It’s critical to take the time to create ways to tailor your consumer brand experience to the female buyer. She is your number one referral source and the key decision maker of 85% of all the purchases at your dealership. I recently had the distinct privilege to interview Katie Mares, founder and CEO of Katie Mares Consulting. Katie inspires audiences around the world to think differently about their customer experience and service.
Katie shares, “Dealers that are not curating an experience for the female buyer are losing her lifetime value, which Carl Sewall has estimated at $517,000. That is serious money and margin.”
Their Perception Is Their Reality
When it comes to perception there is no such thing as objectivity. The consumer sees, hears, and feels from where they stand, not from where the dealer or sales associate does.
There can often be a big gap between what experience is being provided and what the consumer (especially the female consumer) thinks she is receiving.
A study by management consulting company, Bain, calls this disparity the “delivery gap.” In a study of 362 firms, Bain found that 80% believe their business offers a superior proposition (experience). However, only eight percent of customers held that same view. The extent of this difference is extraordinary.
We may think we are providing a welcoming experience when in fact we are offering an experience that we feel is right for them. The golden rule that we heard growing up is now a thing of the past. The higher standard that is demanded by customers today (especially women) is the “platinum rule” – treat them the way they want to be treated.
By designing a consumer brand experience from their point of view, you will be able to close the “delivery gap” between perception and reality.
4 Tips on Tailoring the Consumer Brand Experience Toward Women:
1: Create real relationships. Building trust with your female consumer base is extremely important when it comes to referrals and their desire to purchase a vehicle. One of the best ways to do this is to create real relationships. The word real is used intentionally, as women can sense when someone isn’t sincere and will walk. Get to know your female consumers through actively listening, showing compassion and empathy, and taking an interest in what they need or want (even if it’s outside of purchasing a car).
2: Make it personal. Capture information and use it in a meaningful way to tailor the experience. For example, if a customer has spoken about her son Johnny playing in a soccer tournament, make sure to ask about this the next time she visits. Remembering this detail not only makes her experience personalized, it also contributes to building a stronger relationship.
3: Create a female-friendly atmosphere. Ask yourself, “Is my dealership female friendly?” Here are some things to look for:
- Is the music appropriate?
- How vast is our magazine menu selection?
- An overnight car is the number one item requested by women in the service drive. Do you offer this concierge service?
- What is the temperature in our dealership? Is it too cold?
There are many ways to create a more open and friendly environment, but you must flip the lens and look through another point of view.
4: Train for EQ. EQ—that’s the good stuff like having self-awareness, listening, and having empathy. It’s critical to building your sales to women. One of the main reasons women walk out is because they don’t like the way they were approached or treated. Advisors with high EQ can read people’s nonverbal cues and adjust their approach based on the needs of each consumer.
Focus your training on soft skills (EQ) and layer in the IQ (product knowledge) as you go. When you blend EQ and IQ, you will receive optimum engagement from your female consumer.
Each of these tips will help to create an above-board customer experience that ultimately will increase your CSI results on all fronts plus outstanding reviews, loyalty, and retention. For more insight from Katie, visit KatieMares.com.
Author: Anne Fleming
Anne Fleming is president of Women-Drivers.com. The company has innovative solutions to assist dealers in showcasing their trust + commitment to women buyers and in turn expand their sales to this powerful buying segment.