Eureka! The refunds are coming

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Closing the deal: How to harness the power of the Extranet and Rehash Tool

A little effort can go a long way.

And what dealer wouldn’t commit a little bit extra to double, triple, even quadruple his/her contract closure rate with Santander Consumer USA?

That “extra” would be using the SC Dealer Extranet and Rehash Tool.

Some dealers already know that, but there are many more who are missing out on this opportunity.

The Smart Dealer Logo 300x300A recent survey of one SC region, for example, showed that dealers using the Rehash Tool closed deals with SC at about twice the average closure rate for the region, with the most successful Extranet user achieving a whopping 52 percent closure rate.

“Closure rates were much higher for dealers who used the [Rehash Tool], because dealers have the ability to make infinite changes to the deal structure in order to find what combination works best for them and the customer versus taking or leaving our initial approval,” said an SC Regional Sales Manager.

“We are putting the buying power into the hands of those dealers who want to seize the opportunity to make their own approvals,” the RSM added.

The art of tweaking

Credit applications aren’t an exact science – many require tweaking before getting approved.

But instead of spending the short time you have with your customers on the phone with a buyer, you can update numbers, revise the type of vehicle, add backend, etc. You simply plug the information into the rehash tool and receive a new structure in real time.

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And the Rehash Tool is available 24/7, allowing you to work deals on your timetable.

“We love the Rehash Tool because it allows us to maximize profit and capture each deal,” said Elford Nolan, finance director for Jack Miller Kia in North Kansas City, MO. “Within minutes we know how to best structure our customers to fit their needs and ours.”

‘User-friendly experience’

While the Rehash Tool is a good reason to use the Dealer Extranet, there are others, including tracking your deals in funding to see if you need additional documentation, uploading stips that go directly into the funder’s queue, printing a purchase letter with total funded and applicable fees, and accessing the dealer resources section containing documents important to doing business with SC.

“One of our greatest assets is our Dealer Extranet, especially for high-volume dealers,” said Stephen Rivelli, an ASM in the Bronx, NY. “The ease of use and the multi-functionality of it, from rehashing an application to funding, allows my dealers a fast, user-friendly experience.”

For more on the Rehash Tool and Dealer Extranet, see the video below, ask your ASM or contact SC’s sales department.

‘Dynamic Backend’ program creating a buzz with SC dealers

The reviews are in.

And “Dynamic Backend” is a hit.

Like a blockbuster movie, the new program from Santander Consumer USA (SC) has dealerships nationwide buzzing about the impact it is having on their businesses.

Here is what several had to say to SC area sales managers about the Dynamic Backend program:

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  • “We’re very excited to see the new feature,” Joe Moore, finance manager of Rusty Wallace Kia in Knoxville, TN, told Mindy Troutman, SC area sales manager. “I use the rehash tool normally on a daily basis. Having backend on the callbacks has made things easier and a real time saver.”
  • “I love the new backend amount showing a max,” Sharis White, business manager of McNeill Nissan in Wilkesboro, N.C., told ASM Phil Pyburn. “It allows me to structure my deals more easily and it enables me to maximize my total deal profit.”
  • “Anything that saves time is a huge value add,” Sean McCray, finance director of Hyundai of Athens, GA, told Ashley Quick, senior ASM. “If I can receive a callback that works and know how much room I have to sell product AND get my customer signed and on the road in a timely manner, that helps me from a customer-service perspective.”
  • “It has made deals faster and easier to put together with Santander,” said Mike Isadore, F&I director at Max Madsen Mitsubishi in Aurora, IL.

Different for every deal

Here’s how the program works, according to Quick:

“Different lenders have different programs based on contract volume – a set amount based on performance – which means you get a set backend on every deal. When we describe our program as ‘dynamic,’ it’s because our backend is different for every deal.”

And that’s not the only advantage for dealers with the Dynamic Backend program.

“We cut out the calculating and provide the backend allowance on each callback,” explained Quick.

“Every callback is different … the higher-quality, higher-priced vehicle gets a higher backend allowance, and it has nothing to do with the amount of business a dealer does with Santander.”

It also makes the process a lot simpler for dealers to do the math.

“Not all stores knew they had almost a guaranteed backend,” according to Quick. “The process was to go on Dealer Extranet and/or call in to get backend added to your deal.”

“Now we simply state it on the callback. So from first look, a dealer knows exactly what he’s working with and how much profit they can make. Many finance managers’ pay plans depend on backend product, so it’s a big deal for them to know immediately which call is most profitable.”

