Optimizing Sales: The Neuroscience of Selling Trust – 3 Mindful Ways to Maximize Women Browsers into Buyers

Posted: June 13, 2013 by Anne Fleming, Car Buying Advocate

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PITTSBURGH, PAWomen-Drivers.com As a car dealer, you’ve been thoroughly trained on all steps of a sale from greeting through negotiation and final sale. And, you apply these steps well. But, it’s a good bet that even armed with all of your knowledge and experience there have been more than a few times when you found yourself wondering, “What happened? I thought everything was going well and yet the prospect walked out the door.”

Here, you will learn unusual but highly effective tips to help you focus on signals that you might otherwise miss – signals that could be the difference between clinching a deal and having the potential buyer walk out the door. Women-Drivers.com reveals that women car buyers visit 1.9 dealerships before purchasing. That means that while 5 out of 10 women who walk in are going to buy a car from you; and 5 are going to leave – and 89% of those who do leave will not return to your dealership.

Do you track the number of browsers that visit your dealership? If you did, you might see there is a whole lot of business walking out the door. Knowing how the unconscious can undermine effective communication enables you to pay attention, better read a buyer and increase sales potential. Here, we concentrate on your interactions with women buyers in particular. But, the same principles of observation, awareness and being “in the moment” apply in every sales situation with all customers.

Your Brain on Auto Pilot
Have you ever said something or acted on something and then asked yourself, “What was I thinking?” Let’s face it, all of us have found ourselves acting first and thinking second at various times. When this lapse of ‘conscious consideration’ happens during the car buying process, it means that you could be missing something vital.

Let’s take a closer look. The brain has three essential components:

  1. The Neocortex, smart and conscience, produces language, reason, and analysis.
  2. The Limbic part stores memories and reactions and records and produces emotion.

The Reptilian part is unconscious, designed to create fight or flight when survival is at stake, and can be quite irrational, allowing one to jump to unwarranted conclusions.

Clear Intentions International® is a company that provides executive Neuro-Emotional Coaching and works with sales professionals in the US, Israel, and Germany. “The common challenges that sales people have are fear of rejection, poor time management and lack of confidence – or, in some cases, the sense of deserving to be successful. Even though it’s 2013 and we have all this technology and are highly sophisticated, our emotions still rule our decisions. Sales people think the deal closed and in a nano-second something happens and they derail it,” says founder and President Dr. Barbara Schwarck, PCC.

To address this, Clear Intentions created the BreakThrough Now app (iphone users can download here) that assists salespeople in powerfully dealing with their blind spots As a result of some simple tests, you can achieve dramatic improvements in productivity, procrastination, feeling disempowered, and against rejection. Adds Dr. Schwarck, “it’s a litmus or PH test to locate individual weaknesses and what to go to work on.”

When you stop paying real attention to your sales interaction and, instead, operate on auto pilot or assume or just to conclusions, your limbic brain takes over meaning are acting on instinct, history and internalized prejudices rather than being present to happening right now. For more on how the brain functions, and how car buyers also become ‘hijacked or hooked’, read Women-Driver’s article on The Neuroscience of Buying a Car.

With women going to 1.9 dealerships before buying, read on to understand 3 key developments you can employ to maximize your sales opportunity well beyond a 50-50% chance.

1. Get to Know Women Car Buyers Better

Here’s a quick test to help you understand why some women have a difficult time relating to their sales advisor.

  1. When “browsing for a car’’ what percent of women feel the salesperson was directing real or, valued, communication toward them?
    (A) less than 60% (B) 75.0% (C) 79.3% (D) 82.1%
  1. When “buying a car’’ what percent of women feel the salesperson was directing real or, valued, communication toward them?
    (A) less than 60% (B) 67.9% (C) 84.3% (D) 90.7%
  1. What percent of women ‘browsers’ would recommend their salesperson?
    (A) 41.4% (B) 51.5% (C) 61.5% (D) 71.6%
  1. What percent of women ‘buyers’ would recommend their salesperson?
    (A) 61.5% (B) 71.5% (C) 81.7% (D) 91.6%

According to Women-Drivers.com, the answers are:: 1. (D); 2. (D); 3. (D); 4. (D)

These few answers show that women experience browsing and buying very differently. Women give their salespeople much higher scores when buying. Clearly, there is room for seller improvement. Consider to what extend you might be responsible for these perceptions. Do you interact or pay attention to her the same if you think he is “just looking or browsing”? Do you pull out all the stops, however, when you (think) she is buying?

2. What a Woman Really is Communicating When She Says, “I’m Just Looking?”

While the woman may, in fact, be “just looking” there is also the possibility that she’s not ready to talk, she’s got other things on her mind, she is distracted by having to pick up her kids, or any other myriad of possibilities. Maybe what seems as a standoffish response is not disinterest, but fear or nerves. As a sales advisor, you know not to take certain statements at face value. She probably wouldn’t be in the dealership in the first place unless she is on the way to buying a vehicle. And, that vehicle is going to be bought from you or someone else. So, let’s make that person you.

Since trust in the sales person is the single most important criterion on which a woman makes a car buying decision, you need to work on gaining that trust. That ‘standard’ response could also mean she is checking you out to see how well you will listen or attend to her, after all, a woman who develops trust in the sales person most likely will buy there. Further as the four following sales scenarios show, without trust, a sale will not occur.

