Note: This is the final part of a three part series on a subject that needs more that a single column to do it justice, because women are critical to your success.
Understanding the buying process
Understanding the differences in how men and women buy is critical to good recruitment, because women make employment decisions similarly to how they make buying decisions. Men are often characterized as transactional buyers. They want convenience and fast results, and often they just want the best deal without a lot of extras. Men focus on facts, apply logic to what they have heard, make a buying decision and then move on.
Women buy completely differently—once prompting a frustrated salesman to tell me he had given up on selling to women altogether! Women tend to look for the “perfect” solution and often get preoccupied about making the wrong decision. Their personal values play a stronger role in decision making. A dealer’s reputation is important to her, and she values trust and a personal connection with her salesperson. Women typically describe their needs and wants in detail, expect detailed information in return and then seek insight from friends or family. Buying is a process, not a transaction. If she is satisfied with her final decision, she will be a very loyal customer—or employee.
Keep her buying process in mind throughout recruitment. She weighs more options, takes more time and feels that she has more at stake than her male counterpart may. Finalize the recruiting process by making it a mutual decision to join, not a competition.
What’s recruitment without retention?
Keeping talented women on your team is just as important as recruiting them, and this has been a challenge in the auto industry for years. The differences in how women process, interact, communicate and buy should be built into your company culture and not end with the recruitment process.
Here are some fantastic tips for retaining women and empowering them to grow in the ranks:
- Flexibility is key for women, who often hold the most responsibility for raising children. According to Catalyst in 2008, 44% of women took advantage of flexible arrival/departure time, compared to 36% of men. But, women mostly did it out of necessity rather than comfort. Only 15% of women and 20% of men agreed that they could use a flexible work arrangement without jeopardizing their career advancement.
- Barring earth-shattering scientific advances, women are the child bearers in society, and companies who provide flexibility for mothers have the best chances at retaining them long-term. Childcare provisions, maternity and adoption leave and other family friendly considerations are a huge factor in the long-term success of working women and mothers.
- Do not confuse their desire for flexibility with an unwillingness to work long hours. In most retail environments, women salespeople commonly working very long hours.
- Networking and mentoring programs for women are highly successful in promoting a collaborative and women friendly workplace.
- Women make great managers. Studies show that both men and women favor the management style of women and good management drives bottom line results and retention.
In a few short years women will control and be the sole decision maker for the majority of personal wealth in this country. They will be looking for women friendly companies with which to do business, so now is the time to be sure your dealer personnel are reflective of the population both in gender and ethnicity, with special emphasis on tailoring your company to meet individual needs both internally and externally.