I must begin by first clarifiying the decision I made to use the word "Genius" in my title referring to women...I know men are very intelligent too; however, in my attempt to use a word that rhymes with "Venus", I thought "Genius" was the best choice...LOL.

Now, the point I am hoping to make here in this discussion is factual.  Speaking in generalities, historically, the male gender was introduced and exposed to automobiles at an early age... While little girls were playing with dolls, boys were collecting Matchbox cars...Right?  Known fact!  Dad would be found under the hood of his family car on a Saturday morning, inviting the curious son to take a look at 'what makes the car go', while the daughter was playing jump rope in the driveway or helping mom bake a cake.  As the child moved on to high school years, boys were encouraged to enroll in an auto mechanics course while girls were steered in the direction of home economics...Fact?

With this history in mind, there is no question as to how the car business evolved into becoming the most male dominated industry!  But "guys"...Times...they are a-changin'...People... are changing faster than I can type these words on my keyboard!  When is the dealership culture going to hurry up and adapt to what today's consumer wants, needs, and demands???  The old SOP, Standard Operating Procedures from the 70's and 80's which are still being practiced in today's dealerships have to cease.  And by "change" I mean a whole lot more than learning to listen and speak to women, or how to properly treat an internet lead, or having a "presence" on facebook, or placing a woman in the Finance Office because she tends to show more empathy and compassion when accomadating a client's requests... This is about top to bottom, changing the environment from the "good ole boys" club in the showroom, to properly utilizing a BDC, to offering split shifts or job-sharing to attract more men and women alike who realize their family life will suffer by choosing a career in the car business!  This means a complete overhaul in our negotiation procedures, word tracks used, advertising venues, means of communication, and a whole lot more!  

The introduction to the BDC's in the 80's invited women to get involved in telemarketing and various reach-out programs within the dealership which led to sales positions.  Women's "genius" minds then gentlely attempted to deter their male leaders away from the SOP, (Standard Operating Procedure) way of doing business, with not a whole lot of success, unfortunately.  My point is, we cannot place crisp, fresh-minded, current men and women into positions at the dealership, without changing the culture and expect our crisp, fresh-minded current consumers to respond in a positive fashion!  Everything needs to change!  Would love to hear all your thoughts on this...Men and Women alike!!!

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Now I want to hug you Cathy!!! LOL!  It is all so logical it is scary!!!!

Cathy Aron said:
Great idea to create a gals acronym Keith! It's refreshing to see a man's perspective on this, from someone outside of the GOBN loop.

Nancy this is great ! It is so true and well said. No one speaks up and the "boys club" is running Female programs, large corporate networks and ultimately did run the automotive Industry into the ground as far as reputation goes ..

This will give you some rocks from all our gentlemen friends. If women only bought from women we would eliminate a lot of the power. Let’s start by asking for a female Sales Guide mostly found in Internet.

 

Christine, Thanks for your reply and your support! Hats off to you for being one of the women who emerged from the speed bumps, hurdles and monumental road blocks challenging a woman to succeed in the industry through the years! It's unfortunate to think that we are in 2011, a time where communication has evolved to speaking to people real time on the other side of the world and being able to see and hear them from a screen in your living room or on your mobile device, but we are so bad at communicating our true sentiments! I wish more people would pipe in on this thread,( which may be viewed as bold, and relay their ideas on the subject. It is sad to think that some dealerships, today, will not hire women because they are so wrapped up in their family lives, may need to take time off to have a baby, or could cause a threat when dealing with compliance issues, namely sexual harrassment or sexual discrimination! Yikes!!!!!!

