Category Archives: How women buy

Why Do Women Ask SO Many Questions?

When You’re Selling to Women, You’d Better Know Your Stuff

Why Do Women Ask SO Many Questions?Women ask a lot of questions. Women take longer to make a buying decision. It’s not because she’s fickle, and it’s not because she can’t make up her mind. It’s because women have a different decision-making process from men.

This difference between men and women is the key to motivating women to buy from you. And understanding women’s decision-making process will take the hassle out of selling to women.

Men are focused on their top criteria. As soon as they find a product that meets their criteria, they buy it.

Women are more detail-oriented. They identity all the important things– and all the other important things, as well. Women have a longer list of criteria, and they want everything. To show what I mean, let’s consider an example.

How Women and Men Book Hotels Differently

Everyone, women and men alike, have two main criteria for booking a hotel room:

  1. Location
  2. Price

So, let’s say you want a hotel in mid-town Manhattan for about $450/night. There are plenty of options. If you’re a man, you’ll book the first one you find. Mission accomplished. Job well done.

Women will almost never book the first option. She’ll want to assess the four or five best candidates to make the perfect choice. One might have a free cocktail hour, while another includes parking. Or perhaps a third offers a world-class spa. If she looks at the details, she will learn which hotel she prefers.

Why Do Women Ask SO Many Questions?When Westin introduced their “Heavenly Bed,” they found it spiked their sales 21% in the first year. What does a heavenly bed even mean? Do you need one for a good night’s sleep? What makes it so wonderful? Curiosity drove women to give it a try. All other options being equal, you might as well choose the heavenly bed!

Here’s great news about selling to women: they care about the things that differentiate you from your competitors! And that’s why they ask so many questions.

 

[VIDEO] Best Buy’s Switch to a Woman-Focused Store Format

Marti shares a marketing to women case study of Best Buy’s experiment with women-friendly store formats– and how the results were stunning. This video excerpt is from her marketing to women keynote speech to Kodak.

Watch the video: Best Buy’s Switch to a Woman-Focused Store Format

Closing the Sale with Women

Women’s “Perfect Answer” Requires a Longer Sales Process

Here’s a critical difference between women and men when it comes to closing a sale: while men seek to make a good decision, women are looking for the Perfect Answer. As a result:

  • Expect a lot more questions from women
  • Expect a longer decision process

Closing the Sale with Women

Cowboys and Sharpshooters

Salespeople are trained to try to close the sale in the initial meeting. That may work with men because they have a faster decision process. Making decisions from the fly and “shooting from the hip” is one way men communicate their autonomy and decisiveness– the “cowboy factor.” But women are marksmen, not cowboys– and if you rush them or push them while they’re trying to zero in on what they want, all you’re going to do it irritate them.

Women want to consider, compare and talk it over with trusted advisors. It’s not enough for the product or service to meet her needs; it must be the best way to meet her needs.

Selling to women can be frustrating in this respect, but I’d advise you to refocus your attention on what you’re going to do to follow up instead of pushing too hard right away. Otherwise, she will start to distrust your motives (you’re supposed to be her agent, not her adversary!) and destroy all that great rapport you’ve been building up during the sales process.

 

[VIDEO] Why You Need to Look Women in the Eyes

Face-to-face sales conversations with women need to happen… facing each other! Women are most comfortable making eye contact and looking at the other person’s face.

Watch the video: Why You Need to Look Women in the Eyes

Selling to Women: DON’T ‘Always Be Closing’

Selling to Women: DON'T 'Always Be Closing'We all know the ABC’s of sales: Always Be Closing! However, women find this sales approach tiresome and exhausting. If you’re always trying to close the sale, she will close her mind to your offerings.

To avoid irritating your women customers, reach out to her occasionally for a non-sales reason. Here are two examples of thoughtful, non-sales communications that women appreciate.

Selling to Women: DON'T 'Always Be Closing'

Every so often, I get an email from United Airlines, which I fly frequently, telling me about new developments I might like to know about. And they aren’t trying to get anything from me. For instance, one email told me about an impending strike from mechanics that might affect my flight choices.

Similarly, a friend who bought a Ford Explorer got a follow-up call from the dealership a few weeks after she had purchased it, just letting her know that Ford was there to answer any questions or problems, and asking if she liked the car.

Women are suspicious of salespeople who are always trying to get something from them. And they can spot an ulterior motive or sales agenda from a mile away. So be genuine. Stay in touch with your women customers now and then, even if you aren’t selling anything to her at the time.

