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Do Car Dealers Really Need To Be "Women Certified" ?

Car dealerships Are Not "Man Certified" so why be "Women Certified"?

More and more companies are popping up that “certify” automotive dealerships, tire dealers, collision centers, etc.  to sell to women?  I have been scratching my head on this one for a while now. 

Have we got to the point where we need to not just train salespeople how to sell cars to buyers, but how to sell cars to “women car buyers” specifically?

 I applaud the “entrepreneurship” of it all, but I’m just not sure I’m ready to put the hands together for the effectiveness of the concept itself.  Women just like men are not all the same, so selling cars (or anything else) is about asking key questions, building rapport, and other common techniques. 

If we need to be trained and certified as salespeople on “how to sell to women correctly”, why stop there?  Should dealers be certified on how to sell to gay people, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Muslims? 

Are women really that different, where we now need to train salespeople specifically on how to sell a car to them?  If I was a woman, I think I might feel a little offended.  If I was a woman who wanted to be treated as an equal then I would really feel offended (I think)!

So, if I was back selling cars, and a couple walked on the lot, I already realize how important she is in the car buying process so what would I need to be trained on, over and beyond product knowledge, treating people with respect, answering their questions, building rapport, and asking for the business?

 There is also the branding part of it all. Dealerships place logos and market to women saying we are “women certified” so when you come to our dealership, you will be greeted by I’m guessing a female salesperson that is not out to earn as much as she can for herself and her family? ( I don’t know, just asking.)

When we had over 50 salespeople at my company, there were several women who placed in the top 10 every month. They earned big money and deserved every dime.

I guess maybe it is just the “feel concept”. Women car buyers “feel” better working with a woman even though they are on commission just as a man would be?

It has been said that women buy half the cars and influence the other half.  That is not the real stat but I don’t think there is a car dealer out there today that doesn’t realize the incredible influence that women really have today.

I hope some women will chime in here and not get hung up on my sarcastic “Man Certified” logo- (you know how women can be… :-) 

Views: 1137

Tags: digital, direct, ideas, list, mail, marketing, todd, vowell


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Comment by jkimes on February 11, 2014 at 7:40pm
Let me start by saying, For the last 28 years I had the pleasure of working in the car business. The last 23 years I have been employed at the same dealership. I was the first "women" the dealership employed in the sales department. It took me 15 interviews before I was offered a sales position. Shortly their after I became their top salesperson. I climbed my way up this male dominated world by hard work and always trying to better my skills. Countless opportunities were given to others while I sat back and watched, . If you don't think there is a difference, then I say you must be a rookie. Ironic found post by exploring women's review sites. I was asked to join to attend a luncheon to for a local professional women's group, the group consists of 50 powerful women. Normally I avoid anything REMOTELY close to a lunch with strangers. But reluctantly was convinced by a friend. It was an eye opening experience. One that has made me redo my 2014 strategic plan. Near the conclusion of the luncheon my invite introduced me and my background. One of the ladies asked if I would consider joining the group that she would just love to have someone from the automotive field she could get advice from. This sparked a 10 min conversation from others sharing their bad salespeople stories. Tina, one of the lady spoke up and shared what had happened to her last month. When she asked if she could test drive the vehicle she was interested in, after he asked if "she would be financing" then asked her when she could bring her husband back. No ring on her finger, in fact she has never been married. Point. it happens all the time! If you don't think it does hire a women mystery shopper. I think you will be shocked. Does the seal mean much? A great marketing took, but training is what is needed in an industry where the standards and approaches can be very offending to women. What is important to me is my time. Give me a tool designed to review a dealership based on my standards as a women by a women. Because we can relate like no man can. We know what it's like to work full time, be a wife, mother, caregiver, etc. We share when we have someone that provides great service and we will pay a little more to get it. I like so many women will not waste time and spend days shopping for cars...I will never visit a place of business where I was offended. I always check reviews and so does ever women I know. when they need Service for car, finding a doc, a dry cleaner, restaurant, etc. Why... No time... We want someone we can trust and who will provide great service. How often do men do research? Really? So I ask all of YOU men. Are you the same? The seal doesn't matter the SERVICE does. This approach has gained us a 42percent increase in the past two years.
Comment by Todd Vowell on April 6, 2012 at 8:47am

Glad to see you support those great dealerships, congratulations!

Comment by Delia Passi on April 5, 2012 at 4:23pm

Yesterday we celebrated the Top Dealerships for Outstanding Customer Experience by WomenCertified at the Digital Dealer Conference. Many of these outstanding dealerships were also recognized witht the Women's Choice Award. It was an amazing event and we intend to continue to support and recognize dealerships whose customers rate them as exceptional. This is about helping you by helping customers find dealerships they can count on for great service. If you're not being recognized as a Top Dealership by WomenCertified you are limiting your sales potential. But dont it from me see for yourself what women have to say


call me to discuss how you can participate. I'd love to introduce myself!

