Despite progress being made toward greater gender equality in the workforce, it’s no secret that there aren’t very many women working in dealerships. But that hasn’t stopped women from choosing to pursue careers within dealerships – nor should it.
From service writers to Chief Financial Officers, women are thriving in different roles within dealerships and they’re doing it with a level of skill, expertise, and passion that is truly inspiring. In this blog post, we’re excited to showcase some of these incredible women!
We reached out to women working in different dealership industries to share their experiences and advice for other women who aspire to succeed in their roles. We hope their invaluable insights will serve as inspiration and guidance for all.
Click to Jump Ahead:
- Confidence in yourself instills confidence in your customers
- Listen and then act
- Be persistent and prepared
- The best way to learn is to do
- If you think you can do it – go for it
1. Confidence in yourself instills confidence in your customers
In a world where gender stereotypes often dictate which jobs are suitable for men or women, it takes a lot of courage and confidence to pursue a career in a predominately male area, like a dealership.
According to Dawn Enzeroth, Service Writer at A.C McCartney, an ag equipment dealership with 5 locations across Illinois, women must have confidence in themselves to instill confidence in customers.
And it begins by listening. “Women are good listeners, and in the ag equipment industry, that is vital in so many ways,” she notes.
“I have learned a lot by listening. Listening has taught me to ask the right questions when a customer calls in with an issue, it’s enabled me to answer questions without having to pass a customer onto one of our male staff members.”
But for Dawn, customer service isn’t only about finding solutions; it’s also about building relationships.
“When I ask them how their day is going, I genuinely care about how their day is going or how their family member is doing. I listen to what they say and the next time, I make a point to mention something about our conversation from their previous visit.”
By actively and attentively listening to customers, you can build strong relationships with them and even gain valuable insights, ideas, and perspectives that you might not have otherwise considered.
And while not every customer may be as open with her or they “won’t break that barrier because they have always talked to a specific person there, don’t let that get you down,” says Dawn.
“Just keep trying, never give up showing those customers you are just as capable of helping them as anyone else there! You are probably going to have to work a little harder, research a little more and not be afraid to ask questions! Never let them see you sweat!
As Dawn puts it, “we can do anything we put our minds to.”
2. Listen and then act
As a highly accomplished Chief Financial Officer at Low Country Machinery, a construction and farm equipment dealership with two locations in Georgia, Gayle Humphries has seen firsthand how women can thrive in the male-dominated world of dealerships.
Gayle shares Dawn’s sentiments, too, recognizing that one of the key strengths that women bring to the table is their exceptional listening skills. “Generally, women are better listeners,” she notes.
This ability to listen and absorb information is an invaluable asset in an industry where customer satisfaction is key. But listening is just one part of the equation. Gayle also emphasizes that women possess a unique set of skills that make them stand out in dealerships.
“We understand cash flow, return on investment, and we make sound business decisions based on the facts.”
In a highly competitive industry, these qualities can set women apart and contribute to their success. According to Humphries, this also makes women excellent problem solvers and helps them effectively navigate the challenges and trends of the industry.
Gayle advises other women that it’s crucial to “learn about the needs of the business, then do the necessary research to move the business forward.”
3. Be persistent and prepared
Joining a male-dominated industry can be a daunting task, but for Lauren Simkovic, Chief Financial Officer at Thermo King in Pittsburgh, persistence and confidence have been the key to her success.
With 33 years of experience as a decision-maker under her belt, her advice is “to be persistent and confident in your approach and actions.”
Not just that, but for Lauren, preparation is also key.
“There will always be those who doubt your ideas or abilities in these industries. To combat that, I like to have the answers to the questions before they get asked.”
This helps her stay ahead of the game and be ready for any curveballs that may come her way. While there may always be doubters and skeptics, Lauren encourages women to remain steadfast in their goals and to trust their instincts.
4. The best way to learn is to do
Dinie Sanders, Administrative Manager at Central State Thermo King located in Kansas City, Kansas has an impressive tenure of 24 years with the dealership. She has done every job in the building except for one: turning a wrench on a unit.
But as she puts it, “even in a male-dominated field like ours, I’d do it if they needed me to!” Evidently, Dinie is not one to shy away from challenges.
According to her, women should not be afraid to learn everything that their dealership does, including right down to the dealership management software they use.
“To this day, if there’s a question I don’t know how to answer, I reach out to DIS Support and you guys are always willing to show me how.”
Her enthusiasm for learning is contagious and she encourages women to be proactive in their learning, too, noting that “the best way to learn is to do.”
Perhaps the most important piece of advice that Dinie has for other women is to put themselves out there and ask questions. With the right attitude and a willingness to learn, anything is possible.
5. If you think you can do it, go for it.
Jeanette Cornett, President of Temperature Control Solutions Inc, a Thermo King authorized Sales, Service, and Parts dealership with four locations across North Carolina, is no stranger to overcoming obstacles and defying expectations.
“My single biggest piece of advice is if you think you can do it, go for it.”
Jeanette believes that success comes not from avoiding failure, but from learning from it. She encourages women to give it their all and never let fear of failure hold them back. Whether you succeed or fail, you will learn from the experience, and that knowledge will help you grow and succeed in the future.
“What you learn is this: I will work harder, I will try harder, and I will win.”
Despite facing skepticism and criticism from male colleagues in the past, she has never let that bring her down. Rather than letting comments discourage her, she used them as motivation to work harder.
Cornett encourages women in dealerships to believe in themselves and not let their doubts hold them back. By being assertive and standing up for yourself, you will earn the respect of your colleagues and succeed in your career.
The key is to give it your all and never let anyone else’s negativity – including your own – get in the way.
Paving the Path Forward
From Dawn’s emphasis on communication skills to Gayle’s focus on business acumen, it’s clear that women bring a unique set of skills and perspectives to the table. By continuing to push boundaries and challenge stereotypes, women in dealerships across various industries will undoubtedly continue to make significant contributions and inspire future generations to follow in their footsteps.
A huge thank you to the women who shared their experiences and advice with us!