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Certified WBENC Women's Business Enterprise

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CAR SHOPPING WITH A SALESWOMAN

by Renita Van Dusen

The other day after a client meeting and before I had to pick up my 2YO from daycare, I had an hour to spare. My lease is up on my current car in 2 months, and I was anxious to try out a few new cars since I had no idea what car I want to drive next. Perfect. One hour to myself to car shop! Oh, how I LOVE shopping, but car shopping was an exception – this was a dreaded necessity. Breathe. I walked into the dealership and asked for the guy that my husband and I met with 3 years ago – his friend from childhood. But the receptionist had no idea who he was and it turns out he no longer worked there. My heart sank. I HATE dealing with new sales people. Then I had a brilliant idea. “I’d like to speak with a new salesperson then – is there a sales WOMAN I could talk to?” The receptionist flashed me a huge smile and winked at me. “Of course,” she said. “I’ll be right back.”

She was back in a minute with someone looked 20 years younger than me. Again, my heart sank. Oh, boy. Would Tiffany really be able to help and relate to me?

She started asking me questions and the conversation was off and running. Pretty soon I was telling her my life story and the fact that I was nervous buying a smaller car, for what if we decided to have child #3? And that fuel economy was almost #1 importance, but I did need a 4WD to get through the Minnesota winters, and Bluetooth was a necessity but the color of the car was important too. So many options, so many choices!

An hour later I had test driven two cars and had narrowed my choices down to one. The conversation flowed so freely, I didn’t even realize I was car shopping! I walked away from the dealership, confident that my husband and I could have an intelligent conversation about my next car we were going to purchase. Had I made my final decision? No. But I felt much more confident about those 60 days closing in on my lease end that I could find a perfect answer to my new car dilemna.

Why was this so fascinating to me? From my research on how women and men communicate, we know that women connect through affinity. We like to share stories and find a common bond to connect and share more. We have a longer sales process. It’s not just about feature and benefit. It’s about a long cycle of, “What about this? What about that? How does A effect B, and so on?” And after all of that, the color of the car might just be the tipping point. Sound shallow? Not at all. We are looking for the PERFECT ANSWER. Not just a car. And the experience I had with the woman salesperson was just that. She was all about asking questions and listening to details.

It reminded me a lot of the process I go through with clients when we have a project or a problem to solve. We ask questions. And more questions. There is never a cookie-cutter answer to the creative process. We are seeking to discover what women want (after all, women do make 85% of consumer decisions). (And men, we’re not discriminating – on the contrary – when we find out what women want, men come along, too.) We discover, then we create. And we find that affinity that women have with products or services for which we are designing. The end product is a design that resonates on many levels, no matter the gender.

So there you have it. Car shopping with a woman, by a woman. I’m actually really excited to go back to the dealership and meet with my saleswoman to complete the buying process. Excited to wheel and deal and talk numbers about a car??? With Tiffany, I do not feel intimidated. Amen.