Scenario One:

The woman buyer likes and trusts the salesperson and likes the car.

Outcome: Buyer purchases and returns as a loyal customer.

Scenario Two:

The woman buyer likes and trusts the salesperson but is unsure of the car.

Outcome: The buyer may stay and purchase a vehicle from the salesperson based on the connection that they made. The buyer, though tending to feel bad about the amount of time the salesperson has spent; most likely will opt to look elsewhere at other brands and dealerships, hoping for a similar sales experience.

Scenario Three:

The woman buyer does not like or trust the salesperson and is unsure of the vehicle.

Outcome: Had the salesperson and buyer connected there was a chance to put the buyer in a different vehicle, however, with no connection to the salesperson or vehicle, this will almost always result in no sale.

Scenario Four:

The woman buyer does not like or trust the salesperson, but loves the car.

Outcome: The buyer may stay and purchase a vehicle from the salesperson based on the connection that they made. The buyer, though tending to feel bad about the amount of time the salesperson has spent; most likely will opt to look elsewhere at other brands and dealerships, hoping for a similar sales experience.

Outcome: If the salesperson had connected with the buyer, the sale would have been made, but, a buyer who does not like or trust a salesperson will almost always go to another dealership offering the same vehicle and look for the connection with the other salesperson.

3. Avoid the Pitfalls of Over Confidence, Reliance on Intuition and Dependence on Your Experience.

“I’ve been selling cars for years and am an expert.” “And, I know women.” If either of these statements describes you, then this section is just for you. You may be over confident, rely on intuition and on your experience just a tad too much. The way you behave or that ‘little cute thing you say’ may actually undermine a woman’s trust in you. In addition to trust, below are the factors that are most important to a woman in the sales transaction.

These add up over 100% as women can choose multiple responses. Source: Women-Drivers.com

This graph tells an important story: with the exception of price and knowledge, these criteria are all about whether the woman relates to you or not. The sales advisor who is trustworthy, respectful, knowledgeable and respectful is the one who gets the sale. But, if you allow your brain’s intuitive center to lead the way, and don’t tone down those instincts that create boundaries and cause you to misread the situation, the mutuality necessary to reach trust won’t be achieved.

There are three important pitfalls that you can learn to avoid by being in the moment and evaluating what is in front of you:

  1. Don’t let confidence get the best of you
  2. Avoid relying on your intuition
  3. Don’t let experience be your only guide

While confidence is a good and necessary attribute, over-confidence has just the opposite effect. Nobel Prize winning cartographer of the human mind Daniel Kahneman says, “Confidence is a completely unreliable guide to decision making. Yet we tend to trust it implicitly, in ourselves and in others.” Remember the limbic system – the brain part that controls emotion and records history? Fully 28.2% of women already feel apprehensive and another 21% feel confused and intimidated when they are buying a car. It’s possible that your overconfidence will exacerbate her existing discomfort.

Achieve balance. Be optimistic that success, as defined by selling a car, is achievable with every prospect. A positive and optimistic attitude is likely to be relayed to the consumer. But, at the same time, don’t let over confidence get the best of you and keep you from seeing what is happening in front of your eyes.

While instinct and gut feelings have their place, the more modern approach is to minimize reliance on the “myth” of intuition. Intuition can be useful, but it should not be used as a replacement for observation and reasoning. You have to learn when to trust your intuition and when to be wary of it.

Here’s a graphic example of how your intuition can trick you. When a woman smiles during a car sale, what do you think? If you answered, “I think that she is happy and things are going well,” you are just as likely to be right as wrong! Surprising isn’t it. But, studies have shown that many people smile insincerely and 90% of people smile when they are frustrated. Also, women often try to placate others and may smile politely but ingenuously before walking out the door. If you mistake a smile for satisfaction, when it was actually frustration or even insincerity, you might miss the sign that the buyer is going to walk away and, thus, the opportunity, to get the interaction back on track.

Your experience is your best asset; don’t let it also be your downfall. Be wary of letting your prior success mislead you. Just like confidence, experience and ego can be important assets. But, use these assets to be smart, wise and mature and able to self-correct when off base. Rather than relying on what you know, the next time you engage in a sale, think about what you don’t know. Try to keep an open mind, learn about the buyer by asking and ‘getting her’ and approach each and every interaction as a learning opportunity.

Let go of your ego, let go of your instincts and be open. Listen and you may hear what you haven’t heard before. Look and you may have a clearer vision of what the buyer is really wanting from you. Think and you may have a revelation that gets you to “yes” in new and more satisfying ways. Develop a new sales mentality by using the thinking, rather than the intuitive, part of your brain.

About Women Drivers
Women‐Drivers.com is a marketplace connecting women buyers to trusted Certified Women‐Drivers Friendly™ Car Dealers and encourages extraordinary commercial experiences and lasting relationships between these two groups. Women‐Drivers.com is a producer of highly engaging Facebook women+family content and publishes a platform of integration services that build social communities for car dealers. The Company provides innovative web‐based marketing solutions that build trust and transparency, resulting in greater sales and servicing from women. Follow on Twitter @womendrivers.

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