Question: How can detail business owners better serve their customers? Look at most detail operations, and all you see are men. But, if you are savvy today and know a little about retailing, your response is going to be: Hire more women to detail, and find a way to keep them.
Hiring women has never been more important today. Moreover, it will become increasingly important in the future. Why? Because Generation Y is a tremendous buying market of both men and women. They are different from the Traditionalists, Boomers, and Generation X that went before them. Generation Y is the fastest growing segment of today’s workforce. In a survey of 1,000 Generation Y females:
• 96 percent list being independent as their single most important life goal
• 87 percent define success as being able to shape their own future
• Only 68 percent say becoming a mom is on their priority list.
Knowing this is important for a detail business owner because acting on it can increase profits, elevate community respect, and communicate an important message. Women in the shop or on the truck demonstrate commitment.
A recent survey indicates 74 percent of Generation Y women feel misunderstood by automotive businesses, yet they account for the purchase of nearly 60 percent of automotive services; over 51 percent are drivers; they purchase 65 percent of all new cars and 53 percent of used cars; and they influence 95 percent of all automobile purchases, according to Road & Travel Magazine.
Generation Y women represent a significant number of the 80 percent of all women who influence spending. They are vocal about their likes and dislikes, have grown up with computers and cell phones, and have huge and valuable numbers of social-media contacts.
According to Mashable:
• 56 percent of U.S. women use social networking sites daily
• 58 percent of Facebook users are women
• 64 percent of Twitter users are women
• 82 percent of Pinterest users are women
Why do these statistics matter? Because if understood, they can influence how you market your detail services. Social-media marketing is no longer a choice. It has become a must. Establishing the brand preferences and loyalties of all those Generation Y women should start early. And social-media marketing is a way to do this.
Detail business owners who realize this will see an increase in female customer buying power, especially if they are using social media to communicate with these women and their family, friends, and neighbors in an ongoing dialogue.
Generation Y women will click on your website if they like the tone of the dialogue. If your website is designed to draw these independent women with easy-to-find and understand information, they will be more apt to call for more information, giving you a chance to sell to them.
If you answer the phone and provide superior customer service, and are thoroughly trained and knowledgeable, this creates a trusting rapport with these women callers and they may come in for an estimate or make an appointment. A wise business owner will have a woman answer the phone and have customers see women detailers in the shop.
Statistics show women like to buy from other women. They trust them more. They speak the same language. When women customers see women in the shop, they are more likely to buy. If a woman owns the detail business, the chances are even greater to close the sale.
Times have changed. Legions of Generation Y women possess the skills, personality, and drive to work in a detail business. They want careers, not just temporary work.
Women can make a huge difference in your business. Find them. Train them. Encourage them. It is time to change the good-old-boy detail culture.
Sharie Sipowicz is aftermarket sales manager with Detail Plus Car Appearance Systems Inc. She has been involved in the detail industry for over 20 years, both as a vendor of products and equipment and as a hands-on operator in a retail detail environment. You can contact Sharie at firstname.lastname@example.org.