February 3, 2011
Women, does buying a car intimidate you? Feel like you're in over your head? It may be time to get versed with AskPatty.com
"Consumer women are still challenged by the whole car-buying process," says Jody DeVere, founder of AskPatty.com. "This is partly because of a lack of their own education and a lack of training at dealerships. This is the only site where you can see the various roles women can have in the auto industry."
DeVere launched the site in 2005 as a resource for women to feel empowered about all things mechanical. From where to get a deal on a car, to questions about getting a tune-up, AskPatty.com is armed with experts to educate and inform female car buyers. And with 30 million impressions a quarter, people are starting to notice.
"Women are buying more than 60 percent of cars today, and 85 percent of the decision of what model and make is brought into a household is made by women," says DeVere. "This means dealers need to find ways to connect with us, and it's not by making things pink and treating us like we're less intelligent."
And if you really want to impress the female car buyer, you might want to consider making your dealership "Ask Patty" certified.
"When a dealer is certified by us, they go through a training process that helps them connect with the female perspective," DeVere explains. AskPatty.com also offers monthly training via the internet to help dealers stay on up-to-date.
Baron Meade, president of the Meade auto group, was one of the first dealerships in the country to become AskPatty.com-certified.
"It creates a dialogue well before the sale takes place so that our female customers feel comfortable doing business with us," says Meade. "Having an association with AskPatty seems increase our level of professionalism in the eyes of the women who come through our doors, and that's important."
And women's concerns are also taken into account when it comes to new car designs. DeVere says safety and environmental issues take center stage in most new car models.
"The automakers ask me questions about what women are looking for," says DeVere. "Rear cameras and electric cars are big, but so is GPS. Some cars will actually parallel park themselves. I also like that some cars have a warning system that slows the car down when you approach a red light."
Meade agrees that going green is incredibly important to his customers.
"We have several hybrid sedans now," he says. "One that gets 43 miles to the gallon. Lexus has the most number of hybrids over the other luxury brands, and this is because of consumer demand."
DeVere has already seen an increase in female staff at auto dealerships, and she hopes the increased awareness can keep things moving in the right direction.
"We've certified well over 7,000 auto employees in six years," she says. "Many of the automakers are inviting women bloggers to their events. Five years ago, we would have never seen this.
"If you fix it with women you fix it with everybody."
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