Selling to Affluent Couples is Tricky Business

Selling to Affluent Couples is Tricky BusinessSelling to women one-on-one is fairly easy to master. If you understand women’s gender culture and respect her decision-making process, you’ll be miles ahead of most other salespeople.

But selling to couples is trickier. The adage “three’s a crowd,” comes into play because you’re managing three personalities and styles– the woman, the man and yourself. And when you’re selling complex, high-investment products or services, like financial planning or home remodeling, it can start to feel like you’re a counselor as much as you’re a salesperson!

Identify the answer to this question to get started:

Who is the Primary Buyer/User?

Selling to Affluent Couples is Tricky Business

When the couple is buying something for her— her car, her computer, her new kitchen, if the salesman talks to the husband, he gets one warning, often from the husband. If the salesman continues, they leave. There is no room for mistakes here.

When the couple is buying for him, you still need to talk to her. Whether it’s a man cave or a yacht, the wife needs to be sold also. There was once a young yacht salesman who figured out how to sell to couples. He said that he doesn’t target the husband; he already wants the boat. He sells to the wife because she’s the one who needs to be convinced. And he became one of the most successful salespeople in his company using this strategy.

Remember, women have enormous influence on the conventionally male big-ticket items, whether she intends to be the primary user or not.

Win Big with these Marketing to Boomer Women Contest Tips

Promotional contests can really win big in marketing to Boomer women. Here are three insights on incentive programs that resonate with this promising market. Boomer women have “been there, done that” and are jaded on the promise of t-shirts and ball caps. It’s time to break through the promotional clutter and offer incentives uniquely motivating to Boomers.

Change the Prize Structure to Encourage More Boomer Women Word of Mouth

Rather than have one big prize (a new car!) and then a bazillion small prizes (free product samples, keychains, pens), consider spreading the wealth out across the top tier of prizes and offering fewer trivial, lower-level prizes. The goal is to give as many people as you can something “talk-worthy” rather than throwing your money into low-value prizes that aren’t worth mentioning. The costs can be exactly the same, but the prize structure is flatter and more interesting to consumers.

Entice Boomer Women with Experiences, not Clutter

Instead of products or price discounts, offer experiences interesting to Boomer women. They are in the prime of their lives and have time to be adventurous. She doesn’t want another knickknack to sit on the shelf. She wants to live life to the fullest. And if she can share that experience with friends, the reward will be valued even more. Spa services, dance lessons, NASCAR rides, day trips and wine tastings are all shareable experiences that might appeal to your particular Boomer women target. Get creative!

Random Acts of Kindness vs. Organized Incentives

Sometimes, a “surprise and delight” campaign can be more effective at helping you reach your marketing goals than an organized contest or event that’s heavily promoted. For example, the Peapod delivery person once surprised me with a lovely bouquet of red roses. “Wow,” I said, “They’re beautiful. Unfortunately, I didn’t order any roses, so they must be for someone else.” Turns out, because it was Valentine’s Day, Peapod had decided that all customers receiving orders that day would be surprised with flowers. It wasn’t an incentive or a reward that I claimed for ordering more or ordering sooner. It was a sweet surprise, totally unexpected and forever remembered.

Some Sensitive Advice on Selling to Women

Some Sensitive Advice on Selling to WomenCompared to men, women have extrasensory sensitivity. They are able to register more subtle levels of sight, sound and touch. Also, they have “emotional X-ray vision:” they can read non-verbal signals more precisely, including tone of voice, facial expressions and body language.

There’s another important attitudinal component that magnifies these sensitivities: women are a “sensitized population.” When selling to women, salespeople must understand this about women.

Most women have had enough experience with being slighted or treated inappropriately in certain sales situations that they’ve come to expect it. Not that they are tolerant of it, but forewarned is forearmed, and they’ve learned to at least be on guard against sexism. So, when women have a negative experience with a person or business, instead of chalking it up to overall lousy service, they often assume it’s because they are female.

Some Sensitive Advice on Selling to Women

For example, car salesmen have a reputation of being condescending when selling to women. I’m sure most of them are not, but almost every woman I’ve met has a story about an unpleasant car sales experience. And the stories get around, so car salesmen’s reputation precedes them. Both male and female car buyers are going to encounter rude treatment or poor service from time to time. But when men are treated rudely, they don’t walk out of the dealership feeling they were treated that way “because they’re men.” Instead they think, “That guy’s a jerk,” But women often attribute bad behavior to disrespect for women. And the really bad part is when they tell their friends, neighbors and coworkers about the dealership.

