Automobile ads give the impression that women consumers are all mid-30s, lean, attractive and married, without children. (Most ads tend to portray women this way. It’s not just an auto thing.) The reality is that women buyers come in all different ages, marital statuses and colors. And most have had children; many have children that live with them. Oh, how I’d love to see a car ad with a sales associate stuffed in the back seat between two kids, one in a car seat.
What distinguishes women in different life stages (single, married without children, married with children, empty-nesters and grandparents, among others) is how they think about their needs. How you think about and address their needs is very important, and every good sales training program should address the importance of identifying the customer’s needs before offering solutions.
I could go into a discussion of how to listen and listen some more, but I’ve covered that before. Suffice it to say you can’t listen enough. But listening will only get you so far. Recognizing what life stage a woman is going through and thinking about her needs and frame of mind will also help you adjust your focus when selling to her.
Younger women have grown up with more personal freedom than those from the Boomer Generation, who in turn feel more independence than senior women older than 65, who grew up in more traditional cultural roles. Younger women are more secure in their independence and will be very offended by a suggestion that they come back with a man to do the deal. They may however just grimace and shrug off the slight.
Boomer women are likely to be not only secure, but may also be adamant about it. It may be my personal perspective as a tough minded Boomer, but I’d think a Boomer woman would be most offended by a gender slight, and more likely to turn and walk out of the dealership.
Boomer women are not to be taken lightly. According to Nielsen, in five years more than 50% of the population will be over 50. They are set to control 70% of disposable income in this country. Soon, or already, entering retirement, their focus will shift from work to enjoying their time, and their money. It would be risky to assume they will be loyal. They have access to more information than ever before and will have the time to choose wisely. Nielsen suggests that if they’re loyal consumers, do your best to keep them. If not, figure out a way to win them over before your competition does.
Figure out how to read you Boomer women’s needs and address them. It’s not uncommon anymore for 50-year old women to have young children. And it is not uncommon for grandparents to take the kids for a day trip either, so don’t forget to tell Boomer women about your vehicle’s child friendly features.
Every sign that you are thinking of your customer’s needs is further reinforcement of the thought that you are looking out for her best interests, and not just trying to close the deal. Get to know your customer, not just to make the sale, but to build a relationship. Boomer women have the wherewithal to buy more cars in their later years than they did when they were younger. That great boom of aging consumers rolling into their senior years has a lot of potential to reward the dealer that appreciates them and markets to them.
Delia Passi will be speaking at the 13th Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition, October 23-25, at The Mirage Resort, in Las Vegas, NV. To learn more about her session and about other speakers at this conference, visit: www.DigitalDealerConference.com.