Picture this: a woman walks into your business looking just a bit uncomfortable. She probably isn’t into cars that much and is going to need some help. Maybe you cringe that she’s going to be clueless and suspicious that she is going to be ripped off. You could be right. A lot of women buying cars and car related products and services do feel that way. Often they just ask a male friend or relative to go for them.
What you should think when a woman walks in, whether she looks tentative or not, is that this is your opportunity to grow your business. Women, in case you haven’t noticed, talk a lot. They like to share stories, stories about their experiences, both good and bad.
The story you want them to share is one about how she found the perfect place to take her car, or to buy one. That place, of course, would be yours. Make her a happy customer and she will be back again instead of trying your competitor. And she will tell her friends, associates and family to go to you too.
If you are selling cars, selling parts or service, tires or oil changes, you should be about as helpful with the woman who walks in the door as you can be. Make her feel comfortable and at ease. Smile, shake her hand (don’t crush it, please), find out her name and take time to listen to her. Let her talk about her car. Let her talk about her family. To her, the two are interrelated.
When you talk about your product or service, don’t focus on features like you might with a man. Focus on benefits, especially ones related to her safety and the convenience of her family. These are her highest priorities.
If you sell tires, focus on their ability to withstand road hazards, not how cool they look or how well they handle. Women don’t like the prospect of getting stranded.
If you provide repair service, emphasize how convenient you can make it for her to bring her car in, and to get it back. If you don’t offer any special conveniences, consider doing so. It is important to women.
If she will have to spend any significant time waiting in your place of business, make sure you offer her some comforts she will appreciate. Spiff up your rest room. Put out some women’s magazines along with the car oriented ones.
Make sure she leaves with the feeling that you really appreciate her business. Thanks her, with feeling. Find a reason to give her a call or send her a postcard, maybe to remind her of future service needs, or just to give her some car or driving related information (“Come on by anytime and I’ll check your tire pressures.”).
Go ahead and ask her to refer you to friends and family. You earned it, didn’t you? And talk is cheaper than advertising.
To make women even more at ease about buying from you, you should also consider becoming a WomenCertified professional. WomenCertified is a program that will provide you with additional information on how to communicate effectively with your women customers, and for that matter with any woman you communicate with. Once you complete and pass the WomenCertified online course, which takes only a couple hours, you become WomenCertified and can boast to all your customers that you carry the seal of approval women trust. Visit www.womencertified.com to learn more about this valuable program.
Delia Passi is Founder and CEO of Medelia, Inc., the provider of the WomenCertified program. Medelia provides consulting and training on selling to women to many major corporations and small businesses seeking to improve their service and increase their sales to women. She is the author of Winning the Toughest Customer, the Essential Guide to Selling to Women (Kaplan 2006).