Delia Passi



Comment by Ashley Poag on April 3, 2012 at 1:37pm

This is the reason that in Appealing to female car buyers, Part I by Insignia Group I placed this quote “If Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, and you can speak Venutian, the world can be yours.”, from the Movie “what Women Want”. Just as Ralph pointed out, the training offered by groups like, is training that all customers would appreciate. As to whether or not your dealership needs it is question each organization has to answer based on their goals, mission, and CSI. Are you in the business of treating women right and you want to make a statement about it? Or are you in the business of treating everyone right, and your CSI speaks for itself. Any type of sensitivity training is certainly valid based on its success and response in the market your market place, whether or not you invest in it should be based on the specific organizations needs and goals.

Comment by Todd Vowell on April 3, 2012 at 7:01am

"Decision Maker Certified"! That's good Jason. Makes all the sense in the world. The decision maker and buyer are not always the same but that is such a great practical approach.

Brian, I think you will find just as many men who will tell you the horrors they have encountered except their ego wont let them admit it.  No matter what sex, it really does come down to treating everyone the way you would want to be treated.

When it comes to sales tactics, if a salesperson lets a customer go (man or women), more times than not, they will buy somewhere else, usually that day. Salespeople do need to earn that business when they drive on the lot and there is nothing wrong with profit. What happened to "higher the gross, happier the customer"?

Comment by Brian O'Connor on April 3, 2012 at 6:40am

Too often I meet with a lone female buyer who tells me off the horrors she has encountered while car shopping. The learing, condescending talk, being taken advantage of ....and these stories are all the same. I think that if men just get back to the basics of how to treat a woman, any woman, this problem will be aleviated. Kindness, respect, and manners, not high pressure sales tactics. Pretend that is your mother, sister, or daughter and you will not only make the sale, but earn some respect.

You don't have to be "Women Certified"...the Women will let you know if you're doing it right. And if you aren't, no amount of "certification" will erase the damage that one displeased woman can inflict in an Internet review (or any unhappy customer for that matter)!!!

Comment by Jason Manning on April 2, 2012 at 7:57pm
I teach my sales associates to find The Decision Maker(s). We are Decision Maker Certified. That person(s) is any age, sex or ethnicity. The customer chooses their role. We respond accordingly.
Comment by John L Mecham on April 2, 2012 at 2:00pm

There is an old saying I was taught as a young salesman;

"The man may be the head of the household, but the women is the neck and tells the head to bob up or down or side to side".

Comment by Cathy Nesbit on April 2, 2012 at 9:02am

I'll start by saying we aren't "women certified", but we are a Top Dealership for Outstanding Customer Service award recipient from Women Certified. We are very proud of this award. In our local market women have not been welcomed as decision makers. That may or may not be a fact, but it's a real perception of many women. Since we have a high volume of female employees, not just in the business office, but in sales, service, marketing and upper management, we desire to be a dealership where women in our community do feel comfortable.

For us being a recipient of this award is something of a symbol that can be comforting for some women who have been nervous about tackling a major purchase (or repair). We have the most excellent customer service for every customer no matter the gender, race or religion. We service a community of people who we treat the way we want to be treated. And, if that community includes one single mom who is thinking of giving her decision to a brother or uncle, we just want her to know she will be respected and taken care of just as well as her uncle or her brother.

Comment by Jenifer Miller on April 2, 2012 at 8:22am

Dr. Elizabeth Archulete makes a terrific point when she states that "salespeople need to know how to sell to different people and not just men." It's just great business and should deaden the cries that this is simply a gender issue for the sake of making it a gender issue.

She also points out - accurately - that for years male doctors treated women with heart disease the same as men. Doctors (mostly male) ignored (or simply weren't aware of) the different symptoms experienced by women and as a result, heart disease became the number one killer of women. Lesson Learned: Know your audience.

Before entering the auto industry a mere four weeks ago, I worked in sports marketing. Until the industry caught onto the fact that women had primary purchasing power for the family, footwear manufacturers and other industry leaders simply shrunk and painted the product pink, claiming they were now marketing to women. They didn't get what women wanted (a product that fit their different bodies and color preferences). Lesson Learned: Know your audience.

If women have primary purchase/influence power for most of the household purchases, wouldn't it make good businesses sense to learn what drives them to select one brand over another? Wouldn't any salesperson want to know how to make the sales process more palatable, quicker and decisive for their most loyal customers?

When salespeople and marketers accept that evolving the traditional model to incorporate new techniques and approaches we'll ll recognize that this isn't a gender issue at all ... It's just good business.

Lesson Learned: Know your audience.

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