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Want the REAL Reasons Women Buy from their Salesperson?

Welcome to Women’s Wednesday!

Dealers who “get it” know that the key distinction in optimizing sales to women is having exceptional sales advisors who offer exceptional service. But what does that really look like?

Women tell us directly through our car dealer review platform what works for them when interacting with a sales agent.  Below are their top 5 reasons for buying a car from them: 

  1. Trust  52.3%
  2. Being Respectful  52.1%
  3. Likeable  47.8%
  4. Knowledgeable  45.6%
  5. Understanding  40.6%

These percentages add up to more than 100% because reviewers can submit multiple answers.

NOTE: Coming in at 34% was the ‘price of the vehicle’. It is important, but ranks 6th overall. Clearly, connection and relationship are pivotal, outranking price.

  1. Trust:  Women buy from those they trust.  It’s essential to build trust – 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. Be honest and never try to make a forceful sale because that is a complete turn off. 
  2. Being Respectful: How women are treated matters. In fact, it’s the only thing that matters. Without respect, nothing else gets too close to a purchase.
  3. Knowledgeable:  Women buy from those who are knowledgeable and informative. Since they may not have purchased a vehicle in a number of years and  technology has changed dramatically, they want to be provided with complete and comprehensive information.
  4. Likeable:  Likeability is definitely a trump card. Studies show that women buy from sales advisors who are likeable and friendly. It is easy to talk to a friendly person rather than someone who  is dismissive or doesn’t listen well. Maybe even lightens thing up during a stressful purchase with a smile or a joke. 
  5. Understanding:  Being understanding is vital to meeting a buyer’s expectations. Women buy from those who are concerned and empathetic rather than pushing their own opinions or ‘spiffs/bonuses” on them. Successful sales ambassadors listen to women needs and wants. They are also extremely cooperative and patient.

Want more information on this all important topic, Click here to read. 

Want to Sell More Cars and Distinguish your Dealership to Women?  Click here to learn more.

Did you receive a Free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here to download

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Tags: brands, buyers, by, car, cars, dealers, dealerships, rated, reviews, with, More…women, working


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Comment by Jeff Mayernik on April 20, 2014 at 8:07am

Thanks Brian, I try to be respectable and respectful.  I was in professional sales (aviation, military and public safety markets; both domestic and international) for a decade before I switched to car sales last year. I learned early in my sales career about not pre-judging anyone -  I met a chronologically gifted gentleman at an airshow and thought "Wow, he could stand to spend $50 on some new shorts and a t-shirt without so many holes and stains" My boss enlightened me later that the gentleman owned about $2.5 million worth of aircraft privately and his company generated 10 times that amount in annual revenue. So, ya know, humbled that day.

As to dealing with single or pairs of women coming on the lot, I will knock people down to get that up. I had a significant advantage coming in because I had heard the story of my wife and her sister going out car shopping when sis-in-law wanted to buy a new pickup, I took her experience to heart. She had $6,000 cash in her purse to buy a truck that day. They visited 11 lots in 2 nearby towns and were greeted/talked to at 3 of them. At one lot she said that they saw two trucks that looked like good options, sat in them, opened the hoods and checked fluids while 4 salesman watched them from the showroom then they left without buying because, to quote my wife "Screw those redneck (expletive deleted); I wouldn't go back there if all their cars were marked down to $50." 

When approaching a woman who comes on the lot by herself, I start by assuming that she came in to buy a car that day. That's only been the case maybe 50% of the time but, still. 

When a guy comes on the lot by himself, I figure that I have a 20% chance that he's buying on the spot because I have heard variations of "Well, it's actually for my wife so I need to have her come look at it" so many times that I find myself asking "So, are you looking for something for yourself or for the family?" almost immediately.

Plus, and this is a big one for me personally - I have had very few female shoppers flat out lie to me about their automotive needs/desires and financial situation while men seem to do it as a matter of course. 

