This is a transcript to MM Podcast Episode 019: Effectively Marketing And Selling Cars To Women With Jody DeVere.
Ashley: Welcome to episode 19 of the Motorcar Marketing podcast. In this episode’s main segment, I’m going to be talking with Jody DeVere. Jody is an expert at selling and marketing to women. I know a lot of the dealerships I work with could improve in this area so if you want to sell more to women, you’re not going to want to miss today’s episode.
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A couple of quick notes. Any websites or links that I mention in the podcast can be found on the website in the show notes. I also publish a transcript with every episode in case you’d rather read the show or look at something later on. You can find all the episode show notes at www.motorcarmarketing.com/podcasts and look for episode 19.
We recently put together a great free guide for car dealers called the Quick Start Auto Dealer Marketing Guide. You can get it by going to motorcarmarketing.com/guide. It’s completely free. You just put in your email address and the lessons will be emailed to you over the course of the next few days. We’ve tried to concentrate on the high-leverage things you can do with each marketing channel so you can get the maximum results in the shortest amount of time. We’ll be adding more lessons to this guide in the future, but to start out, we’ll show you how to increase your ROI and sell more cars on craigslist, how to quickly set up a Google Pay Per Click campaign, how to begin generating leads from local search engine optimization, and how to effectively use email marketing to generate leads and correspond with your past customers. Again, this guide is completely free. Just go to motorcarmarketing.com/guide.
So now let’s get into the main segment. Today I’m talking with Jody DeVere from askpatty.com. She gives out some great advice on how to sell and market to women. Here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome, Jody, to the Motorcar Marketing podcast. I really appreciate you coming on the show.
Jody: Well, thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure and I look forward to it.
Ashley: Perfect. So to start out, I wonder if you can give us a quick overview of your career and kind of how you got into helping car dealers sell cars to women?
Jody: That’s a great question, Ashley. I started in the automotive industry around the year 2000 and it was as a result of selling another business that I had. I actually have a technology background, and I sort of came to the automotive industry through the back door of consulting as many of us do. And when I launched my consulting company in 2000, I just began collecting automotive clients and really fell in love with the industry. As a technology expert, I felt a great need at that time for dealerships and automakers to learn more about all the technology that was available in terms of CRN’s and lead management and that’s when that industry was really beginning to get legs in automotive.
Ashley: Let’s talk a bit about marketing to women specifically. I found you through an article you wrote about marketing to women on their mobile devices. I wonder if you could just give us talk a bit about how to market cars to women in general and then maybe we’ll kind of dig into some of the specific channels that—you know—it might be good to market to women on.
Jody: You know, I’ve had Ask Patty now which focuses around the women and marketing to them, not only cars, but also service, collision, and all the things that women do including blinging their cars up with after-market accessories and there have been a lot of changes in the last ten years in terms of the industry really recognizing women as being the primary influencer in these decisions. And so what I can say in general about marketing and selling to women is that it’s a very complex market and that you definitely need to study more about all the different demographics of women and for dealerships specifically that reside in your local market because one-size-fits-all doesn’t really work with women.
Ashley: So what does that actually mean, you’re talking about you know, maybe like young women out of college vs. women who are mothers vs. women whose kids have gone away, trying to break it down into those different sections and then go after each one of those sections with a different campaign?
Jody: For the dealership understanding what is the demographic mix of women in their market in terms of age, lifestyle, purchasing power, and also more to the point, women are diverse also—women of color and Latino or Hispanic women play a large part in many markets especially Metropolitan areas, the Asian woman, and I think that much of automotive advertising in general has tried to really address certain—they’re still advertising to the soccer mom like that’s old news and referring to her that way and so what I bring to the table for my clients is this really very refined approach to the women and their market, and, of course, my website which is automotive advice for women really addresses that and the different article content and the beautiful display of expert women that are all age groups and very multinational also in their demographics. And I think the strong message that I would send is that it’s complicated and you need to have expertise in that area to really win with women.
Ashley: And I wonder if you could just give us one or two examples like using your example, if you wanted to market to Latino women in a Metropolitan area, what would be kind of just your approach?
Jody: Well, I think one of the things I would strongly recommend off the top is I’m on the board of the Marketing to Women Conference which is held every year in Chicago in the Spring. Usually it’s in late April or early May. That website is m2w.biz and here the finest minds in marketing to women—and by the way, very few automotive major brands are represented which is a shame or they send their women in the organization. It’s kind of like a women’s event. This is an event where every major brand is represented, that really speaks to women in the fashion industry, in the food—all these products and electronics that women are purchasing and do case studies, and they always do case studies around this Hispanic and Latino woman because she’s a rising power especially the younger women. And one point I can tell you is that this group of women—let’s say they’re from 23 to 37—this powerful Latino woman who’s educated in your market no longer uses a home phone at all. In fact, she does more shopping online via her mobile devices than any other demographic in the country. So knowing that, it would be important for the dealership if they have a strong population of Latino or Hispanic women to market through their mobile devices.
