Leverage these emotions to sell more cars to millennials

Today’s news is full of articles about the buying power and habits of the “millennials”, which has an estimated population of 78 million. This Women’s Wednesday is part of a multi-part series we are exploring about women buyers within this segment. Of millennial buyers, 53% are female. Understanding the nuances of selling to this new generation of women can put your dealership in a position to leverage the newest car buyers and truly increase your market share in today’s ever competitive industry.

Our latest study tracked 620 reviewers and sheds light on the similarities and differences between millennial and non-millennial women that will help you create age-specific sales techniques. Both millennial and non-millennial women ranked their satisfaction level with dealerships as very high.

1. While “excited/excitement” is the #1 emotion the buyer felt while shopping for a car, millennials report “relaxed” as being number two, versus “apprehensive” for non-millennials.

Why it Matters and How to Leverage: The newest generation of women reports they are more relaxed and confident when buying a car than previous generations. Why? According to a study by Ameriprise Financial (June 2014), millennial women are more in control of their finances and enjoy making these decisions. Six in ten millennial women (vs. 43% of non-millenial women) reported they learned about finances from their parents.

Percentage of women who learned about finances from their parents

Additionally, younger women are more comfortable using technology to arm themselves with the information they need to make car buying decisions. Astute sales advisors who understand and respect this confidence will quickly gain the trust of their potential car buyer. A good sales approach is to ask questions, respond truthfully, and guide car shoppers through the remaining information needed to make a decision. Above all, assume these women are smart, and have spent a lot of time learning about what they want. While they may have less experience buying cars than older generations, they have a wealth of information at their fingertips that has not been readily available in the past. They are prepared and fully capable of accessing that information while inside your dealership.

2. “Trustworthiness” and “respect” are ranked #1 and #2 for millennials’ reason to buy from a sales advisor. “Understanding” replaces “knowledgeable” as #3. Millennials visit slightly more dealerships to look for a car.

Why it Matters and How to Leverage: Millennial women hold trust and respect as the top qualities they insist on for a sales advisor. They expect their sales advisor to understand them and what they want in a new car. Many millennials are first time buyers and combined with the knowledge and confidence described above, want to feel they are making a comfortable choice. Trust and respect comes from realizing millennial women have done their homework about what is available to them.

Sales advisors will benefit from listening carefully to what their millennial shopper is saying and provide honest answers to her questions. A prepared buyer doesn’t need help with all of the decisions. Learning to perceive where the grey areas are can help accelerate a sales decision. Be there to help, not coerce. And listen, don’t lead.

Get The Full Millennial Women Buyers Report Now!

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Comment by steven chessin on September 30, 2015 at 5:53pm

David has defined Millennials brilliantly.brilliantly. Siri has become the surrogate knowledge and they think they know they know what she knows.

 "Why would we even claim transparency?  Why would we even want it?" 

Because info-empowered customers feel the need to know -- and dealers feel the need to feed-their-need with what they want to hear. The appearance of transparency.

Comment by David Ruggles on September 30, 2015 at 3:56pm

The biggest issue with buyers today, ESPECIALLY Millennial buyers is that they have a lot more information than previous generations had, but they "know" less.  The info they have is like drinking from a fire hose for them.  They think they are more prepared than they are.  The challenge is to be able to spend enough time with them to develop a level of trust so you can correct their false assumptions without destroying your chance at doing business with them. 

Dealing with consumers who think they know a lot more than they do has always been a problem.  Today's complexity has exacerbated the situation.  In days gone buy, there was invoice and hold back.  There were no rebates and trunk money was only available during build out and when carryover allowance was available.  All sales people understood where their costs were and it was much easier for the consumer who chose to do the research, even though they might have had to buy a book at a news stand.  These days, sales people don't have a clue where there dealership stands in the current stair step programs.  Trunk money is where the dealer's profit is and it is common for the consumer to take delivery of a vehicle for LESS than the dealer pays off at the bank.  We've turned it into an automotive shell game while bragging about how "transparent" were are.  Well, customers don't believe our claims.  They have their own view of what transparent is.  Further, our triple net cost is none of their business, which begs the question, why would we even claim transparency?  Why would we even want it? 

This is still a relationship business but dealerships are free to discount the advantage of well trained and experienced sales people and try to compete based on "market pricing." 

Surveys and research has more to do with how the questions are posed than anything else. 

Certainly trust and respect is the most essential part of a relationship.  I don't know how that's done remotely, so face to face skills help a lot.  I don't believe there are very many "prepared" buyers today, although there are many who think they are.  About 20 - 25% % of all buyers are fast trackable due to their credit score, but many of those have trade negative equity and edgy debt to income levels.  Everyone one else is in a tier below prime, or is a subprime credit risk or BHPH.  Because of long term financing the level of trade negative equity has never been higher.  These non credit fast track consumers present their own level of challenges.  I think our industry would be wise NOT to assume that all car buying consumers are "prepared."  The traditional skills of relationship building in our business have never had a higher value.  And that doesn't come quickly. 

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