit. Showcase these valuable testimonials on your home page or their own navigation section to build trust and credibility – don’t hide them in ‘About Us.’
One Size Does Not Fit All.
Step back and ask, who does your advertising really speak to?
Women are looking for connections with car dealerships.
Enhance your advertising by investing part of your ad dollars into what’s in it for her. Include dealer reviews and ‘Dealer of the Year’ awards. Remember to also sell your dealership, not only cars.
Never miss a simple action to upsell your store.
Offer a 3-minute tour, share about extended service center hours, mention that you offer overnight loaner cars, and give a free car wash coupon. Always look to surprise and delight.
Develop relationships with online guests.
Provide informative, helpful content in your BDC email response as well as link to reviews highlighting authentic consumer experiences.
76% of women rated their dealership’s website 3 out of 5 stars.
As the first point of engagement for customers, be sure your website represents your brand well, conveys trust, is welcoming, and contains educational content that adds value.
The #1 digital resource women use when buying a car is the dealership’s website.
Include images of women throughout your digital assets and online marketing campaigns.
It takes more than having a female spokesperson to market to women.
The #1 reason women choose to buy is TRUST which requires implementing new behaviors, attitudes, processes, and messaging.
Make your dealerships a welcome destination for all customers.
Always greet your customer through active listening, use empathy and understanding, and taking an interest in what they need or want – even if it’s outside the car purchase.
Include informative, engaging content on your website.
It helps build trust and ensures guests get value from your brand.
Behavior Economics demands tracking when your customers fall off.
Dealers with outdated behaviors and attitudes are losing traction with women in this competitive industry.
Measure and track the number of women leads and buyers each month.
You can’t grow what you don’t know.
Create the right conditions for the sale on the first visit.
Ask questions, listen, and get to know the customer. Never interrupt and don’t assume. Consider there won’t be a second visit.
Dealers need to shift the paradigm to effectively engage, market and optimize sales to women.
What is your Trust Dashboard with this market?
53% of millennial car buyers are women. Almost 4 in 10 women are the breadwinners in their family.
How is your current and future customer demographic represented in your front line team?
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Our platform collects unprecedented pre- and post-purchase analytics about what your #1 buyers want and prefer from participating dealers.
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What women want at the dealership has predominantly been an absent dialog; those statistics and conversations have generally been national. Dealers now have access to their own proprietary data through our platform. This provides leaders at each business the ability to have honest insights allowing for predictive awareness of behaviors, preferences, and experiences.