Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010, 01:56 AM
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -
How can your business improve non-verbal communication skills with women customers and create a better overall experience? Reputation management and creating positive word-of-mouth with women begins and ends with how effectively you communicate with her verbally and non-verbally during her entire experience with your business.
Let’s look at some non-verbal ways to communicate with women more effectively:
1. Smile and look women in the eyes when you greet them; keep your gaze above the shoulders.
2. Pay attention to her non-verbal cues. She came to do business with you and wants to feel in charge. Try not to rush to open doors and be the genteel escort. Ask her if she would like you to get the door for her. Being the gentleman is appropriate behavior on a date; however, these gestures may undermine her confidence and dilute her feeling in control during the sales process.
3. Provide a wide variety of women’s magazines in your waiting rooms that reflect the demographic of the lifestyles of the women in your local market.
4. Have separate, clean and pleasant restroom facilities that include a changing table for young mothers with small children. Keep it well stocked with supplies. Go the extra mile and stock a few extra necessities to show you appreciate their waiting time.
5. Women want to be respected as savvy consumers. Support and educate her during the sales process rather than take the role of the know-it-all automotive expert using acronyms and terminology she does not understand. Using pictures or showing her in a more visual way goes a long way in making her understand and feel more comfortable making a buying decision.
6. When women come in to your business with their husbands, greet, speak and make eye contact with both husband and wife equally, rather than direct all your questions and comments to the husband. In many cases, she will actually be the one to make the final buying decision!
7. Go at her pace during negotiations. Rushing her to close the deal today might backfire; women generally take longer to make a buying decision. However, once satisfied with their purchase and experience with your business, women statistically are more loyal than their male counterparts, and more apt to go online and write a positive or negative review.
8. Make sure your website, Facebook, Twitter, coupon programs, marketing and advertising and other visual representations of your business resonate with women.
“Advertising for cars and trucks is still heavily male oriented, dominated by images of wild speed, trucks pounding up mountains and lots of mine-is-better-than-yours,” said Marti Barletta, a specialist in marketing to women who has consulted with major auto companies.
“There is very little indication of any attempt to understand what types of communications women respond to,” Barletta said. “I just find myself astonished that the largest consumer industry in the world doesn’t know who its primary buyers are.”
—What are you planning with your marketing and advertising budgets to attract, sell, retain and increase loyalty with women consumers?
—What if any specific training is your business providing for you your sales, service and finance departments to increase their skills with women buyers?
—Do you have a program to recruit, hire and train women for sales, service and other leadership positions?
—Have you mined your customer database to identify and segment your women customers and create retention or loyalty programs?
—What kinds of women’s initiatives are you working on for 2011?
—Are you advertising and marketing to reach and resonate with women?
Women influence 85 percent of automotive purchase decisions and represent 73 percent of service and repair customers and are a huge revenue opportunity for your business to focus on to gain market share. What non-verbal messages are you sending women?
Jody DeVere is the chief executive officer of AskPatty.com.