Women entered the workforce back in the 60’s and are still making strides in trying to break that glass ceiling across various industries. Before entering the auto sales industry, I worked in high tech for over a decade and saw what a novelty it was to have a woman in leadership. We’d take our one woman executive and parade her around from event to event giving her accolades just because she was a woman and glossing around her accomplishments, skills or abilities.
As I look around the auto industry, the representation of female car dealers is just as bad. Take for example Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors. The most people know about her is likely that she’s the first woman CEO of an automaker. They don’t know that she started at GM at 18 years old and moved up the corporate ladder. Not only is she extremely loyal and savvy, she’s also smart with a degree in business from Stanford University.
As a female entrepreneur in the car business, it’s clear to me that it is a boy’s club but don’t let that fool you, I’m no victim. In fact, I see this as an advantage, a way to stand out in a sea of blue and khaki suits. More so, I see the opportunities that this industry can provide to women to succeed in car sales and hopefully dealership management.
What makes women better salespeople?
The truth is that a majority of purchases are influenced by women. According to Forbes, women buy 62 percent of all new cars sold in the U.S. and influence more than 85 percent of all car purchases. I mean, when was the last time a married man went to buy a car without consulting his wife? If he did, they’re probably not married anymore.
With women being such a critical part of the car buying decision, it would stand to reason that female car salespeople would be quite effective. We’ve found what can give women the edge in this male-dominated industry and have outlined the top three reasons why women make great salespeople.
1. Women have high emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. In fact, it is argued that emotional intelligence is the most important type of intelligence and the single best predictor of performance in the workplace.
According to research by Korn Ferry, the preeminent global people and organizational advisory firm, women score higher than men on nearly all emotional intelligence competencies and this is of big importance, especially when it comes to the car sales process. While at first shoppers enter the car market and think they are making a rational buying decision, it soon becomes clear that once they’re at the car dealership it becomes more emotional. If you’re able to connect with a potential customer and feel their emotion, mirror it back and display empathy, you can build rapport and your job as a salesperson becomes easier.
2. Women are great listeners
Alan Ram, the founder and President of Proactive Training Solutions, has always said “one mouth, two ears.” Asking the right questions and actively listening is a critical skill for a good salesperson – let alone good customer service. If you ask the right questions, car buyers will tell you exactly what you need to know to sell them a car.
It turns out that there is actually a biological difference between the way the brain is structured between men and women. While men do listen, they tend to focus on the information required to solve a task or problem, while women are more apt to connect to the emotional tone of a conversation. If you recall from our point above, making an emotional connection is critical, especially when it’s such a big ticket item you’re selling. When people feel heard, they feel comfortable and validated, it builds trust between the salesperson and the shopper. A savvy salesperson will be able to use what they heard to solve challenges, overcome objections and eventually sell to the customer.
3. Women are less intimidating
I’m sure you’ve never pounced on a customer the second they come onto the lot. But IF you did, I’m guessing this is a lot less intimidating for the shopper if you’re a woman. First of all, a female shopper is less likely to feel threatened if another woman approaches her. On the flip side, a man may feel bashful to brush the saleswoman off and may enjoy the attention. Car buying can be intimidating for anyone but women have even more reason to feel wary of the process.
A 2015 Yale study found that, on average, women were quoted list prices $200 higher than those given to men. That isn’t to say that a woman salesperson may be more fair when pricing, but overall, a woman’s demeanor, their body language and eye contact, can help put a shopper at ease. Additionally, a car saleswoman can be softer spoken and provide a low pressure environment for a shopper to ultimately make the buying decision.
There is no doubt that women hold unique gifts that make them strong car salespeople. How to be a good car saleswoman is not a question of skills – women have what it takes. It’s now the job of industry to open up the profession to women, making it more attractive for them to come into the business, like flexible working hours, the right culture and good training. We outlined steps that dealerships can take to attract more women in a previous blog post. It’s been proven time and time again that organizations that are more diverse reap bottom line benefits.
Become The Car Saleswoman You’ve Always Wanted To Be
At the end of the day, there are great men and women car dealers. What ultimately sets the good apart from the great is training. That’s where we come in, to help and uplevel your team with quality, professional auto sales training. Click to call or schedule a demo today and see how we can help you convert more opportunities into the showroom.