How did you come into your career? Are you one of those ‘River People’ Earl Nightingale talked about? The kind who knew when they were 10 what they wanted to do? Did your parents recommend it? Did you just, kinda, ‘fall’ into it?
Kayla Greenwood sells cars and trucks at Bill Howich Chrysler. She owes her career genesis to her stepfather.
“I was going to nursing school,” she recalls. “And not enjoying it so I wanted to try something new. My stepfather was into Camaros and fast cars. He was always pushing me, in a good way, to like cars. And I did like the style and look of them and to go fast! So one day I just walked in to Toyota and basically demanded a job. (Laughs) And from Toyota’s lot looking across to Bill Howich Chrysler had a lot more potential because it had more of a selection. So, I guess, thank you stepfather! He had a beautiful ‘68 Camaro. I remember I got to take it to prom.”
Kayla loves her career. “It’s always different,” she says. “Really, it’s great. You get to dress nice, talk to nice people and drive nice cars.” (Kayla is a Jeep woman.) “It’s fun, too,” she continues. “ We get to do a lot of learning, including going to Vancouver and driving the cars on a race track. Easily, this is one of my favourite parts of the business!”
It hasn’t always been easy. Only about 19% of NA dealership employees are women, and most of these are support staff. Additionally, the annual turnover rate for the women who sell cars is a staggering 88%. according to CDK Global, who advise dealerships on sales strategies.
“It’s definitely a man’s business in car sales.” says Kayla. “So I think having a woman on the floor serving clients is an asset to a dealership. You know, if a woman knows her product and has good communication skills, why wouldn’t a man want to buy a car or truck from a woman who is smart and works hard? And there are a lot of women buying cars and sometimes they prefer to deal with a woman. Really, there’s not enough women in the business, I think. Maybe it’s just not a passion for the industry. Or, it can be intimidating. I was sure intimidated at first. It took about a year, actually, to get over just working with all men.”
Kayla says she gets a lot of women complimenting her and being happy for her doing well in the man’s world.
The odd part of this equation is that marketing studies show women play a leading role in 85% of auto purchases. Given that, it seems odd the industry isn’t more progressive in recruiting and hiring women. Kudos, then, to the dealerships that do.
As for recent trends in vehicles, Kayla sees it as, “Everyone is trying to beat each other with product in a ‘more is better’ way,” with who can have the best/most computerized, touch screens and what have you. Yet Kayla is still a fan of simplicity, saying that, “I think it sells better. There are so many computers and automation in vehicles now. What happened to just the manual roll-down windows and no GPS? A lot of people don’t want or need these things and when they break down they cost oodles of money. Sometimes, less is better; less is more. And I think a lot of older people still think that way. You buy a vehicle that has a lower trim line but has all these fancy buttons. Where is the simplicity? I believe all these options are making us lazy drivers and that’s not good.”
Some people just want good fuel economy and a vehicle that goes from point A to B. And for people who want that, you can get it from Kayla. Or one with all the bells and whistles. Your choice.