1668 – Who Buys Cars with Katie Mares

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the Brand Experience Expert, Katie Mares.

Katie Mares is a force to be reckoned with. Her impact is centered on creating standout moments for customers and employees at her dealership and through her work at Perma Shield USA. Her mission is to help male-dominated spaces expand their reach to capture the world's most influential female consumers.

Katie shared some eye-opening statistics: 65% of new car purchasers are women, and women make 85% of the decision-making in coupled relationships. Despite these figures, there's an apparent disconnect between the gender of the consumers and the gender of those designing and delivering the buying experience. Men still dominate the upper management and sales roles in the industry.

Katie explained an apparent disparity in how men and women are treated when they walk into a dealership. She shared the results of her customer survey, where 87% of women said they would only go to a dealership with their husbands.

Katie shed light on the importance of understanding and catering to the needs of female consumers in the automotive industry. There's a need for a shift in the industry that acknowledges and values women's influence and buying power. As Katie Mares continues her mission, we want to see more inclusive and tailored experiences for all consumers in the automotive industry.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Katie Mares' impact and mission in creating standout moments for customers and employees
  • Disconnect between the gender of consumers and those designing and delivering the buying experience
  • Statistics on women's influence in car purchasing decisions
  • Disparity in how men and women are treated at dealerships
  • Results of Katie's customer survey on women's dealership experiences
  • Importance of tailoring the buying experience to the individual customer
  • Women's larger limbic brain and emotional intelligence
  • Women's ability to communicate with creativity and logic
  • Men's tendency to communicate only with logic and its impact on relationship-building

About Katie Mares:

Katie Mares is a prominent brand experience expert with a deep understanding of organizations' challenges in crafting sustainable and impactful customer experience (CX) programs tailored for female consumers. With a background as Chief Inspiration Officer, she brings extensive expertise in building company infrastructure and designing CX initiatives.

Katie is a vocal advocate for positive change within partner organizations, leveraging her master's degree in Adult Training and Development from Schulich School of Business and her certification as a Certified Training and Development Professional (CTDP). A globally sought-after speaker, she has captivated audiences worldwide, reshaping perspectives on female consumers, customer experience, and leadership.

Katie has collaborated with renowned brands like Honda, Celebrity Cruises, and Canada Post. Residing in Toronto with her three children, Katie finds balance through travel, consulting, speaking engagements, and personal pursuits like yoga, shoe shopping, and cherished movie nights with her kids.

Tweetable Moments:

04:21- “The reason I break it down into gender and the reason it's so important is because the men of the industry are not even recognizing the female when coming in with a man, so like right off the bat we have a gender equality issue when it comes to the female consumer.”

12:48 – “We communicate with creativity and logic which means we can listen to all the details and we can also sift through them logically and then soften it up by creating that relationship and using that sort of creative language at the same time.”

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

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Check out Katie Mares Consulting on LinkedIn at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, it's Katie Mares Katie, you are found on the web at Katie Mares. You're the author of the number one bestseller Custom, Her experience. And again, well, you're the you got you got some things going on here. Co-owner Perma Shield, Chief Inspiration Officer You you're doing quite a lot of good things in the world.

Josh (00:01:21) - Katie, let me let you describe your impact that you have today and what you do.

Katie (00:01:25) - Oh, my gosh. I would say that my overall impact if I were to because I'm a melting pot of everything that I do. So if I were to if I were to distill it all down, is I focus on creating moments for whether it's my customers or employees that stand out above the rest so that we can create an impact in their lives today and in the future. And through that mean I own a dealership, so I do it through my team at the dealership, I do it through my team and then to the customers at the dealership. I'm a co-owner of Perma Shield USA, which is an incredible product. It's a tire sealant. So you can once it's in your tires, you can run over 100 nails and screws and never go flat, which is fantastic for the life of the tire. And I bring awareness and help. Male dominated spaces cast their experience net wide enough to capture the world's most influential consumer.

Katie (00:02:20) - The woman.

Josh (00:02:22) - Um. Yeah. What are the statistics? Let's talk about because I know you've done a lot of work in the automotive industry. Let's talk about who buys vehicles and what women. Oh, this is such a it's just such a screwed up, historically buying experience. And I know this from my years of kind of I've had to do a lot of education with consumers on how to play this game with automotive retailers. Can you kind of paint a picture for us?

Katie (00:02:56) - Yeah, for sure. Well, let's talk about who's buying the vehicles. Actually, women out by men in the automotive space. So 65% of new car owners or new car purchasers are women. So 65% when in a coupled relationship, 85% of the decision is made by a woman. So if you really want to break it down and say who is creating all the revenue in that automotive space, it is hands down the female consumer. Unfortunately, it's an experience that's designed by men for men and it's delivered by men. So there's a huge disconnect because in the upper quartile of the C-suite, in the automotive space, it's still 90% men.