Listening to new ideas

Steve Shenk of Bob Mayberry Hyundai [Monroe, NC] had asked for dynamic backend stip about a month before we rolled it out,” said ASM David Kiser in Wilmington, NC. “He said it has easily doubled the amount of deals we are getting and saves him a ton of time rehashing or having to call his buyer.”

“I appreciate having the maximum allowable backend on the callback,” added Paul Nodine, finance director at Rusty Wallace in Louisville, TN. “It allows us to save time and make more money.”

Todd Gendron, ASM in Orlando, FL, gave an example of a positive response to the Dynamic Backend program by an F&I manager at one particular Florida dealer.

“It definitely has made a difference in the way he decides where a deal is going much quicker. Whereas before he had to rehash the deal or would just go with the path of least resistance. Now he can know up front what the best deal is, and we have seen an increase of apps and deals.”

“I am pleased that Santander takes an interest in continually improving both my ease to do business and willingness to listen to new ideas and get them applied,” said Moore of Rusty Wallace Kia.

Dynamic backend.

What does that mean to you?

Short answer: Santander Consumer USA understands your business and is committed to building a relationship, working with dealers to generate strong financial results.

Said Quick: “All around, it’s a win/win.”

Take advantage of ‘bonkers’ Black Friday, December with fresh online ads

Black Friday.

Sounds ominous.

But for retailers, it is anything but that as the start of the holiday shopping season.

More and more, that applies to car dealers, too.

“Consumers go bonkers over Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” according to Dealer.com, a digital products company that works with OEMs, dealer groups, retailers and agencies.

“What used to be considered a nonautomotive retail holiday, Black Friday continues to attract millions of eyeballs online and the potential for high sales volume for automotive.”

And it’s the gateway to December, typically one of the biggest sales MONTHS of the year, which includes other big sales days such as Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

So, if you haven’t planned your online advertising strategy yet, Dealer.com has a few ideas to help you generate more customer traffic during the holiday(s), and all of them should provide useful ideas for the month of December, as well. The key, Dealer.com says, is “a balanced strategy across multiple channels, and for the whole month … not just the one day.”

Here’s where to start, according to Dealer.com:

PAID SEARCH CAMPAIGNS

These tap into interest already available in the market.

  • Keep your ad copy fresh to feature the promotions, sales and events you’re running or are planning to run. Remember, customers research and plan purchases well ahead of time!
  • Make sure your campaigns are helping you move the models most valuable to you, and optimize your paid search campaigns to help achieve these goals.

DISPLAY CAMPAIGNS

These generate interest in your brand and inventory by building awareness.

  • Again, refresh your copy to feature current promotions, and push the appropriate inventory.
  • Identify what networks your display provider accesses – the more diverse the networks/exchanges/portfolios, the more eyeballs on your brand.

RETARGETING

This capitalizes on traffic paid search and display campaigns generate by following up with shoppers.

  • Make your retargeting budget proportional to your monthly unique visitor count. Why wouldn’t you want to follow up after doing all the work to bring traffic to your site?

While they’re focused on Black Friday, these suggestions apply to December, as well.

“Black Friday – and the month of retail fervor it ushers in – will be here before we know it,” says Dealer.com. “The key is to get organized and strategize so you can make it work for you, and not the other way around. Otherwise, it’s a whole lot of craziness with no benefit.”

Done correctly, online advertising “can transform sales performance,” said Dealer.com.

The bottom line, a ‘perfect storm’ and the need for vigilance

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Turning shoppers into buyers

Know thy customer.

Three simple words that are easier said than done for dealerships that sell used cars.

“As dealers, you want to match up the right car with the right customer as quickly as possible,” says the introduction to a CarStory white paper based on responses to a recent survey of used-car shoppers. “It helps you move cars, and it helps turn shoppers into repeat, happy customers.”

So what did CarStory find were reasons Americans were seeking a used car instead of new?

The top two reasons far and away, followed by the percentage of shoppers who chose each, were: save money, 60 percent, and get a good deal, 53 percent. In fact, four lesser reasons also made some reference to savings, including getting more features for the money, 26 percent; reducing insurance costs, 19 percent; minimizing depreciation, 17 percent, and avoiding hidden fees, 13 percent.

Find out what you need to know about turning used-car shoppers into buyers.

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Adding to your bottom line

Your dealership probably is leaving money on the table.

