Women who work in car dealerships are playing an increasingly important role in attracting new customers simply because they offer an alternative to the traditional cliché of a “car salesman”.
Although car showrooms are still on the whole very much male dominated it has to be acknowledged that women are far more likely these days to be involved in the car buying and decision making process and the industry needs to reflect this change and employ more women in sales jobs than they do currently.
Where female sales execs work in many showrooms around the country it is being proved that they are equally as effective as their male counterparts and in some cases are beating them in both volume sales and profits.
The fact that more women are empowered to go out and choose their own car and not be intimidated by the predominantly male environment is a encouraging sign that the industry is changing with the times and can only be a positive step in improving the image of the car industry.
One sales manager told me recently that in the past he had been very reticent to employ women in sales roles because he was worried that it would have a negative effect on his male sales execs. He also felt that a woman would not be able to “connect” with many of his customers. Now, not only has he changed his mind since employing a very successful saleswoman, but he is actively promoting their inclusion in other branches within his company.
Admitting that his previous attitude belonged in the dark ages he also freely admits that not only do they see more female customers as a result of having women on the sales team but it has changed the attitude of the males in the team towards one another and, perhaps more importantly, their customers. This new balance in the business has resulted in extra sales and profitability.
In fact major car dealer group Pendragon is fairly open about the role it sees women playing not only in the buying of cars but also the selling. They are openly targeting women by providing, what it calls, “a softer sales environment” in their new car supermarket venture called “Quicks”.
Pendragon CEO Trevor Finn said the used market had more women buyers than men, because “a lot of the male population is employed by corporates and get company cars”.
He added: “Quicks has a much softer environment. If you can find the car cheaper, we refund the difference.”
It certainly shouldn’t be a subject that raises eyebrows in future. As the dynamic of the car buyer changes the sales team should be evolving to meet these new developments and we would expect to see many more women in positions of influence in the car business in the future.