What’s the Cost to Your Dealership When Women Walk Out?


It's been verified. In The Wall Street Journal last month, it was reported there are now more women drivers on the road than men. The last several years the auto industry has witnessed a big and not so surprising shift in the car buyer demographics, particularly in terms of gender.

Men, who have been strongly associated with cars, touted as their "first love" and accounted for the biggest chunk of auto sales, have now taken the back seat as women take the lead and are the fastest growing car buying segment.

This leaves many dealerships shifting their paradigm in terms of how to re-strategize their business and marketing game plan to truly optimize sales to women. It’s leaving more dealers unsure as to exactly how to do that. Most dealers say quickly and unequivocally that they know exactly how to market to women. It’s the brave and daring ones that share they are looking for more than just a "women spokesperson in the family" to market to this powerful buying group. If you don’t have an exceptional understanding of this market, ups and potential customers are likely to slip away.

Women Walkouts: A $4 Million Cost Analysis

Dealerships don’t even know that they can increase their sales another $4 million dollars a year. How? Most walk 10 to 15 women out their door each month and don’t even know it. By paying more attention to women and providing critical respect and trust the whole way through the sales engagement process, those browsers can be converted to buyers. Easily.

Lets take a closer look. Maybe a decade ago when a woman walked out of a dealership without buying it wouldn’t have mattered. Today, when a woman walks out your store dissatisfied without making a purchase, it’s a matter of concern, because:  

  1. If she isn’t buying from you then she IS going to buy from your competition.
  2. If she isn’t buying from you then there is a good chance she will be writing a review on a car dealer review platform about that experience.
  3. If she isn’t buying from you, you not only lost the sale, you lost the RESIDUAL REVENUE.
  4. RESIDUAL REVENUE = Vehicle + (Service Drive Visits X 3-6 years) + Future Vehicle(s)
  5. THIS is happening at your store EVERY DAY; it’s what you DON’T KNOW THAT YOU DON’T KNOW.

Double Check Your Automatic Response, "That Doesn’t Happen Here; We Treat Everyone the Same"

Women shop at 1.9 dealers before buying a vehicle or the equivalent of 30 percent more dealerships than men. Why is that?

They want to get it right, and avoid getting it wrong. Don’t be so quick to think she is not leaving your store. An unhappy potential car shopper walking out of your store costs you a fortune — literally. Here’s what is put on the line when this happens:

1.       You Lose the Opportunity to Make a Quarter-of-a-Million Dollar Sale

Women buy or lease an average of eight cars in their lifetime. At today’s average price of $32,500, that money adds up quickly, especially for larger dealerships.  Add service drive visits in there over the long haul, that is a huge chunk of gross profit and sales, too.

2.       You Lose a Customer for Life, or at least a Long time

The larger dealerships lose the loyalty that this woman and family and friends bring. Not to mention, her many referrals. Huge miss. Even if she had a bad experience at one brand, rarely will she return to this “family dealership” to buy from another brand. You lost her and her referrals.

3.       You Lose More Potential Buyers

Women are influential. This can work in your favor or against you. So, whether a woman is just looking around and browsing in your store or actually thinking of purchasing a car, you need to offer the ultimate shopping experience so that she walks out that door with a smiling face and feeling content. If that happens, she will spread the word and refer you to her friends, family and  - she will return to buy. And if she doesn’t have a great time at your dealership, she will walk and talk.

It’s a pretty simple formula. Which side of the $4 million will your dealership be on? In today’s hyper- competitive market, its time to pay much closer attention. 

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.

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