Katie (00:03:43) - So when you look at an experience being designed and being received by a female, if you go all the way down the line, even in a dealership, it's more like 87% are in the upper management and sales folks are men when women are the one purchasing and making the final decision. So there's there's like a Grand Canyon sized gap between who's designing the experience and delivering the experience and who's actually making the decision to purchase.

Josh (00:04:11) - Um. How would you respond to someone who goes, Well, I don't get it. I don't understand what the difference is. Buying a car is buying a car. Why do we break this down into gender behavior?

Katie (00:04:21) - Yeah. So how I would describe it and break it down for everyone to hear. It's as simple as this. When a man and a woman walks into a dealership, the man is greeted, the woman isn't. So the reason I break it down into and I've done my own customer survey like 87% of consumers. So I surveyed 3000 women. 87% of those women would not go into a dealership without their husband because the way they were treated.

Katie (00:04:48) - And of that 87% that went in with their husbands, 98% of them. The man got greeted first. So the problem is, is that the industry is is a bit archaic in how they create or I should say they're not really creating an equal atmosphere. And so the reason I break it into gender and the reason it's so important is because the men of the industry are not even recognizing the female when coming in with a man. So like right off the bat, we have a gender equality issue when it comes to the female consumer.

Josh (00:05:25) - And I wonder just culturally, you know, if there's just, you know, and I'm thinking trying to put my, you know, trying to wear the shoes of a sales professional, maybe they're used to kind of the man taking the lead if they're coming in as a couple. And so automatically assuming that which it's not helpful because again, for a lot of reasons, you know, this is a lot of this, you know, just kind of strikes me as, you know, kind of like why we have work that's being done in our workplaces and in our workplace cultures so that we can at least be aware of our own biases.

Josh (00:06:03) - But, you know, the reality is there's an economic impact to huge. Yeah. Do you want to talk maybe about that? Why is this a big deal for the industry?

Katie (00:06:12) - Well, it's a big deal for the industry because, well, as I just stated, that women are making the purchasing decision, but women control $43 trillion of worldwide spending annually. And so they are the chief purchasing officer of their homes. So, I mean, it goes far beyond just the automotive space. Automotive is very male dominated and there's a huge canyon sized gap between who who just delivers the experience and who receives the experience. But when it comes to, like pharmaceuticals, doctors visits, when it comes to the food that's in the fridge or the meals prepped, women are the ones making those decisions. They make over 80% of all travel decisions for the family. So if you really want to get into the pocketbook of the family, you have to understand her. She is the one. Whether she's handing over the credit card or not is the one making the decisions.

Josh (00:07:06) - Yeah. So share with us. Katie, your your book customer experience. Who is this book for?

Katie (00:07:14) - This Honestly, this book is for everybody, man or woman. Because a lot of the times and I just did an opening keynote at the Women in Automotive Conference and in Dallas, it was it was incredible. And I had a room full of women. And and so sometimes the Mean Girls Club exists and sometimes in male dominated spaces, women have had to claw their way to the top. And once they get there, they're they're not really open to having a an equal atmosphere because they've had to work so hard. So it's for men and women. It's for decision makers as well as managerial and frontline staff and team members to be able to just understand who their customers are and who's actually making the decisions. And when you understand their psyche. And my in customer experience is it's very scientific based. I did a lot of research. I was very careful not being just another woman, am woman, hear me roar, We are amazing.

Katie (00:08:13) - And so you should pay attention to us. It's I break it down to a scientific and physiological level where I talk about the brain and what makes us different. So it's not just, Oh, women rock. It is, oh, hey, we are different. And we both come men and women with incredible attributes, and we should be working together rather than ignoring one half of society.

Josh (00:08:37) - Yeah. For those, let's say that there's someone that's listening and maybe they do a count based kind of B2B sales, for example. Or it could be an agency or it could be consultant coach or something like that. They're maybe they're selling an enterprise, maybe they're selling to other business owners or leaders. What might be some best practices that we could all adapt to be a little bit more sensitive to, to all genders?

Katie (00:09:05) - Yeah, I think the the key and I get this all the time when I work with organizations is, well, don't have time or you know, I just why should I care about the person in front of me? Why should I be genuine like I don't know them from Adam like they're just a customer because one of my biggest pieces of counsel or advice is creating that relationship.

Katie (00:09:26) - We're in a very digital world right now where actually humans crave relationship and crave connection, especially women. So women's limbic brain is double the size of a man's, and a limbic brain is our emotional and memory hub of our brain. And so if connecting genuinely is extremely important. And so for those organizations and those managers and owners that say, well, why, why would I? Well, I mean, why wouldn't you? The reason you have a roof over your head and lights, you know, on in your home or you're able to provide the pay for an employee that has a roof over their head and food on the table is because of your customers. So if you can't see the value in creating that space and time to genuinely connect and create relationships with them, then I mean, shame on you. Really. Yeah. And so it's for me, the biggest piece of advice and counsel I can offer gender neutral but will go a very long way with with women. Is that relationship and taking the time to connect genuinely and evolving that relationship with your consumer, whether it's B2B or B2C?

