People forget that the art of selling starts by understanding the art of listening. Even better is active listening, the practice of preparing to listen, observing what verbal and non-verbal messages are being sent, and then providing appropriate feedback for the sake of showing attentiveness to the message being presented. This form of listening conveys a mutual understanding between speaker and listener. with the speaker.
When you actively listen, you are showing customers you are authentically engaged with them and respect what they have to say. Alternately then, a disengaged listener tends to give off a vibe of disrespect—something to be avoided, especially with women.
Sellers like to sell and tell, which means they talk a lot. One of my early mentors in my very early sales career strongly advised me after a few joint sales calls together, he said “Stop selling and start listening.” This was great advice and a way better approach.
The key for me to start active listening was to have a repertoire of open-ended questions. Yes, you actually want to keep women talking and to never interrupt her even if she spends 20 minutes telling you the entire history of every vehicle she’s ever bought in her lifetime before she gets to the point where she wants to look at cars, this is the most important skill and I’ll tell you why. Because when you listen to women—and by the way for all the guys listening out there—if you use this tip in your personal life, your relationships with women will also improve overall—we feel respected, valued, and cared about. This is a very important relationship building block that I cannot overemphasize when selling to women.
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Slow down, don’t rush her or patronize her by pretending you are interested and listening. Your body language will tell her all she needs to know. She will smile and nod and then leave and never come back because she will be thinking he didn’t listen to a word I was saying. He does not care about me or what kind of car I want to buy.
What are some good active listening body language skills?
- Maintain eye contact.
- Ask questions to invite more detail and dialogue.
- Show empathy by mirroring the facial expressions and body language of the customer.
- Do NOT look at your watch.
- Do NOT text or look at your phone!
- Do NOT look at or talk to anyone else while she is talking!
Here are some good open ending questions: Tell me about where you are driving now with your car. Do you commute to and from work? Do you drive children to and from school? Ask questions that are going to be more lifestyle-oriented to kind of find out what she does with her car. Is she a working woman? How many miles does she drive a year? What does she use the car for?
What are her hobbies? Things like that will get her talking and open up and help the salesman really guide her to the right vehicle because sometimes even women, as you’re aware, come in with a specific idea in mind, but it turns out really that there is a better car in the lot that will fit lifestyle needs. And I want to underline that word lifestyle. For many of us—men too—cars are kind of like an accessory of life. It represents who I am and my life and so you want to understand who she is and her life so that you can help her make the best decision for her lifestyle and her budget.
To sum it all up, when you practice active listening with women car buyers they will find you much more engaging because you are present with them and really hearing what they are saying. Often it’s not about ‘what’ they are saying, but them feeling heard. This quickly creates a deeper level of trust, respect, and connection. Bottom line: more cars sold to women.