Industry Champions: Dealership Women - Bobbie Herron
Industry Champions: Dealership Women
During the month of November, CDK Global sought to highlight the experiences of women in the automotive industry. Women have always faced a unique challenge in what has often been deemed a “male-dominated” industry. From differences in buying habits to differences in the work environment, women have shared what it’s like to be an active part of advancing the industry towards being more inclusive, adaptive and overall more successful. In the dealership, many women are forging ahead in what has long been a male- dominated workforce. They face specific challenges, but also take advantage of their specific gifts to fill the gaps that many men couldn’t. We sought out a few women who are truly driving the industry forward to hear about their unique experiences. Bobbie Herron is the Digital Sales and Marketing Director at Garber Automotive and has been honored as a “40 under 40” dealer by Automotive News. Her experience in the industry was shaped by her first job in a dealership where she had to work in every department at one point or another. She learned the art of the sale by calling lists of potential customers day in and day out. As she fell in love with the industry, she wanted to begin to improve how her dealerships went about their business. She led the way for her teams, pulling her dealerships into the digital realm and training everyone along the way. She rose in the ranks to General Manager, but after awhile, needed to take a break to spend time with her family. She then found a role at a dealership call center and worked her way up from the bottom. As she trudged up the ranks again, she began to revolutionize how she and her coworkers began to sell, training on digital, personalization and the customer experience. Bobbie is a leader in her dealership, but she’s also a strong force in the industry, actively mentoring others, networking and sharing her thoughts about the industry on Twitter.
"If you are a woman who raises her hand, you'll shine because your different."
What’s it like being a woman in this industry?
"Hire smart people, coach them & get out of their way."
As a woman in the business, some things are harder, but some things are easier. I’ve had to work harder than the men around me and I’ve had to prove things I shouldn’t have had to, but I can also leverage my strengths in a way men can’t. Men and women communicate and bond differently. I can communicate in a softer and more genuine way with customers that might not come off as well for a man. If you are a woman who raises her hand, you’ll shine because you’re different. You’ll be able to mentor and affect other women, because they need to see people who look like themselves in the places they want to be in order to succeed. How can women succeed? Learn to raise your hand. A lot of times, we miss out on opportunities because we’re not there. Men make deals at golf courses or bars after work; often places women aren’t invited. But if women take the initiative and jump into a space they might not be comfortable in, they’re opening themselves up to so many more opportunities. Be willing to raise your hand when someone is asking about promotions or other opportunities that will advance your career. Mentor and train other women. I’m a huge proponent for hiring smart people, coaching them and then getting out of their way. When I agree to mentor someone, I make them agree to turn around and mentor someone else. Those kinds of changes can change an industry completely. My biggest success is my ability to build a solid team with men and women who inspire and motivate me every day. Many people warn not to train people who can replace you. Instead, I believe in teaching someone to replace you so you can move on to bigger and better things. If you could tell people one thing, what would you tell them? Well, I guess I would tell them two things. First, check your ego. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. Second, be a student of the business. The industry changes daily. If we’re proactive, we can be successful. About the Author Kelsey Kruzel is CDK Global’s Social Media Specialist. From writing posts to creating graphics, she maintains that nothing should be allowed to exist without a strategy. As the resident millennial in the marketing department, she enjoys having her coworkers explain references that are lost on her and telling people that yes, social media is a job.