Common Complaints of Female Car Buyers and How to Address Them to Improve Sales – Lisa Copeland, Cars Her Way

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Welcome back to CBT News, today we sit down with Lisa Copeland, Founder of Lisa Copeland Global and CEO of Cars Her Way, to discuss some of the concerns female car buyers have in the dealership. Through her radio shows on iHeartRadio and KTRH in Houston and years of automotive experience, Lisa tells us about the top complaints she has found from female car buyers and why it is so important for dealers to place more focus on women within the automotive industry. To hear more from Lisa check out the full interview above.

female car buyersVIDEO TRANSCRIPT: 

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Hi everyone. I’m Jim Fitzpatrick. Thanks so much for joining us on another edition of CBT News. Today, I am so excited to have with us Ms. Lisa Copeland. I know that you know that person. She is all over retail automotive, and wholesale automotive for that matter. And she’s also the founder of Lisa Copeland Global and CEO of Cars Her Way. If you have not heard about that brand, get online and do what you got to do to find the research to learn more about it because it’s a phenomenal program. And so, Lisa, welcome into CBT News once again.

Lisa Copeland:
Hi Jim. How are you?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Great. I’m doing great. And how are things in your world?

Lisa Copeland:
Hot. It’s extremely hot here.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
You’re the hardest working girl in the auto industry.

Lisa Copeland:
I try. I love what I do. So yeah, we’ve been super busy. There’s something about women and buying cars that resonates with everybody.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. Talk to me about the new show. I know you’ve got a radio show on I love … Not I love, but iHeartRadio. Talk to us about that. That’s pretty cool.

Lisa Copeland:
I do. Thank you. So, I’ve got two shows on iHeart. I’ve got one on KTRH in Houston.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Wow.

Lisa Copeland:
Largest new stations, 7:40 AM. And then, one in Austin on The Zone, 1300 The Zone. And it’s just been fantastic.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That is awesome.

Lisa Copeland:
We’ll be able to bring in influencers and have callers call in. And it’s just amazing to me, you know, not being on the retail showroom floor every day. I miss that interaction with consumers.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure.

Lisa Copeland:
But boy, they light me up on Sundays. I can tell you that.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
So, what are some of the complaints that women have when it comes to buying cars that they’ll call in and tell you about?

Lisa Copeland:
Oh my gosh. I mean, do you want them numerically? Alphabetically? Seriously.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
What are some of the top ones that keep reoccurring, you know?

Lisa Copeland:
Yeah. The number one thing is that … Any salesperson who’s watching this, I don’t care what your boss says, when somebody pulls up to your dealership, do not go run out to their car, open their car, and pretty much drag them out of the car. I mean, I had a woman just go insane on the Houston show about it. We were crying laughing, but it wasn’t funny. But she was just detailing it all.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Lisa Copeland:
There would be that. Number two, nobody wants to spend eight hours at the dealership.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I know.

Lisa Copeland:
If you’ve got an appointment with somebody, call her or him ahead of time, get the credit app done. Try to find out what vehicle they want, have it pulled up, have it ready to be test driven. Get your stuff together, because that’s the number one deal killer, I think, is time.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I agree. Now, both of those two things that you just mentioned are really … They cross both men and women. You know, men have a problem with time-

Lisa Copeland:
Oh, absolutely. They are not gender-specific.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. So talk to me about some of the things that come up from the female perspective about car buying that needs to change.

Lisa Copeland:
Well, it still comes up that when she walks into the showroom … And you know, women don’t necessarily need to do business with another woman, but they want to see that other women work there.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Lisa Copeland:
And so, that’s the number one thing, is when they walk in the showroom that they don’t see any women, or maybe they only see one or two.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Lisa Copeland:
Now, that comes up quite a bit.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Lisa Copeland:
But the rest of the complaints are really not gender-specific. You know, bad service, bad experience, is bad experience.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Lisa Copeland:
And men feel it the same way that they do. And then last but not least, men and women … And I know you and Bridget had this one time. Men and women walking together, the sales person greets the man first.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Absolutely.

