|Helping Women In and Out of Your
by Gerry Myers
A relatively new organization is helping women network and grow within the automotive industry. Founded in Detroit in 1995 by Lorraine Schultz, the Women's Automotive Association International (WAAI) now has chapters in the United States in Akron, Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Los Angeles and the New York Tri-State area. The organization has an international board headed by Barbara Shipp of the New York Tri-State chapter, a U.S. national division led by Maureen Martin of the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter and a Canadian division led by Candace Fochuk-Barey of the Toronto chapter. Currently, the international division is exploring expansion opportunities in other countries. In anticipation of the continual growth of the organization, the U.S. and Canadian divisions also are studying additional locations for chapters.
Your dealership can profit by being affiliated with WAAI, as well as help it develop by:
Along with WAAI, another tool to help recruit, retain, attract and sell to women is a Women's Advisory Board (WAB). A WAB will help a dealership focus on its internal culture, as well as its customer culture. Made up of women outside the industry, the Board is in a great position to:
I would like to leave you with my recent car service and buying experience.
I bought a new vehicle about 10 days ago. When I took my old one to the dealership for service, I told the service advisor I was planning on purchasing a new car very soon and was just looking for the minimum amount of work that needed to be done. The repairs were far more extensive and costly than I expected. Not wanting to invest that much in my current car, I opted to purchase a new one. I was disappointed, however, because I felt like he didn't really listen to what I had said and that the repairs were far more than what I had to have. Although I mentioned several times that I was getting a new vehicle, he never suggested I look there, or put me in touch with a salesperson. A typical dealership experience: the sales and service organizations work totally independent of each other. They shouldn't.
I bought a new car, and thus far have been very happy with my experience. While everything wasn't perfect, they seemed to be trying to please me and work with me. I appreciate that.
My final words of wisdom: when selling to a woman, treat her as you would like your wife, daughter or mother treated if she were buying the vehicle. The rest will take care of itself.
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