Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ol' Boys Club: Women in the Showroom

        In today’s time, no longer does the cheap suit wearing, coffee stain bearing, bear of a salesman need to exist. We live in the time of the internet and progressivism, which has opened up channels of information to avant garde buyers about the cars they are seeking. A salesman no longer needs to vehemently hammer in the details of a cars price and specs; many customers already know this information. So where does that leave a salesperson? Salespeople now need to connect with customers and direct them down the path of purchase to this safe haven. Some customers need a strong seller to help them seal their decisions, others want salespeople who are perceptive to their wants and take care of their needs. This is where woman salespeople come in. When speaking to Cammy Mezrahi, Fiat of Westbury, she stated that she has seen many salesmen chase customers out the showroom because of their barbarous selling techniques. She sees women in a showroom as providing simple comforts, a warm smile at the door or a fresh cup of coffee just when you thought you couldn’t stand and look at cars anymore. As well, they aide customers in the buying process with patience and fortitude. Once in a while there comes along customers whose views on woman in the showroom are, well, stuck in the mud. Debbie, a saleswoman from Fiat at Westbury, told me she once dealt with a customer who flat out told her he does not conduct business with women. It is this kind of negligent attitude that has plagued women in the showroom from now to posterity.
            When asked whether the percent of men and women will ever be equal in the auto business a Debbie responded “No way.” The Car dealership has long been known as a battle zone, where male virility comes to compete. In a commission based business the dealership will turn into a jungle, where survival of the fittest will reign supreme. Those with the most apt skills and persistent tactics will lasso in the most customers. This style of salesmanship has been bolstered in showrooms for years. But what if times have changed? What if customers are no longer looking for direction and information or “being sold” on a car? Customers today have more information than ever before, with the ability to summon large forms of information without even leaving the warm comfort of their beds and spouses. When a customer comes into a showroom they usually know the rough price of a car, and some other vital information. This takes an important tactic out of the hands of salesmen, deception.
This has led to different skills being utilized by men and women. Customers want to feel secure buying from a salesperson, and sometimes the overanxious, hyperactive car salesman who keep telling you, this is the one you want, just won’t cut it. This is where female expertise comes in. Some male customers come into dealerships and want to feel like they are home and a woman’s touch definitely caters to male and female buyer. When asking a seasoned employee of Westbury Jeep Chrysler Dodge, Hinda Russo, she stated that a woman’s apparent weakness can be turned into strength. A good saleswoman is an unassuming “force to be reckoned with.” There is nothing more powerful in sales, her sincere caring, friendly smile, patience and pride in achievement will see her through the most difficult customers.

Some of the strengths of a woman in a dealership are intangible. When dealing with a customer Cammy Mezrahi stated that she is more in tune with the needs of the customer and offers a stress free buying experience. Men may be more likely to press a customer, or direct them to a certain vehicle they know they can up-sell. When asked what some of the weakness’ are of woman in a dealership Cammy Mezrahi stated that woman may be “soft sellers”; a term which has slowed women down in showroom like a needed oil change or bad tune up. Though a soft seller is not typical of all woman salesmen, it may be more likely linked.

The social stigmas in a dealership will be stagnant if we do not act to change them. We must not let the opinions of a few interfere with the sentiments of the many and we must look to change ourselves before we can expect any change in the showroom.

-Benjamin Clarke Sporn


  1. I couldn't agree more. Great read.

  2. "We must not let the opinions of a few interfere with the sentiments of the many and we must look to change ourselves before we can expect any change in the showroom."