When a woman walks alone into most dealerships, it’s an exception to the rule. Yes, women make up 9-12 percent of riders, but that means men make up about 90 percent, so some dealerships aren’t prepared to handle the all-important female rider base.
How does your dealership approach female customers? Are they treated differently or the same as male riders? At a meeting I attended with a group of women in the powersports industry at Dealer Expo, the concept of treating women riders as any other rider was brought up, and I absolutely see that point. Should a woman who walks into your dealership who rides the same bike as a male, wears the same helmet as a male, but simply wears smaller gear, be treated any differently? I don’t think she should.
I know a fairly decent amount about the mechanics of a car. Growing up, I was always in the garage with my dad, fixing whatever had to be repaired. Just this week, I’ve spent several hours in the garage, helping him work on a problem vehicle of mine. When I walk into an auto parts store, I want to be treated with respect. No, not every female walking into an auto parts store knows what she’s doing or talking about or buying, but I can guarantee that a lot of men don’t either. I like auto stores that don’t assume that just because I’m a young female, that I don’t know anything about cars. Does the clerk behind the counter know why I’m buying a new starter? Maybe it’s because I just took one out of my own car and need to replace it.
When a customer walks into your door, he or she should be treated with respect. A new rider should be catered to the way any new rider should, and all seasoned veterans should be treated similarly – male or female. Yes, catering to women does require some effort by dealers; you do have to stock different gear, boots and accessories, and you should. Even though women only take up about 10 percent of the buying population, would you turn away 10 percent of your traffic? I doubt it. Cater to women, and treat them with respect, and they will come, and even better, they’ll tell their other rider friends to come – both male and female.
Liz Hochstedler is the associate editor of Powersports Business, a trade magazine for the powersports industry. She reports on the powersports industry through Powersports Business’ varied media, including in the magazine and online. She assembles the brand’s twice-a-week e-news and handles a variety of assignments for the magazine. Powersports Business is known for its exclusive national dealer surveys, in-depth industry analysis and dealership conference, Profit Xcelerator.