Selling to women over the phone, an essential part of the dealer equation these days, presents many opportunities for a salesperson to show the kind of people skills that will make the deal go smoothly and rapidly. And if you do it right, it can result in referrals and often a customer for life.
Regardless of whether you get called by a man or a woman, make sure you’re in the right frame of mind. Sit up straight like your mother always told you, and be sure to smile. Both of these factors will affect how you come across on the phone. When you are sitting up straight you will feel and act more involved, more professional and more focused, all of which will be felt by the person you are talking to.
If you are smiling, your voice changes as does your general attitude. It is really tough to smile and not act friendly at the same time. Projecting friendliness makes your caller relax too. Happy, comfortable people are just easier to deal with. So think about having a mirror on your desk so you can see when you are or aren’t projecting the right message.
Take your time getting to business. If you were selling in the showroom you would want to establish a friendly relationship with a handshake and a pleasant remark. A handshake is impossible, so take a few minutes to get a feel for your caller. Find out her/his name and use it occasionally, and genuinely, during your conversation. Ask where the caller is located and think of how you can make a connection with them. Have you been to their location or know something about it? If so, say so.
Help your caller to relax and think of you as a friend and not someone who wants to get the call or deal over with. Remember that every caller knows a whole bunch of people who will need cars themselves someday, and you want someone to send them to you.
I probably talk about listening skills more than anything else, but nothing is more important when selling to women, especially over the phone. The first rule is not to interrupt. Make sure she gets enough time to give you her story. It may be full of irrelevant information, but it is often told because it is part of her buying equation. Don’t rush to talk, sometimes she will sell herself. When she sounds like she’s done, give her a moment before jumping in. Often she’s just collecting her thoughts and will continue.
Don’t zone out. Pay attention. She may not be terribly direct in her talk, but in there is often important information about her circumstances, her needs and her spending constraints. Make sure she knows you’ve been listening by repeating back to her what the salient points were.
When your time comes to talk, work with her to come to an agreement on what she’s seeking. Give her options and help her understand the ramifications of the alternatives. If she says she wants to think it over, then let her do so. Women like to socialize a decision. She may feel more comfortable talking about her decision with friends, family and associates. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean that you will not use your objection handling skills to uncover concerns that can be handled before you end the call. For example asking a simply question like, “Sue, you mentioned that you really want the car before the end of the week. We can make that happen. So what more can we discuss today to help you make a decision to move forward.”
A common objection is that she may want to discuss it with her husband, just as a man may want to discuss a decision with his wife. I strongly recommend that you don’t ever tell a woman to get her husband to either get into the conversation or to come into the dealership with her. Women are far more empowered these days and many have higher incomes than their spouses. Those that do will not respond well to being told that a man needs to be part of her decision making. Think of that as a great way to kill half of your deals, instantly. Instead acknowledge that it’s a great idea to have them share in the decision and that you welcome an opportunity to speak with them as well if needed, otherwise set a date to reconnect to answer additional questions with the goal to secure a decision.
Women may indeed be the tougher customer to sell, but if you like customer loyalty and lots of referral business, then it pays to be patient and know how to treat her the way she wants to be treated!