That’s what a recent Cox Automotive online/mobile survey of 5,000 vehicle owners suggested, with less than one-third of vehicle maintenance-and-repair business finding its way to dealerships.

General repair/service stations, quick lube shops and tire stores combined for half of service visits. That’s a lot of money – about $50 billion – in an industry that generates nearly $100 billion in revenue.

“Dealers that focus on the service experience have the potential to add millions of dollars of revenue,” said Sandy Schwartz of Cox Automotive. Dealers can capitalize on that revenue opportunity by providing customers a service experience that addresses value, trust and convenience factors.

The reasons dealerships are not capturing more of the service market fall into the categories of value perception, awareness, customer experience, warranty/service contract expiration and location/convenience, according to the Cox survey.

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Riding out the ‘perfect storm’

December is a perfect storm for dealerships.

The holiday frenzy, close of the sales year, model year close-out, manufacturers’ incentives, the approach of tax season.

Typically, it’s one of the best months of the year to be selling cars, based on U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) monthly data going back years, so it’s not too soon to begin preparing.

December has been the second-highest sales month of the year on average over the last seven years.

But if results are going to peak this December, new-car sales will have to top 1.626 million sold in March. That may be a stretch since some industry analysts believe sales already may have plateaued – over the last six months, sales have hovered around 1.5 million – but not out of the question.

In other words, you can use all the help you can get to sell your share of new vehicles in December.

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Selling better to women

Do the math.

Women bought more than 13 million new and used vehicles last year – and will purchase about the same number this year – based on data from several sources.

About 45 percent of new cars are bought by women, and nearly half of those women purchase vehicles by themselves, according to a white paper written by change management consultant Frances Payne Harpst and Anne Fleming, CEO of Women-Drivers.com.

That amounts to about eight million cars, trucks and SUVs, using Bureau of Economic Analysis sales data.

The other five million represents a similar percentage of franchise used-car sales of 11.4 million in 2015, based on Edmunds.com’s annual Used Vehicle Market Report.

That’s a lot of clout for dealers to handle to be successful with this demographic.

READ MORE

The need for vigilance

It’s a jungle out there.

Danger seems to lurk in the bushes and behind every tree. That means you must be on alert every minute of the day and night to avoid unpleasant surprises.

You’re only selling cars, you say, not on safari in Africa, Southeast Asia or South America. But a lack of vigilance can cost you plenty in monetary penalties, sanctions and reputation.

“For most people, buying a car is one of the largest purchases they’ll make,” Jessica Rich, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, told Bankrate.com. “Car ads must be truthful, loan terms must be clear, and dealer practices must be honest.”

Underscoring the operating risk – and need for vigilance – are recent actions by regulators such as the FTC and NHTSA against dealership activities they said violated U.S. consumer protection laws.

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When ‘pretty good’ may bring holiday cheer to yearend results

Pretty good.

That’s how one analyst described the current state of U.S. vehicle sales when October results were announced by automakers.

But that’s applying a pretty high standard.

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Even with reported sales falling short of October 2015, which had two more selling days, the total for the year still is within reach of another record. Achieving that would require a very strong November and December and would mean topping 17.5 million in total sales.

Still, it was the first time since the Great Recession that U.S. sales of new light vehicles declined for three consecutive months and the fifth month in 2016 of year-over-year sales drops.

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DealerMatters: Making it through December ‘perfect storm’ with Santander

Why auto dealers may be holding their breath over yearend results

“It’s getting tougher to sell cars, but it’s still a pretty good market,” said Michelle Krebs, an analyst with Cox Automotive’s Autotrader. “It’s just taking more [incentive spending] to push through sales.”

“Regardless of whether or not 2016 vehicle sales surpass last year, 2016 will turn out to be another very strong year for the industry, particularly from the depths of the recession in 2009-11,” Tom Libby of IHS Markit told The Detroit News. “It’s easy to lose sight of how far we have come.”

And expectations appear to be that the plateau is broad, with LMC Automotive earlier this year projecting sales from mid-17 million this year and next year to just over 18 million in 2022 and 2023. That assumes the U.S. economy continues to expand at an average two percent GDP growth.

”Although automotive sales are expected to remain near the all-time high, they are still expected to contract slightly this year, as well as in 2017,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president at LMC, who sees that “creating challenging conditions for vehicle manufacturers and automotive suppliers that will test the discipline of the industry for the first time since 2009.”

Meanwhile, the question also arises over whether the holiday season can help car sales finish strong.