Ashley: And if you break that down, so we’re marketing to these women on a mobile device, are there some specific channels that you recommend? I mean, I know Facebook ads are really good about allowing you to choose what demographics do you go after and Google Pay Per Click, you can choose some of that stuff too. Are there any ways that you know of that can kind of get your ads to those specific demographics?
Jody: Yes, I think there are Latino radio stations, cable TV. I think that in your print or pictures are worth a thousand words. I’ll tell you a quick story. I was working with a large client of mine that has about a hundred locations in Southern California which has again a very high Latino population in that demographic, and they were showing me their advertising program that they were launching. And it showed a picture of a Latino family, a man, a woman, and two children. And the positioning of them was that she was standing with his arm around hers, smaller, shorter, and the two children in front, and when I looked at that picture it really bothered me because basically what they were saying is he’s going to take care of her when that’s not how that woman thinks at all. She’s taking the lead and so I recommended that they place her equal in the photograph and put the children on the other side, one on each side and make her the same actually standing slightly ahead of the man, and it changed the whole picture of who she is to the advertiser. They had great success with that ad campaign by the way.
Ashley: That’s a great tip, and I’m curious. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on TV ads. One of the things I notice with the TV ads is they feel very generic. They don’t feel like they’re specifically geared towards any demographic frankly. I wonder if you have some tips on that similar to what you just gave us with the photo. There are probably some things that people could be doing with their TV ads.
Jody: Well, depending on their budget, I know this is sort of a budgetary thing, and sometimes they don’t have a budget to do multiple ads for different markets or segments. But I’ll talk about placement. So if they understand the placement of where this—it’s usually cable TV—what stations and what times of day they’re selecting, I think what they need to do—and by the way, the person selling them those spots can provide all that demographic data to them. They’re experts at collecting that data. Who is watching TV during those hours and this programming is to match the advertising to the placement, and this is really overlooked. And sometimes it’s budgetary and sometimes it’s just lack of skill on the personnel that is making those decisions. The machine gun approach in advertising, those days are gone, and certainly with all even online or digital advertising there are all types of things going on with targeted advertising based on—Facebook does it. You get those ads. They produce those ads based on your preferences, your friends, and what you’re talking about on your Facebook page. And so they need to take their cues from this type of more refined approach to really position their television advertising to the right audience. I daresay–and this is not an accusation—this is more of an observation is that when you get a bunch of guys together that are creating marketing in advertising, you’re going to get ads and placement that are more comfortable for them or what they’re knowledgeable about. And this is why having expertise in the women’s market is so valuable in those marketing departments as they’re making those decisions. This goes for digital advertising as well, and the type of things that they are—I want to say things because sometimes on their Facebook page, you’ll go to a dealer Facebook page and all you see is pictures of cars and prices. Facebook is a social network. They’re not going to want to see that, and if they have subscribed to your Facebook page and want to see it, they’re just going to turn you off. I don’t want to see that. That’s not social, and so I think in television and on TV, you really can make an impact if you spend time with the cable TV station understanding where women or Hispanic women are watching TV and what hours of the day, the age group, and then create appropriate television commercials that are going to appeal to her.
Ashley: Let me just touch on that what you just mentioned with the Facebook page. You said just listing a bunch of cars and prices is not that appealing. What would you say is appealing to women? What should dealers be posting on their Facebook page?
Jody: I think it should be a mix of—first of all, I think education is very important to women, and also I would add that they’re more than selling cars. They are also part of the community. Many dealerships are highly involved in reaching out in the community and I think these are things that they should talk about on their Facebook page, what they’re doing. I think they should also provide tips and education about car buying and also—let’s not forget the service department—about taking care of their vehicles. This is one area I can tell you that women need more education. They seems to be—and we take questions 24/7 from women, thousands of them, and I can tell you based on our statistics that 81 percent of the questions for an automotive device from our experts are repair and maintenance-related. And this seems to be an area where women need the most help and so they can put some education in there about how to maintain or take care of their car or what is their warranty all about? What kind of oil change interval? No one reads the manual. Come on, did you read your manual from cover to cover? Things like that, and also I think ask questions is just promotive, being promotive. Do surveys. Ask them what they think. I do like to see the reviews posted on Facebook. I think women definitely take their cues from reviews from other car buyers as to what type of experience and also what type of experience they’ve had in the service lane. And so I think a healthy mix of promotion—it’s okay to have cars in there, but you need to mix it up with other types of things that are going to influence. Really what I’m suggesting overall is that you need to tell the story about who your dealership really is and you’re not just all about the make and model, plus pictures of the people that work there. I love it when I see anniversaries. I just saw a beautiful Facebook post. It was the 50th wedding anniversary of the owners and they had a beautiful picture of them. Boy, I’ll tell you, there were a lot of comments on that. These are things that are relationship-oriented. That’s what Facebook is for really, and unfortunately I think dealers just see it many times as a way to promote their cars for sale.
Ashley: No, those are some great tips. So let’s move into the actual selling process and how to sell to women. Again, maybe we can start off with sort of some more broad tips, just the differences between selling to women vs. men and how salesmen can go about selling more to women.
