The customer of tomorrow is queen
"I'm happy to give you some catalogs, then you can discuss this with your husband at home." Excuse me? I was thunderstruck and thought I had interrogated me. But my counterpart, a customer adviser in his early forties, made no move and seemed to be completely serious. The catch on the matter: I wanted to buy a new car. For me and my money. A casual SUV with sports equipment and yet comfort and luxury aspects. Just cool for long car rides and lively mountain tours. That alone is my decision - but apparently you do not trust me as a woman this independence and above all, the purchasing power too.
If you now believe that the salesman was just having a bad day or was a self-confessed chauvinist, unfortunately I have to disappoint you. Because I did not experience that only once or twice. And I'm not alone with such experiences: Listen to your friends and acquaintances around and ask how many of the women have been treated by sellers from above, especially when it comes to such "men's issues" as buying a car or Investment went.
I bet every woman can contribute at least one or two stories. Actually unimaginable, after all, we no longer live in the 60 years! Since then, a lot has happened: women now stand with their two legs in life. They bear both professional and family responsibilities, have good, sometimes high incomes, and determine where and how they spend their money or what car they buy. In the minds of many entrepreneurs, sales managers and marketing managers this does not seem to have arrived yet.
From budget to financial independence
Recent studies show that only 20 percent of all purchase decisions are made by men. By implication, that means each one Companythat the remaining 80 percent, namely the women, as customers, can increase its customer base fivefold. Actually a simple calculation. And yet we are treated like aliens when we enter a dealership. Something is not right here. The sales areas are primarily playgrounds for big boys.
Or temple, built in honor of the great Carl Benz. It is exactly this impression I have when I dare as a woman to enter this foreign territory. Men are almost reverently sneaking back and forth between the wagons, animated smiles, wherever I look. You could have heard a pin drop! Honestly, if I want something like that, I can go to church too. Do you think a single mother would even dare to come here with her child? I can already see the disapproving looks of the seller, if children's hands leave impressions on the mirror-polished car or even like to sit like the big rehearsal. Everything is screaming that women only enter the store in an emergency. The best way to get their partner back there, after they were on a shopping trip. A huge fallacy!
Diversity instead of unitary porridge
After all, there are also women who do not know what to do in terms of expertise so quickly and who know the best about horsepower, torque and the benefits of a sports suspension. Unfortunately, both the marketing and the sales team tend to lump all women together and treat them as technophobic beings who are at most interested in the color of a car.
The fact that the corporations are losing millions due to this thought seems to be dawning on those responsible. Because a business woman like me feels taken aback when she is only small city carts with parking aid advertised - although she is explicitly interested in a high-horsepower car of the luxury class, which carries them comfortably, safely and quickly several thousand miles a month. Which woman is still in the mood to buy a new car if it is so ironed out?
"Women are the next China!"
Dieter Zetsche recently announced at an investor conference that he had identified a very promising target group. With more potential than China - after all, the largest car market in the world. He meant the women! When I read this, I just thought "Glad it finally noticed one". Apparently, a smart man at Mercedes once counted one and one and found that they sell most of their cars to men.
There is still air to the top - but this only works if marketing and sales recognize the huge potential of women as the target group of the future. There is not the target group woman. There is hardly any, if not no, more inhomogeneous target group. The professional, childless business woman has different needs than the single mother with two children or the mother of a multi-headed family who cares about the care of her parents. You see what I want to get out of: It is high time to break up the idea of the drawers in the minds of the companies! Concluding with overhauled stereotypes, diversity is the key slogan.
Women love pink and other mistakes
"But we are already doing something for women ..." That is one of the answers that I get to hear frequently in my work as a consultant. Honestly, if that really worked, I would not be there, would I? I've seen the whole spectrum of atrocities: invitations with playful pink letters, a "women's car" with hooks for the shopping bags in the trunk or the special emphasis that both sun visors have a make-up mirror.
Which women should be fetched behind the stove? What the male-dominated automotive industry does not seem to have understood yet: it's not about making the car "female" as a product. After all, most women do not really care about that. Many do not care about the look, but about getting safely from A to B. Or to be able to fasten the child without lumbago in the child seat on the back seat. It is much more important to gear the sales process more to the needs of the customers.
Put the needs of your customers in the center!
This starts with the design of the car houses. No, you do not have to paint the walls now and decorate with kissers. Although I have already seen this and must say that it was a pleasant change after the whole sterile glass palms. How about a small area with stuffed animals and coloring books for children so that they do not have to get bored? Or the possibility of arranging an individual call and inspection date when the opening hours coincide with the customer's business days?
The list of possibilities is almost endless! It is time to drop the blinders and flag the flag - also in terms of advertising. Put on female role models in the offers, in the advertising or in flyers! It is important that women and their needs be taken seriously. Therefore it is not enough to invite you to an event for your customers. In order to build trust and to bind long-term customers to your company, it needs honest, individual and above all continuous impulses. And do not forget that we live in a referral society! Statistics show that a personal recommendation for the vast majority of women is the most important source of information. You should have that in every customer conversation in the back of the head - especially in today's business times, where people are more familiar with the advertising.
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