While November can be one of the weaker sales months of the year, December usually is one of the strongest, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. In fact, December was the best new-car sales month of the year in 2015 – the third time in five years it ranked No. 1.

“Coming off a record year … we have to keep things in historical perspective,” Rebecca Lindland, Kelley Blue Book’s senior director of commercial insights, told Fox Business.

And that’s pretty good, indeed.

Most major brands are represented in nominations for Car of the Year

The nominations for World Car of the Year are in.

And 13 of the world’s 14 biggest manufacturers have at least a little to brag about.

Overall, 32 brands are represented for the top award, as well as performance/luxury car, green car, urban car and car design (which includes all WCOTY nominees).

One WCOTY official described the 57 models in the competition “deliciously tempting.”

PHOTO CREDIT: 2016 World Car Awards

PHOTO CREDIT: 2016 World Car Awards

The brand with the most nominations, Audi, scored five in four different categories, while Kia and Mercedes-Benz came in with four nominees each. Chevrolet, BMW, Honda and Toyota models were nominated in three categories each, while seven other brands – Buick, Cadillac, Citroen, Genesis, Hyundai, Smart and Suzuki – received a pair of nominations.

“If our 2017 nominations long list is anything to go by, of all the mainstream, truly international carmakers selling products across the globe, Audi is the most active and impressive of the lot,” wrote Mike Rutherford, director and vice chair of the World Car Awards.

“One brand achieving five of the 56 nominations is an astonishing achievement,” Rutherford wrote.

Audi models nominated were the A5/S5 Coupe, Q2 and Q5, all for the WCOTY award, plus the R8 Spyder in the performance/luxury category, and the Q7 e-tron 3.0 TDI Quattro for green car.

However, Rutherford made a point of the strong showing by Kia, which landed four nominations overall, including three for the WCOTY award, all of which also qualify for the car design category. Those selections comprise the Cadenza, Rio and Sportage (WCOTY) and the Niro Hybrid (green).

Kia’s total of four equaled that of luxury brand Mercedes-Benz, which was not nominated for the top award but was selected in design, luxury/performance (two) and green categories, and doubled the number of nominations received by parent company Hyundai.

In all, 23 vehicles were nominated for WCOTY’s top award, 24 for car design, 14 for performance/luxury car, 12 for green car and seven for urban car.

“These are vehicles that range in price from $10,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars,” wrote Rutherford in announcing the nominees. “And that’s the way we like it. Eye-wateringly expensive products can be – but aren’t necessarily – the best. Conversely, those boasting the lowest prices don’t have to be the worst. Some big-selling, cheap as chips small cars … are as important and significant as considerably more exclusive, top-end luxury models for the super-rich.”

Last year’s winners were the Mazda MX-5 in the World Car of the Year and car design of the year categories, BMW 7 Series (luxury), Audi R8 Coupe (performance) and Toyota Mirai (green).

A group of 73 international automotive jurors will test-drive the nominated cars, and then vote by secret ballot in January 2017. Three finalists will be named in each category at the Geneva International Motor Show in March, and winners will be announced April 13 at the New York International Auto Show.

A full list of the 2017 World Car nominations is available at the WCOTY website.

How your dealership can survive, even thrive in regulatory jungle

It’s a jungle out there.

Danger seems to lurk in the bushes and behind every tree. That means you must be on alert every minute of the day and night to avoid unpleasant surprises.

You’re only selling cars, you say, not on safari in Africa, Southeast Asia or South America. But a lack of vigilance can cost you plenty in monetary penalties, sanctions and reputation.

“For most people, buying a car is one of the largest purchases they’ll make,” Jessica Rich, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, told Bankrate.com. “Car ads must be truthful, loan terms must be clear, and dealer practices must be honest.”

Underscoring the operating risk – and need for vigilance – are recent actions by regulators such as the FTC and NHTSA against dealership activities they said violated U.S. consumer protection laws:

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  • Three Dallas-area franchised auto dealers agreed to pay an $85,000 civil penalty to settle FTC charges that they violated an administrative order barring them from deceptively advertising the cost of buying or leasing a car by disclosing limitations on the advertised pricing detailed in the small print of a television ad and in print.
  • An Arizona-based dealer was ordered to pay a $40,000 civil penalty by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and take steps to ensure it doesn’t violate the Safety Act by selling and delivering new vehicles to customers without fixing safety-related defects or “non-compliances” about which it has been notified by the manufacturer.
  • A dealership in Arkansas agreed to a $90,000 civil penalty to settle FTC charges that it violated the Used Car Rule by failing to display a buyers guide on used vehicles offered for sale.
  • A West Virginia auto dealer agreed to pay an $80,000 civil penalty to settle an FTC lawsuit for violating the terms of a consent order that barred it from deceptively advertising the cost of buying or leasing cars by concealing important offer terms and failing to make credit disclosures.

