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Best Practices For Car Dealership on Hiring And Retaining Women


The statistics about the importance of women as a consumer are very familiar to all of us. Women account for 85% of all purchases which includes everything from homes to groceries and control TRILLIONS of dollars of wealth in this country. For those of us in the Automotive Industry, we know how vital the women consumers are to all of us; after all, they represent over 65% of our business. The challenge for all of us is how to make our place of business a comfortable place for women to patronize and purchase our products and services. It goes without saying that the place where business is conducted must be inviting to both the women and men who come through our doors AND it must also reflect the marketplace in which we do business. Having said that, many of us do not know how or where to find the women we need to hire.


Based on my experience here are some suggestions: Create awareness that your place of business is hiring women and what career opportunities it has to offer.

  • Visit schools and colleges and participate in career days
  • Offer intern programs which will help identify and attract talented people
  • Offer scholarships in the name of your business
  • Join local women’ organizations
  • Invite women’s organizations to hold their meetings in your place of business
  • Support women’s events in your local community
  • Advertise in women’s magazines or trade publications
  • Offer incentives to your own employee for referrals
  • Speak at the local Chamber of Commerce to get the word out that you are looking for female employees
  • Most real estate agents are women so connecting with the local Real Estate business is another resource for hiring women The importance of word of mouth in addition to formalized advertising is very critical in attracting women employees so the more you can get out into the community, the better the success of finding and hiring talent. THE WORKPLACE Make certain that your work place policies are conducive to both men and women.
  • The workplace should be clean and neat and an inviting one that works for all employees
  • It should be inclusive environment where everyone is treated with respect and valued
  • Offer not only full time employment but flexible work place policies such as part time, work at home, team selling, job-sharing for everyone not just women. After all, work life balance is an issue for everyone.
  • Have a mentor or buddy system not just for women but for the all new hires
  • Post “work week” schedules in advance so that employees can plan their “life week”
  • Provide processes that will accommodate for input and feedback for workplace improvement
  • TRAIN-TRAIN-TRAIN all of your employees to understand how to treat each other in the work place and also how to treat the female customers when they come into your business establishment. The important key here is to make sure that ALL employees are valued, are treated with respect, and have opportunities for growth.


Turnover in any is business unwanted and it seems that in the Auto Industry there is a higher percentage than other businesses. By having policies in place to attract and retain talented employees: it will increase your customer base, reduce absenteeism, reduce costs, improve employee morale, and very importantly it will positively impact your bottom line.


This compilation of best practices is my insight into what needs to be in place to attract and engage women but it is also important to remember that companies pursue programs and practices that specifically fit your organization, your workers, and your managers. What is most vital is to harness the skills, talents and hard work of everyone on your team. Customers want to feel comfortable, respected, and trusted and so do your female (and male) employees. ——————————————————————————————————————————————

Written by: Patricia Roberts who is the Director-Business Development for AskPatty.Com. She has +39 years of experience in the Automotive Industry which includes increasing the number of women who own and who work in dealerships. Prior to joining AskPatty.Com, Roberts was the General Director Women’s Retail Initiative on the General Motors Vehicle, Sales, Service and Marketing Staff in Detroit, MI. She was responsible for programs to increase the number of females in retailing for General Motors. This included the recruitment, training and appointment of female dealers, working with dealers to attract more women into automotive retailing positions, and to provide an enjoyable selling and service experience.


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Tags: Best, Car, Certified, Dealerships, Female, Friendly, GM, Hiring, Patricia, Practice, More…Roberts, askaptty, women


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Comment by Tom Drommond on September 9, 2009 at 8:34pm
David - I don't disagree that margins have shrank, but one thing salespeople forget is that the sales floor is an entry-level position in retail automotive sales. Like any entry-level positions, there are higher rewards available to those with talent and skill, but being a salesperson working the lot is not the end goal of this career path. No more than an internship is the end of the road for a doctor. The goal of every salesperson shouldn't be to stay even, it should be to get off the floor and onto the better jobs in automotive sales. I rarely hear of a finance manager, internet director, marketing director, GSM or dealer principal that doesn't value their time on the floor, but that wasn't all they saw in this business. In trying to attract and retain the best, male and female, we need to be honest during the hiring process. 20 years on the floor, busting ups is not as good as it gets. Let that be the first step on the ladder. When we tell potential new hires that we don't expect them to stop growing once they get their bills covered, we'll retain a better quality person, not just salesperson. Customers deserve professional salespeople that have a passion for their job and see more than just the sale in front of them. Staring out the window watching for an up does not say passion to me. If you don't grow beyond sales, you only scratched the surface of a much bigger career. If that's what I'd seen when I started 14 years old, I'd have quit 13 and a half years ago. Where do factory reps come from, where do a lot of our vendors come from? There's more out there than just the lot.
Comment by David Ruggles on September 9, 2009 at 7:01pm
This has been one of my missions for a couple of decades. Maybe it is because I have two daughters or maybe just because I am committed to fairness. I have been working in Japan to improve the careers of women who dare to enter the auto business. We have seen some amazing things and now have women as showroom managers. We have also encountered deep cultural resentment on the part of some.

In addition to squashing some of the neanderthal men who still dominate our business, it is important to understand the plight of auto sales people of either gender over the years. Margins have been dramatically reduced, hold back and packs have increased, demos taken away, health insurance cut back, internal work padded, more and more of dealer profit made un-commissionable as "trunk money" makes up more and more of car deals, etc. etc. etc. How many truly career auto sales people does anyone really know? There are many reasons the talent drain has been so dramatic over the years. Male or female, how many folks want to enter a field where they have to produce more and more sales and gross profit every year just to stay even?

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