By Kevin Ransom
For auto dealer Marianne Bond, showing some compassion turned out to be a good business move, and led her to focus on an oft-neglected segment of the used-car market — women buyers.
Bond opened Bond’s Auto Sales in High Ridge, Mo., south of St. Louis about four months ago. She currently sells about 24 vehicles per month, and is shooting for 40 a month by the end of the year.
But not too many years ago, she was a saleswoman and single mother on a budget. So she could relate to some of the single mothers who came in looking for affordable transportation.
“I worked at some high-volume dealerships, and I’d see single mothers who’d only be making $850 a month, and most of that was going to rent and child care,” said Bond in a thick Scottish accent.
“I knew those women weren’t going to be able to make ends meet. In the hype of the sale, their payment might end up being $450 a month. I made a lot of money off of them, but in three months I’d see the car being repo’d. That bothered me. I was very sorry I’d done that. I didn’t want that on my conscience.”
So Bond came up with a way to help these women. She would tell them to delay their purchase until she found something they could afford.
“I’d find some older couple who wanted to trade in their car, and I’d tell them to keep their car, sell them a new one at a discount, and put them in touch with some of these single moms,” she said.
“My managers didn’t like that, but it paid off in the long run. Those women remembered that, and I got a lot of referrals from them. I got tremendous word-of-mouth from that. I have some people I’ve sold three or four cars to over the years.”
That experience led Bond to focus on the women’s market.
“You need to take the time to listen closely to women buyers, and find out what their needs are,” said Bond, who emigrated from Scotland to the U.S. in 1974 when she was 20.
She first worked as a nanny, then as a hairdresser, before taking her first auto-sales job at a Chevrolet dealer in Milwaukee.
Bond said women naturally gravitated to her when she was selling Chevys.
“Women prefer to be sold-to by a woman,” she said. “I also found out that women control the sale. If they come in with their spouse, he may do all the talking, but it’s the woman who will make the decisions.”
Bond said she currently offers inventory that costs her $800 to $1,500, and sells for $2,995 or $3,495.
“About 35 percent of my business is buy-here, pay-here,” she said. “I buy trade-ins from about a half-dozen new-car stores in my area, and from wholesalers.”
Bond said catering to the women’s market is really pretty easy. “Usually, just listening to them will help you understand how to sell them a car,” Bond said. “It defi-
nitely helps you make the sale if you spend some time finding out how you can help them.”
Bond says she tries to make women feel comfortable in a place where men usually dominate — the used-car lot.
“A lot of men don’t take women seriously on the lot,” Bond said. “I can remember going to lots and the salespeople wouldn’t even come out, because I was a female. Women buyers want a reliable vehicle without getting completely burned on it. And they want to be taken seriously in the negotiation process.”
She also tries to make sure the car is exceptionally clean and well-maintained before she sells it.
“I have to watch it,” she said. “I want to spend about $200 a car for reconditioning, but lately it’s been getting up to $300 or $400. That’s okay if its in the vehicle, but I know that’s getting too high.”
For a year prior to opening Bond’s Auto Sales, Bond was wholesaling cars in nearby Florissant.
I have seen women rock the auto world. In all honesty, and I mean NO offense, just the fact your a WOMAN will get you in the door faster than anything else.
Historically, cars has been mainly a MAN’S business AND because of this fact, its easier than you would ever think for a woman to make a ton of money in this business. Who would a buyer rather buy from, a man or woman, when all he ever sees are other men?
Here are a few example just off the top of my head:
- One lady friend of mine, Lori, is a wholesaler in Florida. Let me tell you, she makes a ton of money and she loves it. She gets in the auction lanes and buys those cars hands over fists. Then she gets on the phone and sells them to local dealers OVER THE PHONE on the drive (or flight) back home! She makes a couple hundred bucks a car and she moves about 10 cars a week. Not too bad working a few days a week. She would tell you that initially the men will try and take advantage of you but once they know you will not put up with their BS, you are in. (but this is true for men as well!)
- I know another lady, Christine, in Houston who wholesales high line (BMWs, Mercedes, Porsches,…) cars and makes about $200,000+ a year! No kidding. She taught her husband the business and now he is slowing catching up to her!
- Another lady, Rebecca, from Utah recently purchased my study course and plans to utilize the “Ebay Model” with the help of her sister. She had recently bought a car off eBay and the wholesaler told her that he made $1500 off her Volvo wagon. She is a psychologist by trade so she knew how to get him to talk! (laugh) She KNOWS she can do this car business. Its NOT hard. I know she will do it!
- A stay at home mom, Patricia, in Maryland is learning to be an auto broker so she can stay at home with her child and still earn a darn good income.
“Most auto brokers make about $30,000 this first year, and $60,000 their second, and by your third year you hit the gravy train and make in the six figures ALL from referrals, innovative marketing, and simply because people would perfer to buy from women!”
- A retired lady in Alabama, Melba, just got her dealers license and wants to buy and sell at her own leisure. She wants to be able to turn the business ON and OFF, like a faucet, whenever she wants. She loves the fact she can go to the auction, spend a few hours, buy a couple cars, and sit at home while she sells both of them in the next 30 days to pocket about $3000 in profit for the month. Not a bad retirement plan!
- Another lady, Millie, I know in Dallas uses her dealers license to live the lifestyle she loves. Her lifestyle is like this: She buys about 10 cars at the area auctions over the course of a few weeks, maybe less. She then places ads in the newspaper and waits to sell them all. Once she sells them (averaging about $1300 per car), she and her husband takes a month off and travels! Then she returns home and does it again. She loves it.Ladies, this business is for you! Especially if you would like to stay at home with kids and make a great living. Don’t let fear hold you back. Get educated and start doing it. You have SO many things in your favor – trust me. You don’t need to know a thing about cars right now – you CAN and WILL learn that.Let me teach you!Success!!George