Josh (00:10:36) - And.

Josh (00:10:37) - And I'm sorry, Katie. I just want to make sure. So. So the biggest thing would be like if we were to stereotype like a very masculine male type of sales versus, you know, one that might be a little bit more subtle now and again, not just to gender, but I would say personalities, too. I don't like I absolutely do not like being sold at or, you know, someone telling me, you know, or setting a strong frame in a sales conversation. Number one, I know what I'm doing on sales, so your Jedi mind tricks aren't going to work on me. But number two, not only that, but if I feel like it's all about you and you're trying to just push this along, I'm like, Listen, we're going to buy on my time. And if you keep doing that, like, I'm I'm out, I'm up. And I have actually I did this very politely, you know, got approached at a car dealership and the guy, it was like just total Glengarry Glen Ross kind of energy.

Josh (00:11:42) - And I'm like, Nope, I'm okay. I actually did need a sales professional. And then I walked around and I looked and I watched energy and I found someone. I in my case, I found a woman because I knew that that I or at least I was stereotyping. And I thought, I wonder, I guessing that that she might be a little bit more, you know, kind of work with me at my energy and let's collaboratively, you know, create a great buying decision here. That's that's what I really wanted.

Katie (00:12:12) - Yeah. And so and that's exactly what I'm talking about is, is finding well, a relationship that's so that sales associate, that sales professional you're talking about should be able to tailor the experience to the person standing in front of them with that. The only way you can do that, though, is through a relationship. So meaning it's not about the sales professional, like you just said, it's about the customer. It's about understanding the customer, knowing their needs, their wants, what life stage they're in, and then being able to connect with them and be able to deliver on an experience that they want.

Katie (00:12:48) - Now, you you're a professional and you, you know, sales in and out. Like you said, you won't be able to pull their Jedi. They won't be able to pull their Jedi mind tricks on you. But you were able to read and it's not funny or stereotypical that you went to a woman. Like as I mentioned, our limbic brain is double the size of a man's meaning. We're more emotionally in tune. We remember details, but also from a communication standpoint, we communicate with our left side and right side of our brain. So we communicate with creativity and logic, which means we can listen to all the details and we can also sift through them logically and then soften it up by creating that relationship and using that sort of creative language at the same time. Whereas a man is very utilitarian, they communicate only with logic. They do not tap into their creative side when they're communicating. And so it's very black and white, which doesn't often help frame or start the framework for a relationship.

Katie (00:13:43) - And it usually is about the car, the details, what they're going to get out of it. It's not about creating that safe space where the customer feels heard.

Josh (00:13:57) - Yeah. And Katie, I suspect that there's good work that we can all do, not just our interpersonal or our conversational sales processes, but also like how we design our sales assets, you know, our copy on our website. What might be some of those sensitivities that we may want to have on, let's say it's a website that has a bunch of sales copy on it.

Katie (00:14:23) - Yeah. So when it comes to websites or any marketing materials, I laugh when I say this, but pink isn't the answer when you're when you're trying to, you know, connect with your female consumer, making something more female friendly is not the answer either. There's countless of organizations that have tried to do that and have failed miserably. Women don't want to be called out. We want to be treated as an equal. And in terms of copy on the website, we do care about the words you use.

Katie (00:14:55) - You know, you know, when I work with organizations when they're hiring, for example, they're trying to bring and attract on more women. And we're looking at their job ads. You know, women don't want to, you know, eat and kill their their their prey, their customers. They're not hungry. They're not forceful sales associates. They want to create relationships and they want to engage with their customers and help them through a journey. And so the wording you use is extremely important in the copy on a website and a job ad, because women will connect more with that softer, more relationship focused verbiage than a man will. But a man, one way or the other won't. Turn his nose up to. Got softer language. It won't detract him, but it will detract your females.

Josh (00:15:44) - Yeah, let's share again. Katie, I just want to make sure that that folks know about your book and. And again, who should be reading this? Who should we be buying a copy and sending it to? And then, of course, I just want to make sure that folks know your website.

Josh (00:16:04) - Katie Mares And all the ways that you can engage, because it's obviously I appreciate you sharing great information here. You've got the book, but you do this work within organizations as well.

Katie (00:16:16) - Yeah, of course I do mean I am very I own a ton of businesses, so I put my own work into practice every single day. But yes, I work with organizations all over the world to customize these experiences for the female consumer. I do a lot of large audience keynote talks as well. To be able to get that out there, get that message out there in the masses. And of course I put tidbits of information out on social media all the time. And so you can find that information there as well.

Josh (00:16:48) - Awesome. Katie Mares Your website. Katie Mares And again, the book which is on Amazon and everywhere else, is custom. Her experience and the subtitle The Importance of Tailoring Your Brand Experience to the Female Consumer. Katie Mares It's been a pleasure having you. Thank you so much for joining us.

Katie (00:17:08) - Thank you for having me.

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