According to a recent study, women buy 52% of all new cars sold in the U.S. and influence more than 85 percent of all car purchases. This makes them the fastest growing segment of buyers for new and used cars, and when you do the math, that means women have full or partial say over $80 billion worth of spending on cars. So why do car dealerships find it so difficult to sell to women?
The fact is, the auto industry is primarily owned and operated by men, and they have a hard time marketing to women. When asked, 74 percent of women say they feel misunderstood by car marketers. And since the numbers show that 95 percent of the U.S.’s 20,000 auto dealers who belong to the National Automobile Dealers Association are male, there’s a clear cut problem communicating the needs and wants of one segment to the other.
The soon-to-be-published “Influence: How Women’s Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World for the Better” by Maddy Dychtwald with Christine Larson, talks about the problems that women face when purchasing a car and what dealerships can do to cultivate this influential market.
This information comes at an opportune time, especially with the state of the auto industry, and should be required reading in any dealership. In an interview with Jody DeVere, president and CEO of AskPatty.com, she advises that car salespeople need to create an environment where women don’t equate buying a car or getting it serviced with going to the dentist.
“Men and women communicate differently and can misunderstand cues and singles,” says DeVere. “Men need to learn how to listen, and why. It makes women trust you and creates a relationship.”
Just a few important notes to jot down: women are more concerned with fuel economy than color or stereo options, and are more likely to shop around at various dealerships to get the best deal. Along with the best possible price, they also want features that make life easier, as they are often the ones chauffeuring children to activities and events. On top of that, more powerful 4-cylinder engines in SUV-like vehicles have been among the popular picks this year.