Training your staff

Training your staff to be more trustworthy and respectful to female buyers will optimize your sales in the coming year. BY ANNE FLEMING

Trust and respect are not just the building blocks of a personal relationship alone, but of a sales relationship, as well. No one wants to buy a product or service from someone who isn’t informed or someone who doesn’t show the utmost respect for the customer. And hard data shows that in the auto industry the same holds true, especially with women buyers, as they vet through a competitive landscape for not just a reliable, but also a comfortable car dealership with which to do business. Training your staff is where to start.

Women-Drivers.com, a ratings and review company that focuses on women’s experiences at dealerships, asked, “What is the most important reason you bought from your salesperson?” Of 3,451 responses from women, the top two reasons were being respectful and trustworthy.

Importance of Respect and Trust with Women

Sure, you’ve heard it before. We have reached a tipping in the consumer segment and today’s buyer is almost 50 percent female. An August 2014 report in the Wall Street Journal further states that 53 percent of millennial buyers are women; so shifting marketing paradigms to meet these demographics is a mandate for dealerships. On average women visit two dealerships when buying a car, so the opportunity to “get it right” is a 50-50 chance.

Women place so much weight on the interaction and the relationship – or treatment – with her sales associate. It is very simple: if it goes well in the first few minutes – fantastic! That salesperson has made a positive impression and has increased the chances of her buying at that dealership exponentially. If the sales process and chemistry, so to speak, doesn’t fair well, she not only will walk out, but research shows that six out of 10 women will not return to that dealership.

Tips to improve Trust and Respect

Trust and respect are two words that are, in this case, really important only to the buyer, and we will liken them to the phenomenon of “momentum.” Like in the game of football, momentum can change quickly and you can’t even really tell why. It’s an invisible thing. That is how trust and respect are.

Let’s take a look at some effective ways to win the hearts of the women customers:

  • Women love attention, especially when they are about to spend an average of $32,000 – the price of a typical car today. Therefore, they expect to be treated thoughtfully. Greet them properly when they enter your store, with a pleasant smile, making them feel that you are truly grateful upon their arrival. With that, you might want to put your smartphone away.
  • Never overlook or ignore them. If you are busy and dealing with more than one customer at a time, be upfront about it so they are aware of your time, not having to guess where you are. Let them know how long you will be. Make them feel comfortable and get them a drink.
  • Listen to them. They are here to buy what they want, not what the salesperson wants to sell, so it’s important to carefully and attentively listen to their needs – the features that they want in their car or the price that they are willing to pay. If they walk in unsure, it’s your job to ask, ask and ask more questions to help her get an understanding. And, certainly that will help you. That way your time isn’t wasted. Be and stay engaged.

Moreover, it’s also important to make them realize – through body language – that they are being listened to. Always make and maintain proper eye contact when talking to them and respond to them affirmatively, through your body language by nodding, for instance. There is nothing wrong with folding your arms, just be aware the frequency of it. Lean forward when speaking to a prospective customer or repeat buyer to show and express interest. Again, be conscious when with a customer of how many times you are checking scores, emails or texts – even if an email is a business one.

Seven in 10 women bring someone with them to the dealership when they buy a car. So when she does bring someone – her husband, partner, friend, children – be sure to include them to varying degrees in the conversation and negotiation. Frankly, you will take the lead from the buyer as to how much or less to include the other – but at first, you must include them.

  • Sound confident. Before trying to win a woman’s trust, it is important to be self-confident. Study and role-play to know most about the details of the car and explain the benefits.
  • Begin with the best deal. The first offer presented to the women helps them make up their minds about the rapport and the usefulness of the dealership when buying their cars. Therefore, present them with the most suitable deal that fits most of their requirements.
  • Be flexible. Women appreciate it greatly when a sales associate listens to their options when finalizing the price of the car. Everyone wants a little wiggle room. Listen to create the best option for your client with opportunities for add-ons or takeaways that will add value and make her happy.
  • Fulfill the commitment promised. When it comes to building respect and trust, always stick to the promise you made in the verbal agreement. Never try to manipulate women in the initial stages of the sale by making false promises or exaggerated statements about the car or the deal, and then later refusing to adhere to them. You may have made a short-term sale, but not a loyal returning client.

These are a few tips to help you optimize having a truly engaging sales relationship to convert more shoppers to buyers when women visit your store.

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