It's just a fact of life in the automotive world: listening is essential! One of the key things we stress when training our Certified Female Friendly employees is developing great communication skills. Too often, when a woman visits a car dealer, tire dealer, service center, or other automotive retail location, she is interrupted, talked over, or simply not heard. Well, I'm here to tell everyone in the auto world the same thing I tell every one of our Certified Female Friendly locations: women speak, learn to listen!
1. Verbal skills
When it comes to speaking to your female customers, the three C's are clear, concise, and correct. Don't try to wow her with jargon, and don't deny her an explanation because you don't think she'll understand. Women really appreciate it when you take the time to explain the whole process. Make sure your answers are correct, of course (we don't want to be providing inaccurate explanations after all), and you want to explain yourself as clearly as possible while still remaining concise. If you can master the art of the three C's, you're well on your way to winning with women already.
2. Non-verbal skills improve body language
When talking to female customers, what you don't say can be just as important as what you do say. Women are storytellers. If you're helping a female customer, listen to her as she tells you what she needs. She'll likely tell you about her entire car history, family, her kids, how many trips to school and tae-kwon-do and soccer practice she makes every week, how many snacks have spilled, and how many hours she spends in her car. These are important clues for you! This is a customer who cares about safety, reliability, and easy cleaning. While listening, signify your interest by nodding, smiling, and expressing (without speaking) that you're following along. Repeat back the key points to her before you offer the solution she needs. This signals that you heard every word, and that goes a long way with women!
3. Marketing and advertising that resonates
Just painting something pink doesn't make it woman-friendly. Similarly, covering your marketing and advertising with flowers and hearts isn't going to go very far either. Women don't care about the colors you use in your advertising, they care about honesty and reliability. Use the same 3 C's in your advertising that you use when speaking, and you'll earn the trust of women, and men.
4. Look and feel of your store
When a female customer arrives, curb appeal is important. Your location should look clean and professional from the outside, or she'll be nervous about coming in. Similarly, make sure the inside is comfortable and clean, from the waiting areas to the restrooms. Giving her a nice place with a pleasant smell and casual atmosphere to sit and wait, with extras like complimentary coffee, WiFi internet, and perhaps a safe play area for the kids, will speak volumes about your commitment to women.
5. Dress for success ... what you wear reflects who you are
Finally, as long as you're dressing your shop or dealership up, dress up your staff as well! You don't have to wear uniforms (but if you do, that's fine), but make sure all staff are well-groomed and dressed nicely. All of these key points will paint a picture for your female customers that you're a business who takes everyone seriously. As long as you follow through and provide great work on top of all these excellent tips, you will earn her trust very quickly!