Lisa Copeland:
Bad decision. Bad decision.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yup. When we were buying a car for our son to go away to school, and we probably mentioned this to you, it was interesting because it’s actually my stepson. It’s Bridget’s son. He works for us here in the company. And, you know, the whole time I said, “Well, actually it’s for her son, so make sure that you tell her about it.” I said, “I love the kid but it’s her kid going away to college so I can appreciate, she’s going to want to know more about this.”. It was as if I was talking to that wall right there because he just continually made his presentation to me and not Bridget.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
In fact, Bridget would ask him questions about the vehicle and he would answer me. And I would look at Bridget like, “Why? Did he not understand what I’m saying?”.

Lisa Copeland:
It’s unbelievable.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And then when it came time to present the numbers, he presented them all to me on my side of the desk across from him and not Bridget. So, I took all the paperwork, I didn’t even look at it, and I slid it over to Bridget. And I said, “Again, it’s your vehicle. You’re buying it for your son.” And it was almost like he was oblivious to it, and he didn’t even realize what he was doing.

Lisa Copeland:
It happens all day, every day.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. As a result she said-

Lisa Copeland:
And I hear it, and hear it, and hear it.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. As a result, she said, “You know, I love the car, and this is exactly …” She said, “But I can’t do business here. Let’s go Jim. Let’s just get out of here. This guy’s got absolutely no respect for me.” And maybe he’s got a thing about females, I don’t know. But it was pretty bad. And I think, probably to this day, the guy still doesn’t get it.

Lisa Copeland:
No.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
He probably still does that. And if some of you are salespeople, as you just said, Lisa, who are listening to this conversation, man, you need to keep that in check. You need to make sure that your presentation is to both male and female. Answer both questions to the person that asked you the question. Not let the female ask you the question and then you answer it to the male like, “Well, you’re making all the decisions.” Because, again, that’s such a fundamental … That’s an amateur mistake right there, isn’t it?

Lisa Copeland:
Well, there’s a lot of amateurs out there, I can tell you that.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I know.

Lisa Copeland:
Because that is just continually what we get. People who go to carsherway.com, and they review dealers, and so yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. Sure.

Lisa Copeland:
The good news is I believe that my work will never be done. So, I don’t think [inaudible 00:06:07].

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. No, there’s no question about it there. Yeah, you’re in a good business.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Let’s talk about that for a second. One of the shows that we did, it might’ve been the last time you were on, but I think you were on since then. But back in January, it was a yourself, myself, and Brian Benstock from Paragon Honda in New York. And we were having a discussion about females in the auto industry, as we often do.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And we talked about it at the end of the show. Towards the end of the show, I kind of laid down the challenge to Mike Jackson at AutoNation and the Board of Directors. And I said, “Look, if GM can do it, I think AutoNation can do it.”.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And that is to hire a female CEO and a president. And … Or, there’s not a company out there that’s done more for women’s causes. You know, like the Drive Pink campaign that they’ve got and such. So, since that time, I think in March maybe, they hired a guy that had come from USAA Insurance, had no car experience. After about 90 days, it looks like that didn’t work out. And then, lo and behold, they brought in Cheryl Miller, the CFO of AutoNation, and said, “Oh, low and behold, the answer was right underneath our nose the whole time.” So congratulations to AutoNation on that, once again.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
But what’s your take on that? Now that you’ve got a publicly traded company that is headed by a female? I think that’s a great first step, isn’t it?

Lisa Copeland:
I think it’s a fantastic first step, but the dealerships are going to have to follow suit because where the disparity is … Yes, it’s in the C-suite, of course, but the real disparity is sitting on the showroom floors. When only 10% of the showroom floors are female, national average, and 90% of those women will leave within 12 months, we’re still not making progress.

Lisa Copeland:
So, I do hope and I’m rooting for Cheryl. I’m thrilled about her appointment, and I think it’s well-deserved. I’ve really studied her. But I hope that she makes it her battle cry to go down into the retail side of the house.

