Should you adapt your selling style when interacting with a female customer? Absolutely. Should your store environment shout “Female-Friendly” as well? Of course it should. This should not be new information to you.
If you don’t adapt your selling style and make a concerted effort to make your store appeal to women, you might be missing out on the increased tire and service sales, some impressive referral business, and the significant amount of word-of-mouth advertising that can result when a female has had an impressive customer experience.
If you are doing these things, the question to ask yourself is, “How well do I and my team do it?”
Why Pay Attention to How You Sell to Women
The entire auto and automotive aftermarket industry has been addressing the importance of this topic since 2007. Recent research and surveys reveal why, today, it’s increasingly important to pay attention to this powerful buying group. Below are just a few of the stats and results of research on this topic.
• Women are the most influencing demographic of tire buyers in NA
• 80% of cars brought in for service are women.
• Women influence 85 percent of all car purchases
• Women spend $300 billion on vehicles and automotive aftermarket …purchases annually.
Whether you sell to consumers or to OEM’s, fleets, or other commercial customers, knowing how to sell to women and how to create an environment that appeals to them is crucial to create and sustain the success of your business. Don’t neglect this powerful buying group!
Differences Between Men and Women You Should Know
Women communicate differently.
There are many communication differences you can expect when selling to a woman. One thing you already know is that they talk a lot more. Let them. While it has not been scientifically proven, it has been claimed that women speak about 20,000 words a day – some 13,000 more than the average man.
If you know how to sell to women, they’ll can become your greatest advocate group and refer more customers to YOU and not your competition.
When listening, men want facts and figures. Women want the complete story. Give it to them. Tell them everything about how and where the tires are manufactured, how to determine the best quality, what customers buy most often, and what is best for their particular car. Most important, tell what will give them the most value.
Be prepared to answer many questions.
Women research and ask questions – many questions. They need a great deal information and details before they will make a purchase. Some sellers can become impatient and oftentimes view these questions irritating. Some even become condescending toward women without ever realizing it. “Talking down” or sounding patronizing in any way would be deal-breakers.
A woman knew she needed new tires. After a business meeting at a conference center, she and her colleagues walked back to the parking lot together. While helping her load her car with boxes from the meeting a male and a female member of her team pointed out the worn treads and how dangerous it is to drive that way – especially with the rainy weather. (Never assume all females know little about tires and cars!)
When she got home, she went straight to her computer to search the Internet for Tire Dealers in her area. She selected the three in her vicinity that had the most impressive web sites. One in particular stood out in her mind because it had a photo of a counter sales person pointing out tires to a woman. Then, she searched on “YELP” to see if there were any negative reviews. Sure enough! One dealer had several negative comments regarding customer service. She immediately removed them from her list and planned on visiting the other two dealers first thing in the morning.
The Customer is the Judge, the Jury, and Sometimes, the Executioner
At the first tire store she visited, the salesperson seemed to get irritated with all of the questions. The answers he provided were short and uninformative. He seemed impatient. What the woman wanted is to be sure she would get the best tires at the best price. You would think that in this day and age, managers would train their staff on customer service and recognize that the customer is the person who determines to what extent a business will succeed. They are the judge, the jury, and when they receive bad service, they can be the executioner of a business simply by telling everyone not to patronize their store.
At the second store, the salesperson greeted her, and confirmed and agreed with her concerns. He answered all of her questions in a thorough, interested manner. “Many people are concerned about that. Here’s what is most important about the tires you buy…” He proceeded to tell her.
He took his time with her. Can you guess where she ended up purchasing the tires? She not only bought the tires. She also had a new timing belt installed. Nice profit. Happy dealer.
Connect with a female customer.
Before you can sell anything to anyone, you must first “connect.” This is especially important when your customer is female! A friendly smile and a “How can I help you today?” is a good start when a woman walks into your store. Or, “Hi, I’m John. What brings you in today?”
Men are more transactional.
Men don’t like to shop. They like to buy! Men want to close a deal and be done with it. Women are relational. They want to feel that connection to you as you converse. And, for many women, relationships and a feeling of connectivity influence them to BUY.
Selling should be perceived as “helping.”
Your “sales-mindset” should be that you are not there to sell, but to help. Be sincere and make sure the sincerity comes through. Smart women are highly intuitive and will easily see right through you if you are simply trying to make a sale and not sincerely interested in “helping” them.
Females are More Intuitive
Women are more intuitive than men. This is more fact than foolery. They can read facial expressions, and other subtleties, as well as get a sense of your sincerity by your body language and tone of voice.
Women think differently.
Women’s brains are wired differently. Simply put, they are far more sensitive and emotional than the majority of men. (Most men have learned this truth even before they reached adulthood!) It makes sense that when selling to a female customer that you will be in a better position to make a sale if you trigger an emotion.
For example, you might say, “Ms. Jones, your treads are worn badly on all four tires. Driving with bad tires is not safe, especially in bad weather.” Or, “When we checked the car, we notice the brake pads are worn. You are not in any danger and you can drive okay for a couple of months, but you said you were really busy, so would you like us to replace them now?”
Women shop differently .
Men like to buy. They will go into a store, and get what they need. Women like to shop. Research has revealed that women are far more likely to shop for tires on the Internet first, before they come into your place of business. When in a store, they like to have choices. Provide them with choices on merchandise and service packages.
Women notice everything!
Like it or not, women are always judging you. Most notice every little thing about you, your employees, and your place of business. Make sure every employee has a neat, professional appearance and are well groomed. The merchandise displays and service areas should be neat, orderly, and free of dust. And by all means, your restrooms should be immaculate.
Pay attention to whether you are a “Female-Friendly Business.” Savvy tire retailers have taken steps to ensure their business environment shouts loud and clear that women are important. Others have shown some improvement in this area, and yet others have a long way to go. To ensure your business environment is female-friendly take the following steps:
- Train your employees on how to sell to women.
- Provide an immaculately clean and comfortable waiting room with women’s magazines.
- Provide immaculately clean restrooms.
If you really want to impress women, you can take it farther.
- If you see a woman approach your store, if you are not working with a customer or on the phone, walk toward the door, open it for them and greet them. You might even go out into the parking lot and open the door for them.
- Escort them to the waiting area and serve them bottled water, coffee, or herbal tea.
- On Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, keep a pot of tea roses below the counter and hand them one when they pay for your service, and thank them for their business. If you buy them in bulk from a floral distributor, they are inexpensive.
- Hold special promotions and deals for Women Only.
- Provide printed material at the counter that simplifies mechanical language.
Selling to a woman takes superior sales communication skills, class, professionalism, and of course, product knowledge. For now, think about your selling style and your business environment and ask yourself this question-
If you were a woman, would you buy from you?
For information on “Selling to Women, Today’s Greatest Economic Engine sales training program, visit www.howtoselltowomen.us or call (847) 477-7376, or (847) 359-6969.