Non-verbal communication can be just as valuable, if not more valuable, than verbal communication when it comes to interacting with a potential client. This is nowhere more apparent than in the sales-to-customer relationship that a dealership nurtures with a female buyer. Women make 85% of automotive buying decisions, tend to be more loyal customers once they buy the first time, and often spend more time rating places they shop, as well as sharing these experiences with their friends. Why wouldn’t you cater to this discerning and influential demographic?
We’ve discussed ways of making your female customers feel less pressured and more welcome at your dealership. Now it’s time for part II: interacting with her in a positive manner to help her decide what and when to buy. I love this article shared by collisionblast.com: the author, Jody DeVere, does a great job of offering some solid advice on how to treat women customers, as well as offering clues as to what will make them feel more comfortable with your dealership. You can read the original article here – leave your comments at the bottom of this post and tell me what you think. How you would like to see the dealership industry improve its nonverbal interaction with female customers?
Let’s look at some keys to non-verbal ways to communicate with women more effectively:
- Smile and look women in the eyes when you greet them, keep your gaze above the shoulders.
- Pay attention to her non verbal “cues.” She came to do business with you and wants to feel “in charge,” so try not to rush to open doors and be the genteel escort; ask her if she would like you to get the door for her. Being the “gentleman” is appropriate behavior on a date; however these gestures may undermine her confidence and dilute her feeling in control during the sales process.
- Provide a wide variety of women’s magazines in your waiting rooms that reflect the demographic of the lifestyles of the women in your local market.
- Have separate, clean and pleasant restroom facilities that include a changing table for young mothers with small children. Keep it well stocked with supplies. Go the extra mile and stock a few “extra necessities” to show you appreciate their “waiting time.”
- Women want to be respected as savvy consumers. Support and educate her during the sales process rather than take the role of the “know-it-all” automotive expert using acronyms and terminology they do not understand. Using pictures or showing her in a more visual way goes a long way in making her understand and feel more comfortable making a buying decision.
- When women come into your business with their husbands, greet, speak and make eye contact with both husband and wife EQUALLY, rather than directing all your questions and comments to the husband. In many cases she will actually be the one to make the final buying decision!
- Go at her pace during negotiations. Rushing her to close the deal “today” might backfire: women generally take longer to make a buying decision, however once satisfied with their purchase and experience with your business, women statistically are more loyal then their male counterparts, and more apt to go online and write a positive or negative review.
- Make sure your website, Facebook, Twitter, coupon programs, marketing and advertising and other visual representations of your business resonate with women.
“Advertising for cars and trucks is still heavily male oriented, dominated by images of wild speed, trucks pounding up mountains and lots of mine-is-better-than-yours”, said Marti Barletta, a specialist in marketing to women who has consulted with major auto companies. “There is very little indication of any attempt to understand what types of communications women respond to,” Barletta said. “I just find myself astonished that the largest consumer industry in the world doesn’t know who its primary buyers are.”
- What are you planning with your marketing and advertising budgets to attract, sell, retain and increase loyalty with women consumers?
- What, if any, specific training is your business providing for you, your sales, service, and finance departments to increase their skills with women buyers?
- Do you have a program to recruit, hire and train women for sales, service and other leadership positions?
- Have you mined your customer database to identify and segment your women customers and create retention or loyalty programs?
- What kinds of women’s initiatives are you working on for 2011?
- Are you advertising and marketing to reach and resonate with women?
Women influence 85% of automotive purchase decisions, represent 73% of service and repair customers, and are a huge revenue opportunity for your business to focus on to gain market share. What non-verbal messages are you sending women?