How car dealers offend women (part 1 of many)

I am often asked how FOXY can tell a female friendly car manufacturer, dealer or main dealership from the way they market to and then treat women.

Clearly that’s a big story but let’s start by looking at the ones that aren’t female friendly because they are easy to spot with Swiss Toni and/or Arthur Daley tendencies to overcharge, patronise and sell us services we don’t need or want.

I usually start by reminding he who asks (it’s usually a he and often a manufacturer/dealership wanting to pick our brains for free, thinking they can then do ‘female friendly’ for themselves)  that the lack of respect for women starts at the very top of the European motor industry as exampled by manufacturers and Motor Show organisers that seem to think that scantily clad girls draped over new (and F1 racing) cars are needed to ingratiate a male audience :-).

Wake up guys – this isn’t where you should be spending your money in future. There’s a huge female business audience to talk to too.

They clearly don’t know who is buying their cars nowadays otherwise they wouldn’t set out to insult and patronise women in this way (and surely bimbos are so very deja vu).

I then add some of the common and usually current stories we collect via the helpdesk at FOXY Lady Drivers Club.

A regular, repeated to me last Thursday evening at a Marketing event organised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing in Sussex, is where the new or used car salesman asks the female, doing her car shopping, to bring her husband in to finalise the buying finances.

Red alert guys – wrong approach here. You will know this because hopefully she’ll walk out the door and go elsewhere or buy online.

I can only imagine that he who says this sort of thing doesn’t have a female to organise his life; most men do of course so there’s no excuse for them to imagine we couldn’t get ‘our pretty little heads’ round a series of different payment options.

Perhaps it is for that very reason that he wants to re-assert himself  in ‘his’ often all-male work emporium? Or perhaps that he simply can’t manipulate women who know what we want, as he might a man, talking that ‘mate to mate’ jargon that few females understand?

Please don’t get me wrong – you do not have to be female to be female friendly and many men are extremely female friendly in the right way. You just have to understand how to talk to us and this starts with RESPECT.

Either way – the future requires motor businesses to be female friendly to stay alive in future and those that are will and those that don’t get it will struggle.

If you run a business and are reading this post, click here to see FOXY’s female friendly Promise at the FOXY Choice website and ways to promote your business to women drivers, ahead of those that aren’t up to this challenge.

Rest assured there are those that can’t,however hard they try, sign up to our voluntary code without knowing they’ll get found out and reprimanded by us.  And, of course, there are a few that aren’t welcome to sign up, on the basis of feedback we receive within the Club.

When we have had to tackle an organisation that has got things wrong for a female (and it isn’t always their fault I hasten to add) we’ve either had a quick and apologetic response or an arrogant ‘we know better’ reply.

Whatever, it always speaks volumes about a business culture and the latter businesses then get their card marked by FOXY so that local women are informed about this, where necessary. It’s highly unlikely that they’d then qualify for a FOXY Choice listing as a female friendly business unless they’d undergone a personality transformation or rehabilitation programme in the meantime!!

Get it right for women drivers and we spread the word = more sales, referrals and profit.

Get it wrong for women drivers and we go elsewhere (and chances are we don’t say goodbye) = less sales, ongoing female dissatisfaction, smiling competitors and a lack of understanding why…

The future requires you to be female friendly; get your business strategy, culture, staff training and communications right so you can take advantage of this ahead of others.

FOXY

“If you do things well, do them better. Be daring, be first, be different and be just.”
Dame Anita Roddick, Body Shop Founder, 1942-2007