Comment by Cherie Price on April 20, 2014 at 6:33am

Well stated, Anne  :)

Comment by Cherie Price on April 19, 2014 at 5:43pm

No, Brian, Brad Pitt doesn't turn me on - never has.  HOWEVER, take a look in the direction of Jim Caviezel and I'd buy ANYTHING he had to sell at any price!  I'm not DEAD ya know.......I wouldn't guarantee purchasing a car from a HUNK, but I might kill most of the day browsing the showroom!

Comment by Anne Fleming on April 19, 2014 at 1:03pm

This is all great conversation, great ideas, and great ideologies. Each and every one of us has years of on-the-court practice, mistakes and expansions, as people and as managers in countless roles/responsibilities. I have two things to add to this fantastic dialog: 

First: we are in the people business, yes, it is cars we are selling, the commodity and product. (Btw,do dentists call themselves "teeth guys?"  'Car guys' is a fun and affectionate term, but we are in the business of serving our (prospective) clients with a commodity that they want - and then, providing tools and services, to retain those clients over a long-time.) So, the great thing about the people business is that all are welcome -- those with a Masters all the way to an 8th grade level education. Neuroscience shows over and over that an IQ and higher education is not a lock on treating people well, graciously, respectfully and  with manners. 

Second: Our company hears from some dealers who (after they have asked us to contact them with info about our Women+Family Certification) quickly say "oh, no, not interested! We treat all of our customers the same." Are you kidding me? I sure hope you don't treat all your customers the same.  Every single visitor and customer in America has there own set of needs, wants and expectations around their own car buying experience! Do you want your child's teacher teaching all the children in math class "the same" or your physician doctoring all her patients the same. Wow! that sounds weird -- (ie. Stepford wives...LOL). Not to mention, are those dealer's sales advisors robotic and ever react to anything? The Same? Cmon Man!  

I say none of the above to be contrarian -- rather - its reflective of our company BIG data on women's shopping, purchasing, leasing, and service experiences -- we share the trends and macro analysis with you to educate and expand and grow. When examined by OEM and dealership it is COMPELLING!

Comment by Cherie Price on April 19, 2014 at 11:22am

Response to Ralph Paglia's comment written 22 hrs ago.  Thanks, Ralph, for taking the time to read my post and even more so, for understanding my opinion.  Before I get into the 'nuts and bolts', I'd like to say "NEVER be embarrassed about your well earned MBA".  We would all (myself included) be proud to earn that achievement...but without the time, effort, hard work and financial hardship that it demands.  Ya done good, Ralphie!  ;)

IF we required a higher level of education for our sales team, we'd have one very large, new, well appointed EMPTY dealership.  Most of our guys come from the "good ole boy's club" and refuse to change or modernize their methods.  We have NO monthly sales/training meeting, much to my chagrin.  I'm not saying we don't have a good team, because we do and somehow they get the job done.  But I have the capability of listening to both sides of phone conversations (sales and guest) and I read several of the 'thank you' emails written by the team.  They both make me shudder and I'm actually embarrassed for them.  But do they all NEED an MBA? Emphatically NO, they don't.  My own son who has been in the car biz as a service writer and service manager for almost 20 years, excels at what he does.  And he barely made it through high school.

A rather off-topic subject is our local police department.  For many years, Aurora required a college education to become a sworn officer.  Those applicants who didn't meet this were directed (suggestion made) to Denver PD and I believe the whole country has heard stories about the Denver PD...and they are not flattering.  So, this reaches out beyond car dealerships and as more and more of our kids enroll in college, a degree will become the norm - in ANY business.

Yes, I agree that we need to seek out male and female applicants who possess a level of higher education.  I don't think this has ever been done in the auto business.  I certainly wouldn't want to see an MBA as a requisite but I'd sure like to hear the very LAST JOKE about car salesmen.  This can be done in the interview and hiring process.  My suggestion is to move in this area slowly and for the person in charge of hiring to not be an intellectual SNOB.  Starting over with a brand new sales team would be a very timely and very costly process.  TRAIN (or re-train) those you already have and be more cautious about the rookies you bring on board.


Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on April 19, 2014 at 10:47am

It is ironic to me that to treat women different than men is as prejudice as different treatment for various ethnicities. I learned early in the business to see if a man needed 'approval' from his wife (or even kids) for a purchase - but it is all in how you ask the question. A little tact and diplomacy will go a long way.

Good people skills apply to all genders and groups. In the absence of effective training in this valuable art that is left out of most MBA programs we need specialists to explain the importance of treating women (or groups) differently. Kudos for turning this shortcoming into a business, but I fear it points to bigger issues in society.

Comment by Cherie Price on April 19, 2014 at 10:35am

I have never treated a car salesman or ANY kind of sales person like they are pushing snake oil.  However, that's the way I've been treated.  I know of no other way to put it other than.......male car salesmen are patronizing to unaccompanied female buyers because they ASSUME they are dealing with a certified BIMBO.  Sometimes, they are, but many times they are not.  I have never assumed the role of "intellectual snob" - I treat salesmen as they treat me.  Give respect - Get respect.  I personally don't give a damn if the sales person never got past 5th grade - he can still meet the criteria I require.

Comment by Jeff Mayernik on April 19, 2014 at 5:54am

Um, seriously?

"6) This is a "DO NOT" in lieu of a "DO".......DO NOT PATRONIZE ME.  Who outranks whom?  My 6 years of university or your 8th grade education? DO NOT TREAT ME LIKE A BLONDE BIMBO (sorry to the blondes!  I'm half one!)"

One of my customer pet peeves is the assumption that I'm some sort of half-wit snake oil salesman because I sell cars for a living.  There are a lot of other things that I could do with my education and experience so one thing that I absolutely do is to return the favor when someone treats me like I'm an idiot. 

Men are generally worse for this than women because there seems to be some deep-seated need to prove they are are better or smarter than I am (as if irritating me will somehow cause me to give them a better deal) but I have run into a few women who seem to be going out of their way to 'catch me out' by asking a bunch of technical questions about things that are obviously just memorized from the brochure rather than being important to the purchase.  If, midway through a walk around, you ask me "What's the curb weight?" I no longer want to help you buy a car; I want to find an opportunity to turn you to someone who needs their time wasted.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on April 18, 2014 at 12:19pm

The Comment by Cherie Price hit a nerve with me... Over the last ten years we have seen a shift in higher educational gender trends to a point where the majority of students entering college and graduate schools are female. There are many reasons for this, but the male macho BS of being successful with no more than a high school diploma is something that I personally cringe at, and is simply not good for our culture, or economic competitiveness on a global scale. I worked hard to earn my Bachelor of Science degree, and then worked diligently in graduate school to earn my MBA... All too often throughout my 33 years in the auto industry I have found myself almost apologizing for, or even feeling a little embarrassed about my education and degrees when in a room full of "Car Guys".  A few years ago I met a sales manager at a Ford dealership who was in the process of completing his MBA after graduating from a very highly rated business school... Today that car guy is a dealer principal.  In my opinion, it is about time we, the auto industry, start making an effort to attract BOTH men and women with better educational credentials than we have traditionally sought in the past. Lord knows the money is there and every dealership I have ever been to (literally over 1,000) could use more business acumen and management skills than what is already there.

The reason that Cherie's comment about a car salesman's 8th grade education struck a nerve with me is because it is unfortunately likely to be true, and our industry deserves better. 

Comment by Anne Fleming on April 18, 2014 at 5:27am

Paul -- appreciate your comments. Yes, according to a recent Ipsos “Socialogue” US poll women are almost 50% more likely to rely on online reviews than men - and, they are more generous in leaving higher scoring reviews than men! a double double for dealers! 

We do have a Women's Wednesday coming up that is dedicated to this very topic, so am happy to give you a preview. The top 3 reasons women DON'T BUY FROM A DEALER? 1) Still looking   2) Poor deal/price presented and 3) Didn't like the way she was treated. The real lost opportunity? With the exception of #1 above, women DO NOT return to that originating dealership. Time is precious commodity for sellers and buyers -- its important for all of us to do our best to "get it right" the first time. 

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