ORLANDO, Fla.OK, so a woman walks up to a tire dealership or service shop counter...
No, it's not the opening to a joke, though depending on how counter personnel handle the potential customer, it could be the beginning of a sweet relationshipor a joke on the shop.
Women speak, on average, 20,000 words a day. Guys? Mmmm...how about 4,000?
Women are very much story tellers, according to Jody DeVere, founder of AskPatty.com Inc. in California. If your folks are working at the counter and a woman comes in, she needs to get her words outdon't interrupt her, she urged attendees during her seminar, How to Wow Women and Increase Your Marketshare, at the 2014 ITEC Tire Dealers/Auto Service show in Orlando.
Many women need to tell someone at the service counter about their past automotive experiences as well as any current vehicle problems, Ms. DeVere said. The quandary for some personnel is they want to get to the point without spending a lot of time listening.
Men like to get information in bullet-point styleget me the information now, quickly, and move on, she added. But women need to tell their story. Women want to be heard and acknowledged.
To reach potential female customers, she said shops need to tailor their marketing approaches to women. If a dealership is running cable TV or radio commercials, Ms. DeVere advised: Ask a woman other than your wife to look at it...to see how your message resonates with women. She noted that commercials should run at times that are popular with women.
While in smaller markets newspapers are still a good place to advertise, she said tire and service shops in larger markets must realize women are onlineyou have to be aware of your website's SEO (search engine optimization). Women like to be connected and share their experiences.
She cited Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and one of her favorite websites, BlogHer.com, as popular places where women especially like to gather to share experiences and keep up on current trends. Ms. DeVere admitted she's heavy into Facebook, and said it helps a business be a part of its extended familywhich includes not only its employees but its customers and local community.
She also told seminar attendees that, in case they hadn't already noticed, men are very transactional-orientedthey like to get to the heart of the matter and take care of business without a lot of muss and fusswhile women are very relationship-based. Our feelings are very important to us.
Price is not the ultimate selling point for women either, Ms. Devere added, unless they're restricted to a particular price or income bracket.
Roughly 78 percent of the vehicles brought into a shop for service have women behind the wheel who are making the repair decisions, she said, and 60 percent of passenger tires sold are to women.
Women are waiting longer to get married nowadaysat about 28 years-oldand stay-at-home moms are becoming a rarity, she said. Also, three times as many women as men are getting college degrees and six times as many are starting new businesses.
To understand female customers and their needs, she urged shops to do a demographic study of their local markets.
And then to punctuate her message, Ms. DeVere asked a 45-year-old women in the seminar audience how she sometimes feels in the retail marketplace. Disrespected and ignored was the response.
To reach this reporter: [email protected]; 330-865-6130.