Nancy, great, great title, great post. The problem that dealerships lack is balance. It takes a complement (COMPLEmenT) of all races and genders in order to be appealing to all people. We don't market our dealerships on one specific gender or race; we want to get everybody through the door, but often the dealership is run one deminsional, caveman style; the males go out and "catch the food" (prospect) and the "little lady" is preparing it (accounting or customer service). It is easier for dealerships to play the role for the next 2 hours with a customer instead of making the necessary long-term investment of creating change in order to be compliant with all races and genders both in front and behind the camera. The scales are  no longer tipped toward white males, they are becoming more balanced (although not fast enough) thanks to women as well as multi cultures becoming bigger power players. The only way this will become more equal is if each one of us put less emphasis in talking about it and  begin putting  more of  what we wish to see into action. One person at one dealership can cause a ripple of  thought to become a wave of action. Thank you for your post.

 

Thank you Marsh for your support!  You are 100% correct...shouldn't the diversity of our staff mirror the diversity of our audience... I do not try to look at people differently because of their gender, ethnicity, or color of their skin....I was hoping people would not take this post the wrong way.... Thanks again for your brilliant comment!
I do sales training with a lady in Tennessee that owns and runs one of the most profitable dealerships in the USA. She is a wonderful person that really cares about her people. I saw her give out five Rolex watches on January third to her employees. She then said to the winners don't worry if you hit your goal this year we are going to send you and your family to Mexico.                 She knows what she want and is willing to share or give something back. What a great place to do training. So here is a big thank you to all the lady's and best of luck to all.
Cool story, Fran!  Thanks for sharing!!!!

Fran Taylor said:
I do sales training with a lady in Tennessee that owns and runs one of the most profitable dealerships in the USA. She is a wonderful person that really cares about her people. I saw her give out five Rolex watches on January third to her employees. She then said to the winners don't worry if you hit your goal this year we are going to send you and your family to Mexico.                 She knows what she want and is willing to share or give something back. What a great place to do training. So here is a big thank you to all the lady's and best of luck to all.

Automotive industry women consider joining and getting active in the Women's Automotive Association International. This is a wonderful organization to connect with find women who are leaders as mentors or become one!

 

http://waai.com/

 

http://waai.com/membership/renewals/

 

The leading women’s global organization dedicated to the development and advancement of automotive industry leaders.


Best Regards,

Jody DeVere
CEO
AskPatty.com, Inc.
www.askpatty.com

Ph:    805- 624-5623
eMail: jdevere@askpatty.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/askpatty

Nancy, Nancy, Nancy Whoa!!!!! No this is not your typical guy throwing stones. The reason I said Whoa is because this is the only market where a woman even has a chance to be a dealer. My experience here in the United States and Internationally leads me to believe there probably aren't 30 dealerships outside of the United States that are owned and run by women. Even in the thought to be liberal Canada most women in the industry are kept at the sales position and maybe as an F&I Manager (rare).

 

Why am I going there? Because this country is the best chance for a woman to become an owner and to work in upper management. Does it mean there are enough female dealers? No! Does it mean there are enough female managers? No! But, think of it this way; we have a 100 year old business that has always been a good old boys business. Look what you and your peers have done in the last 30, 20, 15 years!! Your movement through the industry has been remarkable and well deserved. Having spent 20 years in the retail business and then 15 years in the manufacturers side it has been an experience to watch the movement of women through the chairs, moving up, in both sides of the business.

 

I'm reminded of a short story I normally tell at the begining of a training session or a speech. "I was sitting on a flight from Atlanta to New York and had a beautiful, young, lady sitting next to me. She had just receive a promotion with a large IT company and was in charge of major accounts. We chatted about the demands of travel and calling on large accounts. She then told me she  had to hire two coaches to help her in her career. One ot those coaches was to teach her to think big!!!! If you knew me you would know that was a pet peeve of mine. Just think back to when we are children, we can do anything, but slowly over time our education, family situation, work environment takes that ability out of us. Moral of this little story is think big, don't let others dictate where you are going in your career or life. You want to be a dealer, figure out what it takes and make it happen. By the way for Cathy Aron, there are many woment dealers here in the United States and you and Nancy should look for them and ask for some coaching too!

 

Good luck with your quest!!

