Tuesday, Apr. 15, 2014, 11:53 AM UPDATED 4:13 PMBy Anne Fleming
When it comes to buying expensive commodities like cars, the “dissonance” factor is incredibly high. After all, it is a costly purchase, and nobody wants to go wrong when closing the deal.
According to the recent 2014 US Women Car Buying Report, women are becoming the most powerful and largest segment of car buyers, presenting a plethora of opportunities for dealerships and salespersons to capture more sales.
Savvy sales advisers know when selling a car to a woman that they are not simply selling to someone who is taking “inventory off the lot”, or is selling to another “up”, or a “number”, or “helping to make our month”.
Dealers who “get it” know that the key distinction is having exceptional sales advisors who continually offer exceptional service. But what does that mean? From thousands of reviews on Women-Drivers.com, women customers are telling exactly what works for them when interacting with a sales agent. Here, we share the top 5 reasons they buy from their sales advisers:
Trust: 52.3 percent
Respect: 52.1 percent
Likeable: 47.8 percent
Knowledgeable: 45.6 percent
Understanding: 40.6 percent
*These percentages add up to more than 100 percent because reviewers can submit multiple answers.
NOTE: Coming in at 34 percent was the price of the vehicle. It is not the top consideration — it is important, but ranks sixth overall. Clearly, connection and relationship are pivotal.
Let’s now take a look at each of these five reasons and how contrasting scenarios can play out at the dealership:
Women buy from those they trust. Therefore, it’s very essential to build trust immediately — that rapport can take just a matter of minutes to create. The best way to build trust is to provide valuable and relevant information, quality guidance and advice to women buyers. Be honest and never try to make a forceful sale, because that is a complete turn off.
If the woman likes the vehicle and does not trust the sales person, she most likely will walk out of the dealership without making a purchase. Conversely, if she likes the car and trusts the sales person, the buyer will purchase the vehicle.
2. Being Respected
Scenario 1: A woman walks into the store and is overlooked by two sales persons who are talking to each other. She walks the store for 10 minutes and is not approached by either sales person, one of whom is one the phone and the other is using a tablet. After she asks a question, the one adviser responds to her. His reply is short and unenthusiastic. Outcome: The woman feels like no one had time for her and like she was an intrusion. So, she leaves and heads to another dealership down the road.
Scenario 2: A woman walks into the store and the sales adviser greets her with a smile and welcomes her. The sales adviser is enthusiastic and friendly. He asks the woman if she would like cold water or carbonated soda. Next, he asks her what kind of car she is looking for and then accordingly guides her through the store, provides her quality information about different models in the store in a friendly manner, not forceful. The sales adviser answers all the questions and concerns and makes sure that she enjoys her visit even through today she is just shopping. He provides his business cards and reassures her that she can call or email with questions about anything at this store, or even competitive questions about other branded models. Outcome: The woman feels informed and respected. She enjoyed her experience. She believes once she concludes on buying versus leasing, she will return to this dealership to buy a car from this individual.
How women are treated by their sales adviser really matters. In fact, it’s the only thing that matters, initially. Very often, without respect, nothing else gets too close to a purchase. The best way pathway to provide respect is to a) acknowledge her presence, b) ask questions, c) find out what she is looking for d) listen and e) repeat “d.”
Women buy from sales men or women who are knowledgeable and informative. Since they may not have purchased a vehicle in a number of years and the technology changed dramatically, they want to be provided with complete and comprehensive information including features, mileage, price and safety features.
Scenario 1: A woman buyer walks in the dealership. It’s the first time that she has purchased a vehicle. The sales adviser briefly answers only those questions that she asks. She does not provide “above and beyond” valuable information that can assist the prospective client further in making an informed buying decision. Outcome: The woman buyer decides to leave the dealership and go to another nearby store.
Scenario 2: A woman buyer walks in the dealership. It’s the first time that she has purchased a vehicle. . The sales adviser welcomes her, answers all her questions comprehensively and provides her valuable information about the new technology and latest features in the cars in store. She also provides the prospective client with information on buying versus leasing payments per month, including estimated warranty costs. Outcome: The women buyer feels informed and closes the deal successfully with full confidence.
Likeability is definitely a trump card. Studies show that women buy from sales advisers who are likeable and friendly. It is easy to talk to a friendly sales adviser rather than a stern looking one, or one that is dismissive or doesn’t listen well. This just makes sense: women want to connect with someone who is pleasant and has good eye contact and makes her feel at ease. Maybe even helps her laugh during a stressful situation like buying a car.
Understanding is vital to meeting a buyer’s expectations. Women buy from those who are concerned and empathetic rather than pushing their own opinions on them. Successful sales ambassadors listen to women needs and wants. Also be extremely cooperative and patient. As compared to men, women perform extensive research before they finalize their car buying decision. She feels heard and listened to. She acknowledges the sales person’s cooperative attitude and finalizes her car-buying decision.
Editor's Note: Anne Fleming is president and car-buying advocate of Women-Drivers.com and a guest contributor to Auto Remarketing. She was also recognized as one of AR's 2013 Women in Remarketing.