Purchasing a car is consistently rated as one of the most stressful and unpleasant experiences by consumers. It goes without saying that you want to change this perception. Never fret, employing a bit of emotional intelligence will go a long way.
“Emotional intelligence” is a term getting thrown around with increasing regularity in business circles. It’s a general term for a wide variety of behaviors, but the core of the message is this: don’t be a jerk. It’s a little more complex than that, of course, but that’s where we start. Don’t worry, I’m not abandoning you there. I have 5 concrete tips that can raise your emotional intelligence and help you with your sales.
1.Listen before you think. Think before you speak.
It’s the most clichéd observation in movies: people don’t listen, they just wait for their turn to speak. It tends to be true, at least among those who could use some work on their emotional intelligence. When anyone speaks, listen to what they say. Actually, take a bit of time to parse not just their words, but their meaning.
You’ll find that you’re picking up more of the nuance of what the other person is trying to communicate. It goes without saying why this can help you with your sales, but it’s also not a bad thing to have in your personal life.
2. Don’t ignore body language
A lot of communication is nonverbal, and ignoring it is going to put you at a disadvantage in all parts of your life. Watch how a customer presents themselves. Are they timid? Direct? Standoffish? All of these can be vital clues to their ultimate disposition. Do they want a sales associate to walk them through the process, or would they like to take charge?
It’s the most basic element of sales, and helps you adjust your approach on the fly. Listen to what your customer isn’t saying.
3. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes
This can be somewhat difficult, as the people who don’t like to buy cars seldom get into the business of selling them. Think about the anxieties a customer might bring through the door. Price is always a concern. Also near the top is getting taken advantage of by an unscrupulous salesperson. Knowing what a customer doesn’t want is an important first step toward giving them what they do.
Someone’s enjoyment of an experience is keyed to their emotional state. Understanding someone’s emotions means helping them have a positive experience. By putting yourself into their shoes, you can guide your customers into the emotional space where the car buying experience is something they love.
4. Praise can be huge
While no one likes false praise, genuine praise is the most welcome thing anyone is likely to hear. It’s important not to come off as fake, so wait until a customer makes a trenchant observation. Practicing this in your private life will help you improve your emotional intelligence, and it will make praise second nature. That way when you bust it out at work, it rings true.
5. Reflect on criticism
High emotional intelligence goes hand in hand with the ability to honestly engage with criticism. No one likes to be criticized, but it’s a vital part of learning and growing. If a member of your staff, or if your store itself, receives some criticism, try to look at it objectively. Does the critic have a point? And if so, how can you improve?
Your job isn’t to make a sale at any cost. You’re trying to give the customer the kind of positive experience that will inspire them to not only come back but to recommend your store to friends and family. You want to put them behind the wheel of a car they love at a price they can afford. Understand that, and you’re halfway there.