The customer of tomorrow is queen
“I would be happy to give you a few catalogs so you can discuss them with your husband at home.” I beg your pardon? I was stunned and thought I had misunderstood. But my counterpart, a customer advisor in his early forties, did not make a face and seemed to be serious about it. The catch: I wanted to buy a new car. For me and my money. A casual SUV with sports equipment and still comfort and luxury aspects. Cool for long car journeys and lively mountain tours. That is entirely my decision - but apparently, as a woman, I do not trust this independence and above all the purchasing power.
If you now believe that the seller was just having a bad day or was an avowed chauvinist, I am sorry to disappoint you. Because I have not only experienced it once or twice. And I am not alone with such experiences: listen to your friends and acquaintances and ask how many of the women have already been treated by sales people 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 also temples, built in honor of the great Carl Benz. It is exactly this impression that I have when I “dare” to enter this foreign territory as a woman. Men sneak between the cars almost in awe, soulful smiles, wherever I look. You could have heard a pin drop! Honestly, if I want something like that, I can go to church. Do you think a single mother would even dare to come in here with her child? I can already see the disapproving looks of the seller when children's hands leave marks on the highly polished car or want to sit like the grand rehearsal. Everything screams that women only enter the store in an absolute emergency. Ideally only to pick up your partner there after you have been on a shopping tour yourself. 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 greater potential than China - after all, the largest car market in the world. He meant women! When I read this, I just thought "Nice that someone finally notices it". Apparently a smart man at Mercedes added up 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 often hear in my work as a consultant. Honestly, if that really worked - then I wouldn't be there, would I? I saw the whole range of hideous things: invitation flyers with playful pink letters, presentation of a “woman's car” with hooks for shopping bags in the trunk or the special emphasis that both sun visors have a make-up mirror.
Which women should be brought out from behind the stove? What the male-dominated automotive industry apparently hasn't understood yet: it's not about making the car more “female” as a product. Basically, most women don't really care. Many are not interested in optics, but in getting safely from A to B. Or about being able to buckle up the child in the child seat on the back seat without lumbago. It is much more important to align 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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German edition: ISBN 9783965961180
English version: ISBN 9783965961197 (Translation notice)
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