 

Larry

Larry, Larry, Larry!  I certainly was not stating there is no opportunity for women in this fantastic industry of ours, because there is unlimited growth opportunities for the female gender!  Sadly, what I want to point out, is there are way too many people who have not embraced our (yours, mine and many others) acceptance of this.  We encounter dealers every day, in my line of work, who refuse to hire women on the sales floor..."NO Skirts" is clearly stated!  These types of archaic practices feed my frustrations!  I love the car business more than I can describe in words...It has been very good to me!  I started at the age of 17 in a parts department and worked my way up to Comptroller with GM responsibilites...(tried twice to purchase the dealership with which I was employed).  Walk a car lot in my stillettos to understand the challenges we women in the business are faced with, which men do not endure.  I appreciate your support and guidance with regard to coaching... I am, in fact, looking into that as we speak!  Thanks again for your comments!

 


Thanks Jody!  Appreciate it!


Jody DeVere said:

Automotive industry women consider joining and getting active in the Women's Automotive Association International. This is a wonderful organization to connect with find women who are leaders as mentors or become one!

 

http://waai.com/

 

http://waai.com/membership/renewals/

 

The leading women’s global organization dedicated to the development and advancement of automotive industry leaders.


Best Regards,

Jody DeVere
CEO
AskPatty.com, Inc.
www.askpatty.com

Ph:    805- 624-5623
eMail: jdevere@askpatty.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/askpatty


Hey Larry!  I found it interesting to learn that according to a prominent F&I vendor in western Canada, there are 50% women F&I Managers here.  I haven't come across too many female SMs, GMs or DPs although I know it's coming (some day).  What I like about Nancy's initial post is that our support network is lean and I can't agree more, reaching out to those gals who have been there and done it is a great idea, can only learn amazing things from them!  Every expert needs a coach, I came across an article about a woman run dealership in western Canada, have it on my desk to call and say hello.  More than anything, if women are going to stick it out in this business, they need support from their peers.    That applies to any gender, particularly women because that's how we do EVERYTHING.  Nancy...I have an idea.  Thanks for your comments Larry, you jolted my thinking into action!

 

Larry Sherstad said:

Nancy, Nancy, Nancy Whoa!!!!! No this is not your typical guy throwing stones. The reason I said Whoa is because this is the only market where a woman even has a chance to be a dealer. My experience here in the United States and Internationally leads me to believe there probably aren't 30 dealerships outside of the United States that are owned and run by women. Even in the thought to be liberal Canada most women in the industry are kept at the sales position and maybe as an F&I Manager (rare).

 

Why am I going there? Because this country is the best chance for a woman to become an owner and to work in upper management. Does it mean there are enough female dealers? No! Does it mean there are enough female managers? No! But, think of it this way; we have a 100 year old business that has always been a good old boys business. Look what you and your peers have done in the last 30, 20, 15 years!! Your movement through the industry has been remarkable and well deserved. Having spent 20 years in the retail business and then 15 years in the manufacturers side it has been an experience to watch the movement of women through the chairs, moving up, in both sides of the business.

 

I'm reminded of a short story I normally tell at the begining of a training session or a speech. "I was sitting on a flight from Atlanta to New York and had a beautiful, young, lady sitting next to me. She had just receive a promotion with a large IT company and was in charge of major accounts. We chatted about the demands of travel and calling on large accounts. She then told me she  had to hire two coaches to help her in her career. One ot those coaches was to teach her to think big!!!! If you knew me you would know that was a pet peeve of mine. Just think back to when we are children, we can do anything, but slowly over time our education, family situation, work environment takes that ability out of us. Moral of this little story is think big, don't let others dictate where you are going in your career or life. You want to be a dealer, figure out what it takes and make it happen. By the way for Cathy Aron, there are many woment dealers here in the United States and you and Nancy should look for them and ask for some coaching too!

 

Good luck with your quest!!

 

Larry

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