September '19

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14 THE SHOP SEPTEMBER 2019 top of the dispatch office was a favorite pastime, but usually ended with loudly being told to get down and never go back up there, but of course we always did." My business partner (brother) and I grew up with Mollie and it's surreal to walk into the Nissan dealership we visited as kids and see her hard at work as a young entrepreneur. Aside from learning the front end of the dealership, evolving with social media and new technology, she also enjoyed another big moment in a different career—recently releasing her first novel. As a young woman juggling different roles, I asked Mollie about her book and how she's able to incorporate her passion for writing into her busy schedule. "My role at the dealership allows my English and writing passions from college to flex in terms of customer communi- cation and social media correspondence, allowing me over the years to give our cli- ents clear messages and retain their trust," she explains. "Many people who I've cul- tivated great relationships with were so excited when I published my first novel in December of 2018 (Little Broken). Their support was such amazing proof of our mutual loyalty." WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY I asked Mollie if she's seen an increase in the number of women in our industry, as we both grew up at a time and in a market that's been changing drastically since 2008. "I've certainly seen more women coming into this industry since I started in 2010 as the only female on the floor," she says. I mentioned that I've seen more women joining the front end when I'm visiting our new car dealerships, but there's still room for more. She says that she's excited to see more young women on the sales floor in the last few years. I agree with Mollie when she states that "dealerships have notoriously been male- dominated while the business office is primarily women, but there's definitely a transition happening, and young women nowadays are eager to prove themselves. From what I've seen, between technology advancements and their ability to make customers comfortable in (a buying situa- tion) that has a reputation for producing anxiety, I think young women are exactly what the automotive industry needs." Though we're seeing some growth in the number of women, I believe our industry may still have some challenges. I asked Mollie if she could list any that she sees on the dealer front. "Women always have to prove themselves; that's not exclusive to the car industry, but I've found when you know what you're talking about, the assumptions disappear and people listen," she says. "There's almost nothing better than greeting a customer on the lot who immediately requests a male salesman, only to have that salesman defer to you on the first technical question they're given. Knowing your product is number one, no matter who you are." I agree that's an important element for removing gender bias from the equation when working with customers—knowing your product is key. DEALERSHIPS & ACCESSORIES I felt it was crucial to get a dealership's per- spective on accessories in 2019. Restyling is a large part of dealer profits, so I asked Mollie to describe the benefits of offering accessories and how we can convince other dealers that may not see the profit potential. "Accessories should be on display around the showroom, whether attached to a vehicle or as part of a display. They need to be in the spotlight," she reveals. "Cus- tomers feel pressured and inherently uneasy when the expected push for additions to the sale starts right after they agree on the car. By incorporating accessories into their experience from the beginning, you allow customers the chance to familiarize them- selves with the benefits instead of feeling like they're being told why they need it." Dealerships&Accessories The McGrath dealerships in Chicagoland understand the benefits of working closely with restylers to help create interest and move inventory.

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