To sell cars to women, try a little sensitivity, Martiz survey finds


Despite years of training, the retail side of the industry still doesn’t know how to deal with women customers, a Martiz survey found.

Chris Travell, VP Maritz Research, said “There are still things dealers have to learn. They need to make sure their marketing efforts are directed to women.”

Travell suggested dealers should have women-only nights, for example,  when vehicle maintenance could be explained. Most important of all, he urged that all dealership efforts aimed a women be promoted on the dealership website.

He said that sales people have to tailor their sales efforts to women who, the survey found, were more concerned than men with price, payments, reliability and value for the dollar. As well, the survey found that women are more likely to be compact and subcompact buyers.

Keeping these things in mind, salespeople should shape the walkaround to reflect these interests when dealing with a female customer.

And dealers should stock and display vehicles that appeal to women.

But he warned against thinking that customers, women or men, know it all because they’ve shopped the Internet.

“There can be a perception out there that 100 per cent of the people who walk in are so knowledgeable that the walkaround is irrelevant. That’s not true. Clearly, there is a need to communicate, to reaffirm why they should be interested in a certain vehicle.”

The survey done in Canada from October 2011 to September 2012 interviewed 40,000 new-vehicle owners. Women made up one-third of them.     

The survey found that the top 4 auto brands most popular with Canadian women were MINI, Fiat, Hyundai and Mitsubishi.

Travell said OEMs and dealers shouldn’t ignore women. They recommend the brand, the dealership and the salesperson more and buy more extended warranties than men do.

He said brands such as GM and Ford have the products that women want but they need to improve their marketing efforts in the women’s market.

Travell said there’s a danger of becoming complacent where women car shoppers are concerned. So the survey is a wakeup call.

“Let’s face it, this is a male-dominated industry.”