The ‘most important’ rules

A list of the “most important” rules and regulations is long – more than 20, according to one compliance consulting firm, among 85-plus identified by the National Automobile Dealers Association – including:

  • The Red Flags Rule, which requires that your dealership have an identity theft program in place to detect the “red flags” in your day-to-day operations.
  • Regulation M (Reg M), covering how your consumer leasing provisions are spelled out in your process so that they are clear and easily understood by consumers.
  • Regulation Z (Reg Z), which requires your dealership(s) to ensure that credit terms are disclosed so consumers can compare them more easily and knowledgeably.
  • The Used-Car Rule, which ensures your used-car buyer’s guides are “up to snuff.”
  • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that protects the privacy of consumer information and sets standards for privacy notices, opt-out notices, and how nonpublic personal information can be used or disclosed.

And then there’s the Disposal Rule, Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Credit Practices Rule, federal truth-in-advertising laws, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Fuel Economy Advertising for New Automobiles, etc.

“Dealerships operate in an increasingly complex environment of federal, state and local oversight,” said the firm, compli, in a guide entitled 21 Rules and Regulations You’re on the Hook for …, which provides a checklist to help you identify “who in your dealership is responsible for your protection.”

The CFPB takes a stand

Besides the FTC and NHTSA, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) also is involved:

Although federal law that created it doesn’t allow the CFPB to regulate car dealerships directly, the bureau has moved against financial institutions that provide indirect financing through dealerships, and non-franchised dealerships who provide direct financing to consumers. CFPB actions have resulted in fines against lenders in the tens of millions of dollars and caps on interest-rate markups that dealerships are allowed to take on financing to avoid alleged discrimination.

All this oversight has led some to one major conclusion and some ideas on handling it effectively.

“The government crosshairs on auto dealers is not going away,” said Steve Levine, chief legal officer of AutoStar Solutions in a white paper comprising a 12-step checklist to help dealerships avoid trouble.

Among Levine’s suggestions for your dealership(s):

  • Document pertinent facts, protecting your dealership from the start by keeping detailed notes about transactions, negotiations and customers.
  • Keep a centralized compliance manual comprising all of your dealership’s processes, procedures and other compliance-related documentation, because it will serve as a “clear sign” to regulators that you understand the importance of compliance issues.
  • Hire a specialized attorney for this “highly detailed, ever-changing area of the auto industry.”
  • Reframe your view of complaints, looking at them as an opportunity to fix problems before they escalate to the point that a lawyer or regulator gets involved.
  • Implement progressive discipline for “rogue employees,” because, if you don’t discipline and document, regulatory agencies are liable to hold you accountable for their mistakes.
  • Get your advertising house in order by understanding advertising compliance issues and consulting an auto dealer attorney to avoid trouble.
  • Educate your staff to compliance issues, because your knowledge “means nothing if your staff doesn’t share that knowledge” – and “regulators will investigate whether you train your team to comply [with applicable rules and regulations], or set policies just for show.”

“There are numerous laws and regulations that govern your workforce, from broader federal regulations to policies that apply to specific jobs,” says compli, the consulting firm. “Educating your workforce about key compliance issues, and getting acknowledgement that employees have received and understood this information … it’s not only important, it’s legally necessary.”

It may still be a jungle out there, but now you may be better prepared to survive the challenges.

Resources to help you meet challenges of risk, regulatory environment

In front.

Surely it’s where you want to be with dealership risk and compliance issues.

And that’s why we pulled together resources and guidance from regulators, experts and other sources to help you meet the challenges in the new risk and regulatory environment.

Here, we’ll retell the story in a way that helps make sense of a complex subject and helps you reimagine (or imagine) your dealership’s relationship with Santander Consumer USA (SC), which, through our Area Sales Managers, also is working to get in front of the risk and regulatory curve.

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As lender and dealership, there are plenty of areas where our interests intersect and provide opportunities for us to work together to reduce risk and improve regulatory compliance.