Lisa Copeland:
Because, you know, great. Pink license plates. “Think Pink.” Yay. I mean, whatever. But at the end of the day, if they’re not hiring more women in the retail automotive industry, putting more women on the bench, requiring it of their general managers, going in there and saying, “We are a company that is going to reach parity. We are committed to it. So therefore, you need to have X percent of females in sales and X percent of females in retail management.”.

Lisa Copeland:
And I’m not just talking F&I, and I’m certainly not talking in the accounting office or CFO. Those are female jobs.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Lisa Copeland:
I’m talking sales manager, general manager.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure. If Lisa Copeland was given that position that Cheryl was given, what would that percentage be?

Lisa Copeland:
You know, I would love to say 50/50. I don’t think that that’s realistic because there just are not enough people in there, or women that want to. So, my number personally would be 30%.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Okay.

Lisa Copeland:
But if I was her, I would be going dealership to dealership, market to market, speaking to and helping them recruit female talent. Because I would think, if it was me and I was her, there would be a mass Exodus from other groups to come to work for her if she proves herself-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s a good point.

Lisa Copeland:
… to be an advocate for females in the automotive industry.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right. It’s a very good point. Yeah, she could really flip-

Lisa Copeland:
She needs to call me because I have ideas for her. Right?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
You heard it here, Cheryl. The invitation is open from Lisa Copeland.

Lisa Copeland:
Come on, Cheryl.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
She can help you with this cause.

Lisa Copeland:
I can.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And it’s a big cause, and not to put the entire weight of the retail automotive industry on Cheryl’s back, but let’s face it, she is now the first female CEO of a publicly traded retail group.

Lisa Copeland:
Oh, she took the job.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Lisa Copeland:
She needs to take the weight on her back.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right, yeah.

Lisa Copeland:
And she took the job. And I don’t think that that … From what I can tell about her, I don’t think that this is her platform, necessarily, but she knows. I mean, she’s been around a long time so I’ve got to believe she knows that this is a moment in time, a moment in history. And it’s almost like getting that first female president, if that ever happens for us, for our country. Right? All eyes are on, and she’s got the opportunity to do some of the greatest things ever for women in automotive. Or, she doesn’t, and she just keeps it status quo. So like I said, I’m rooting for her, but I’m watching.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And I’ve seen both sides. I’ve seen females that will get into the C-suite of a large auto group. There’s a couple that come to mind, without naming any names or what have you, putting them on the money. But then they don’t turn around and hire other GMs of their stores or other GSMs of their stores or fixed-ops directors that are female, and such.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And I know that it’s tough. Maybe there’s not a lot out there, but by the same token, I think for guys that are in the industry, it’s much easier to get promoted up through the ranks at a dealership if you’re male than if you’re female. I know I was on a fast track. Many guys that started in the 80s and 90s got … You know, if they stayed in the car business any longer than three and a half, four years, they were asked to, “Okay, step into F&I. From there, go to use cars. Okay. Become a buyer, become well-rounded.”. We need to do that with the females that are in the industry, you know?

Lisa Copeland:
Yeah. And the other part to her is I think that AutoNation could go out and be really intentional about setting up a whole recruiting division for women.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s a good point.

Lisa Copeland:
And having her do videos and having her be a spokesperson for that. I mean, like I said, she’s sitting in a position that someone like me would kill to have from the standpoint of being able to be an influencer. And really make her mark for women in the automotive industry.

Lisa Copeland:
So like I said, we’re all watching, we’re all rooting for her. So I’m anxious to see what she does.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Thanks for all your time today. We really appreciate it.

Lisa Copeland:
Always.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
All right.

Lisa Copeland:
All right.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Lisa Copeland, founder of Lisa Copeland Global and CEO of Cars Her Way. To learn more, just go on, Google Lisa Copeland Cars Her Way. It’s all right there.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
So thanks again, Lisa.

Lisa Copeland:
Thanks, Jim.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
All right.

CBT Automotive Network, the number one most-watched network in retail automotive. This has been a JBF business media production.

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