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Anne Fleming

Anne Fleming President & Car Buying Advocate

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8 Tips to Hire Saleswomen to Build Dealer Sales & Retention

A recent national report “Women Car Buyers Rate Women Consultants Higher in Dealer Reviews” shows that these buyers experience higher satisfaction and improved customer experiences when they work with female consultants.

A more trusting and engaged consumer experience leads to higher CSI scores, reviews and retention.

Here are 8 suggestions to help dealers hire more women to the front-line team:

1. Think Outside the Dealership. Women excel in sales. When looking for female sales consultants, don’t limit yourself to those with automotive experience. Real estate, hospitality and telecom retail are all areas where women perform at high levels and are great places to recruit new employees. These industries, polished training, and customer experiences can easily be transferred.

2. Understand Why Women are Great at Sales. The best consultants know how to build trust and have a strong intuition that helps them spot potential snags in a deal. Look for employees who are solution-oriented and work to simplify the complex. These traits accelerate the sales process and sales.

3. Step Outside the Rut of Long Hours. Women and millennials understand how to work smarter, not harder. They can accomplish more in a shorter “traditional “work week because they desire a good work-life balance. More attractive work schedules will attract more job applicants and foster retention.

4. Focus on Development and Retention. Turnover in the automotive industry is 39% for men and 43% for women[1]. These numbers cost your dealership extraordinary money and time. Rather than trying to make everyone fit into the same schedules and expectations, spend time getting feedback and brainstorm on new ideas.

5. Ask your Customers. Customers are an untapped resource for feedback regarding sales practices and their experience. Ask for honest feedback and adjust your sales programs accordingly. The national report above shows that women consultants ranked higher in customer satisfaction. Find out what your women consultants do that is different and incorporate that into sales strategies for all.

6. Like Attracts Like. We are inching closer to a place where the majority of car buyers are women. They would prefer to buy from someone with whom they relate to and “gets them”. Having a choice to match demographics simply makes good business sense.

7. Get Creative. If you’re having trouble finding women sales consultants, find out why. Are the hours too onerous? Do you or the leadership team have a mindset of, “It just doesn’t work here?” Consider splitting shifts. Or rotate shifts with interested team members so they don’t have to work long hours every day. Shorter, more family-friendly hours will attract women with families.

8. Market your Inclusivity. Review your marketing, advertising, and digital material to see how inclusive it is to your entire demographic messaging. Or, is it simply all about the “product and price”? Ensure that photos of your dealership and interactions show diversity and balance – and include women selling to women & families. This balance applies to your career sites, too. Let women know your dealership is an outstanding place to work.

Adding women to your salesforce makes sense for so many reasons. It is a want that these buyers don’t even know they have, as most today still haven’t had a choice in the matter. Your dealership will be rewarded with improved sales, CSI scores and customer retention.

[1] NADA Dealership Workforce Study, 2017 https://www.nada.org/workforcestudy/

Bart Wilson

Thanks for sharing Anne.  I feel that the typical dealership culture isn't conducive to diversity.  Where should a dealership start?

Anne Fleming

Bart, that is a great and loaded question, but in asking it, it will be a line of demarkation for dealers to open up their business to share and showcase they are more than just selling agents. First, hiring more qualified women on the front-line and on the service side is a great start. Having your people on the floor represent a dealers given community is simply good business. 

Another equally important dimension of sharing ones culture is to go beyond the typical "here's our reviews, our inventory and pricing" website. Show faces of customers and consultants in your digital platforms, and provide a WHY BUY HERE. Having reviews helps to get folks in the door, but dealers need to articulate what the expected consumer experience will be. These are a few places to begin.

Providing a culture with sales practices that are engaging, trusting and open-ended, along with having highly qualified  employees of different genders, nationalities and backgrounds, demonstrate a business that is committed to inclusion and diversity.  

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