Our guest blogger this week is Anne Fleming. She is the President & Car Buying Advocate of Women‐Drivers.com, the leading women's car dealer ratingand review service, connecting women to Certified Women‐Drivers Friendly® Dealers. From reviews, data is mined and published about women's dealership experiences.
Marketing to Women
That is a mouthful anyway you cut it. As a new contributor to AutoSuccsess Magazine, I get asked what this means and what is special about it.
The Market: What does Marketing to Women mean?
The umbrella term 'Marketing' includes advertising in print, television and digital spaces. It also includes your etiquette and the quality and effectiveness of posts on your social channels. Of course, we can't forget your brand reputation platforms? And of course, marketing includes the people, process, pricing and promotions within your dealership's sales, F & I, internet and service department.
Ok, now that marketing is narrowed down, let's discuss women. What is so special about women? Is there really a need to zero in on this segment of buyers? Let's look more closely:
Women will purchase 27 million cars this year, closing in on over half a million units each week at new car dealerships! This number however does not include or address their influence. Consistant research shows that women influence up to 80% of the deals. Additionally, two-thirds of visitors to the service lane are women. If you apply the math to your business, you will find that women indeed have a powerful purse.
The Focus: Women Buyers
Even with these statistics, you might say that you treat all your customers the same – and there is no need to focus on women. That blanket response doesn't hold water anymore. As a concept and ideology it sounds excellent but one approach does not fit all the customers you have. Consider, that difference sales practices are needed to meet and match the needs of your customers.
It cannot go without saying that many women have not had the experience they wanted when buying a vehicle in the past. They have left a dealership and never have gone back due to their experience that they were underserviced in some capacity. Unfortunately, that still happens. Women shop at 2 dealerships prior to buying a car. When a woman leavers a dealership and doesn't buy, there is a 75% chance she will not return. The number one reason women report they do not return is that "I didn't like the way I was treated."
In this highly competitive market, consider the financial impact to your sales and bottom line, even if the number of ups who left your store was reduced from 75% to 50%!
The Changing Times
With digital research so readily available as well as the sales approach shifting dramatically at dealership into the 21st century, it's a new game indeed. The recession showcased a number of trends that highlight the dynamic purchasing power of women:
• Women outearn their husbands in one-third of families today
• One-third of homeowners are single women
The Opportunity: Engagement
The tipping point to increase sales at your dealership is by turning those shoppers to buyers. What is the quickest way to engage these prospects? Consumer reviews. JD Power reports that one-third of customers use review sites to fast track where to buy their next car. Reviews are optimized on Google and other platforms and customers can go to these dealerships with confidence. As importantly the same report shows that women are more generous with their scores than men.
Are you engaging your customers before they come into your store? Are you actively getting reviews to publically show your transparency?
If you are, you are ahead of the game. If not, now is the time to begin.
The Solution, Part One: Your Reputation – and Sales
Women are the fastest growing segment of buyers. Wouldn't it be great to market to women before they walk into your store? And, via a model that doesn't cost an arm and a leg? Yep, good old fashioned testimonials are now called reviews, and - they are worth their weight in gold.
12 Best Practices
1. Assign a champion to be responsible for reviews.
2. Choose the forums that impact your business the most and get started there.
3. Use their logos and images on website, floating toolbar, lead providers and social channels.
4. Share the number of reviews and scores each week with your team.
5. Ensure that the Sales, Internet and Service teams use consistent messaging when asking customers for reviews.
6. Print and give customers "Review Us" card's.
7. Add a postscript to outbound emails: "Share your Experience with Us. Click here (Your Dealership Review Page) to write a Review."
8. Ask customers with smartphones to write reviews. The bottom line is to Ask, Ask, Ask.
9. Acknowledge all reviews – good or bad. Customers took their time to comment and provide feedback; thank and acknowledge them in a timely and professional manner.
10. Remember a 'Bad' review is acceptable. Consumers expect to see some not-so-great reviews. All perfect scores appear pretentious and inauthentic.
11. Have weekly contests between the sales, service and Internet teams to see who can generate the most. A competitive spirit drives reviews.
12. Send eblasts to customers who've visited in past 30 days and ask for a review if they have not written one already