Jody: Since we don’t have three-and-a-half hours which is the course that I teach, I’m going to give you the most important tip that I can give any car salesman and that is you need to learn to listen. Sellers like to sell which means they talk a lot, and actually having a repertoire of open-ended questions to keep her talking and to never interrupt her even if she spends 20 minutes telling you the entire history of every vehicle she’s ever bought in her lifetime before she gets to the point where she wants to look at cars, this is the most important skills and I’ll tell you why. Because when you listen to women—and by the way for all the guys listening out there—if you use this tip in your personal life, your relationships with women will also improve overall—is that when you listen to us, we feel respected, valued, and cared about. And so this is the type of relationship building block that you cannot overstep. You cannot rush her. You cannot cut her back. Try not to be too overleading and leading her to down your twelve steps to the sale or ten steps to the sale. I’ve actually listened to all of that training, and I can tell you that you can really get off track and she will smile and nod and then leave and never come back because she will be thinking he didn’t listen to a word I was saying. He does not care about me or what kind of car I want to buy.
Ashley: I wonder if we can back up and talk about you said learn to have a repertoire of open-ended questions. Can you give us two or three of these real good open-ended questions that a salesman can ask a woman?
Jody: Tell me about what you do with your car? Are you a camper? Do you have children? Ask questions that are going to be more lifestyle-oriented to kind of find out what she does with her car. Is she is working woman? How many miles does she drive a year? What does she use the car for? What are her hobbies, things like that will get her talking and open up and help the salesman really guide her to the right vehicle because sometimes even women—you know, we come in with a specific idea in mind, but it turns out really that there is a better car in the lot that will fit my lifestyle need. And I want to underline that word lifestyle needs. What is going to make me feel good? For a lot of us—men too—cars are kind of like an accessory of life. It represents who I am and my life and so you want to understand who she is and her life so that you can help her make the best decision for her lifestyle and her budget.
Ashley: Let’s talk about askpatty.com for a minute. Can you give us kind of the two-minute elevator pitch on what you do there?
Jody: Really it’s twofold. (1) We’re the premiere automotive advice site for women and I believe we reach about 30 million brand impressions a quarter through our syndicated content and so we’re a very respected brand with women in terms of coming to us to find out more about car buying, maintenance, repair, and all of the topics related to their automotive purchase needs. We also have our primary product aimed at the automotive retailer to help them communicate more effectively with women, to market an advertiser is our certified female-friendly program and to learn more about it, you can go to askpatty.com/get certified.
Ashley: And what’s the gist of that? Is that someone an end-user can come to ask patty and find a certified female-friendly service or dealer in their area and then the dealer has to somehow go to some sort of vetting process to become certified.
Jody: That’s correct. Actually is training and ongoing training. We provide a very robust three-and-a-half-hour certified female-friendly course. It is 18 modules focusing around effective communication skills, selling to women and couples, and also problem-solving when things go wrong as they often do, how to resolve that and make it a win/win. It talks about some overview issues that revolve around the purchasing power of women and where women are headed and this is updated quite frequently. What I was talking about nine years ago, of course, women are ever-changing, and also some tips on marketing to women and social media and how important that is in your strategy with her. Once that’s completed, we also provide ongoing training every month. It’s really hard to cover the entire women’s market in three-and-a-half hours so we produce webinars and we also provide account management and helping each of our clients reach their local market through effective marketing and advertising and social media.
Ashley: I’ll definitely link to that in the show notes. What’s the best way for people to keep up with you and potentially contact you if they want to learn more about what you’re doing?
Jody: Well, we have a very popular Twitter account askpatty@askpatty. They can link to me on linkedin which is a little bit more professional in some of the things that I’m talking about. You can find me on linkedin, pinetrest, Facebook, and many other social media, Tumbler, etc. We’re very active there, and I would really highly recommend that you link to our blog which is our car advice blog. You can find a link to that on askpatty.com. Those are some of the ways you can keep in touch. I love Twitter. That’s one of my favorite social networks. I learn so much on Twitter by observing the behavior of women and also listening to their chatter and what’s popular.
Ashley: I’ll definitely link to that in the show notes so if anybody wants to find out later, they can go there and I’ll put direct links to it.
Jody, you’ve been very, very generous with your time. This has been some great information. I really appreciate your coming on and sharing it with us.
Jody: Oh Ashley, it’s been my pleasure. It’s my favorite topic. I’m extremely passionate about helping dealerships win with women, and I hope that they take advantage of our program and become part of our network.
Ashley: Yes, for sure. Thank you very much.
Jody: You’re welcome. Bye-bye now.
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On the next episode of the motorcar marketing podcast, I’m going to be talking with Mike Williams from Black Book. Black Book collects data on the automotive industry and uses that data to power a variety of applications. He’s got some really interesting things to say on the used automotive market and offers some great tips for how dealers can potentially make more profit from their used car sales so keep an eye out for that next week.
So anyway, that’s our show. I hope you got some value out of it that can help you grow your business and thanks for listening.