Following is the story, or the highlights, at least, of our InFront series with some additional resources:

The signs and costs of risky business features an infographic, “Steering a New Course / Watch out for signs of fraud on the road to a better business model,” with lots of information in an easily digestible format that will bring you up to speed on the issues and costs of avoidable risks and fraud.

Ramping up fraud fight alongside dealerships is everybody’s business emphasizes the relationship between dealers and SC and highlights our fortified Fraud Risk Department available to assist you with issues such as “synthetic identities,” called the “biggest thing” F&I managers face.

Keeping a lookout for signals of financial fraud, identity theft delves into the Federal Trade Commission’s list of seven of the most common red flags that signal identity theft and financial fraud, which is further detailed in a report on the FTC’s website.

The everyday language of building a better business model reports on the FTC’s “renewed interest” in dealers, providing details on the agency’s purpose and major areas of interest that can affect even dealers with an appetite for doing business the right way.

How auto dealerships can meet regulatory compliance issues head on looks at four steps dealerships can take to “embrace the [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] recommendation for a compliance management system” and to show they are making a good-faith effort.

Reduce temptation, employee fraud with these 10 best practices presented by John Buelow, dealerships principal at Clifton Larson Allen consulting firm, who also identifies the four distinct shortcomings shared by dealerships that fall victim to internal theft or fraud.

Making the grade: 7 steps to better business results with Santander provides insight into the ways SC works with its dealers to help ensure strong relationships that go beyond transactional business and recognizes dealerships are the “first line of defense” against risk and regulatory issues.

There’s a lot at stake for your dealership and for lenders such as SC that work with thousands of dealers nationally, financing auto purchases for millions of borrowers.

That means everyone involved in selling and financing vehicles must redouble efforts to combat fraud and ensure access to funds, a smooth funding process, more deals and fewer problems.

That is, getting and staying InFront of issues we all face.

Selling better to women could help drive your sales results

Do the math.

Women bought more than 13 million new and used vehicles last year – and will purchase about the same number this year – based on data from several sources.

About 45 percent of new cars are bought by women, and nearly half of those women purchase vehicles by themselves, according to a white paper written by change management consultant Frances Payne Harpst and Anne Fleming, CEO of Women-Drivers.com.

 

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That amounts to about eight million cars, trucks and SUVs, using Bureau of Economic Analysis sales data.

The other five million represents a similar percentage of franchise used-car sales of 11.4 million in 2015, based on Edmunds.com’s annual Used Vehicle Market Report.

But that’s not all: The white paper notes that women influence 85 percent of new-car purchases, at least, which would be almost 15 million units in each 2015 and 2016. If a similar percentage of used-car purchases are influenced by women, the figure climbs to nearly 25 million from franchised dealers.

That’s a lot of clout for dealers to handle to be successful with this demographic.

“Women are the fastest growing car-buying segment,” write Harpst and Fleming. “However, dealerships with outdated behaviors and attitudes are failing to attract and retain women customers. Now is the time to turn your dealership into a destination for these buyers.”

“Selling to the female market segment is undervalued … 99 percent of stores are not tracking how many guests leave and don’t return.”

“However, dealers who want to accelerate sales are reading the research, training their sales teams and launching marketing campaigns to reach women buyers. They are not waiting and relying on their OEM’s to tee up the advertising, which alone is not enough.”

Following is a series of Inside Lane posts written by guest blogger Fleming of Women-Drivers.com intended to help dealers meet the challenges of this new market reality:

WEBSITE: Your website the first element in creating chemistry with women shoppers

SOCIAL MEDIA: How social media can create chemistry with women customers

ADVERTISING: Create great chemistry through women-centric advertising

SALES ENGAGEMENT: How to make a great impression on women car shoppers

F&I EXPERIENCE: Preserving the chemistry of the deal in the finance office

SERVICE: Don’t let the chemistry go cold when it’s time to service her car

DEALERSHIP REPUTATION: Will your reputation with women shoppers open window of opportunity?

You also may wish to read the white paper at Women-Drivers.com for further insight.

“Increase sales to women by helping your sales advisors adopt new attitudes and behaviors that women consider engaging, respectful and trustworthy,” suggests the white paper. “Be prepared for the future to gain the competitive edge with the most important buyers walking through their doors – women.”

That will become especially important if and when annual vehicle sales slip, the paper suggests.

“Now is an ideal time to differentiate your dealership as a destination for women buyers … and be prepared for the next inevitable business cycle.”

It all adds up.