Emotional Intelligence

With a financial year-end looming for many of us, especially in the Automotive industry, a solid and productive finish is the aim of the game.

For those in customer-facing roles, being able to understand the customer is a key driver when it comes to securing the all-important deal while still ensuring that the customer experience is at the forefront of the mind.

Using Emotional Intelligence (EI) in these roles allows us to understand how our mood and emotions can affect ourselves and others and also how to read the verbal and non-verbal cues from our customers. This helps us to ensure that we can connect with them and deliver the positive experience they are looking for.

Buying a vehicle is an emotional decision

Today’s automotive customer will make a purchase based not only on the background research and personal experience that they have, which may include, depreciation, performance, running and ownership costs (all logical, rational reasons to make a vehicle purchase), but they will also make a purchase based on the emotional experience as well. A customer who is treated well and listened to is more likely to buy, as the sales executive has been able to talk to them on an emotional, experiential level, rather than with a task mentality.  

The positive experiential treatment of a customer may not just end in a single purchase, but in a developed brand, dealership and sales executive loyalty which will be long-lasting and far-reaching.

Understanding Emotional Motivators

So, what are the key emotional motivators which can be leveraged when dealing with customers?

Make them feel special – every potential customer wants to feel special, no matter what their budget. A car purchase is a major expenditure for anyone, and from an experiential point of view, there should be no difference in the customers’ treatment.

Do not allow them to feel pressurised. At year-end, closing the deal may be all-important to the retailer, but the customer should not feel pressurised. The “hard sell” technique no longer works with many customers. Instead, a personal approach based on the building of rapport and working with the customer to fully appreciate the value in their purchase is more likely to secure a sale. A customer who is not engaged on a personal level with the sales executive is more likely to feel uncomfortable and therefore is unlikely to make a purchase.

Understand who the customer is and how they live their lives – Do they partake in outdoor activities or sports? Remind them how they can best utilise the vehicle to fit in and around their lifestyle. If this is a family purchase, remember to ensure that you emotionally connect to them as a family and not individuals.

How can you improve your personal Emotional Intelligence?

It is possible to increase your Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) and better recognise your own emotions which will, in turn, help you develop the skills to understand how better to interact with others.

Specific actions include:

Observing how you feel at any given point in time. What is making you feel that way? How does emotion show up as a physical feeling? What are the sensations?

Pay attention to how you behave. Do certain emotions trigger you to behave in specific ways? What is your interaction with people like when you change your behaviour?

Take responsibility for your feelings. Your emotions and behaviour come from you. If you can understand and accept them, you can then adapt your behaviour and have a more positive impact, and therefore you will recognise the same visual signs in others.

Celebrate positive feelings and understand the negatives. This way, you can become more rounded and understand how to minimise any negative feelings.

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