When you consider the dramatic differences in men’s and women’s gender culture– credibility displays, rapport-building games based on “one-up” instead of “same-same” and exchange of personal details, different listening behaviors and so-on– and combine that with many men’s underlying view that small courtesies are expressions of subservience instead of consideration for others, you can see that the situation is rife with opportunities for misunderstanding. And even innocuous, unintended oversights can easily be perceived by “sensitized populations” to be just one more example of deliberate discourtesy.

I’m not trying to create an atmosphere of walking on eggshells. Rather, I’m attempting to lay out in very concrete terms how and why an extra dose of sincere consideration and thoughtfulness goes such a long way with women. I think many salesmen are genuinely puzzled by women who get upset over a “little” thing like handing the keys for her test drive to her husband. A little extra reading on the topic and a little focused sellig-to-women training for your sales force can go a long way toward making sure you get your share of the women’s market.

 

Marketing to Women Requires Focus

There are a million great marketing tactics you could use to target women. But not all of them will work for your brand. And you can’t afford them all, anyway.

To help women identify your brand as The Perfect Answer, your marketing team must identify the one or two stages in the purchasing process that have the most opportunity for increasing your business. I call women’s purchasing process the Spiral Path (Unlike men, women spiral through each phase of the decision-making process, and may revisit previous steps when she learns new information).

Women’s Spiral Buying Path

How Women Buy: The Spiral Path

Concentrate most of your marketing tactics on the most important stage, rather than spreading your marketing budget across the entire decision process. Nobody has enough money to do a good job across the entire process.

There are a million great marketing tactics you could use to target women. But not all of them will work for your brand. And you can’t afford them all, anyway. To help women identify your brand as The Perfect Answer, your marketing team must identify the one or two stages in the purchasing process that have the most opportunity for increasing your business. I call women’s purchasing process the Spiral Path (Unlike men, women spiral through each phase of the decision-making process, and may revisit previous steps when she learns new information): Concentrate most of your marketing tactics on the most important stage, rather than spreading your marketing budget across the entire decision process. Nobody has enough money to do a good job across the entire process. Use your chosen strategy as your screener—unless a tactic has a laser-like focus on the purchase path you decided would do your brand the most good, don’t bother with it. It will only defuse your message and defuse your marketing efforts. And it can be quite freeing to have the power to say “no” to a tactic. For instance, if your brand would benefit most from a focus on Activation, use tactics that will awaken the need for your product in women, such as consumer education workshops, sponsorships or article placement. Tactics such as special offers and loyalty programs probably won’t be effective at this stage of the decision-making process. Or, say your most important marketing goal is Retention and Recommendation—helping the customer stay committed to your brand and improving your customer relationship. You might engage in a referral benefits program or improvements to your customer support call center. In this case, you might ignore mass-market advertisement altogether. The bottom line: do your research; pick your marketing strategy and stick with it. If your brand has a consistently appealing message to women in the most important decision-making stage, women will take notice and reward you with their purchases.Use your chosen strategy as your screener—unless a tactic has a laser-like focus on the purchase path you decided would do your brand the most good, don’t bother with it. It will only defuse your message and defuse your marketing efforts. And it can be quite freeing to have the power to say “no” to a tactic.

For instance, if your brand would benefit most from a focus on Activation, use tactics that will awaken the need for your product in women, such as consumer education workshops, sponsorships or article placement. Tactics such as special offers and loyalty programs probably won’t be effective at this stage of the decision-making process.

Or, say your most important marketing goal is Retention and Recommendation—helping the customer stay committed to your brand and improving your customer relationship. You might engage in a referral program or improvements to your customer support call center. In this case, you might ignore mass-market advertisement altogether.

The bottom line: do your research; pick your marketing strategy and stick with it. If your brand has a consistently appealing message to women in the most important decision-making stage, women will take notice and reward you with their purchases.

Selling to Women? Small Courtesies Make Big Points

Selling to Women? Small Courtesies Make Big Points

Women are more sensitive to nuance and underlying meanings, and they respond emphatically and negatively to what men might categorize as minor oversights. This tendency makes selling to women a more detail-oriented endeavor. The flip side is that positive actions and small courtesies go a long way towards earning her trust and business.

A couple small examples– that aren’t small to women– include offering to get her a chair if it seems she’s had a long day, or getting her kids a couple sodas from the vending machine if it’s hot out.

Not Every Salesman Can Sell to Women This Way

Selling to Women? Small Courtesies Make Big PointsAt a recent sales training seminar I was conducting, I realized I have to be a little more specific on this point. A very experienced and successful salesman came up to me after the seminar and told me how pleased he was with the seminar and all the new stuff he’d learned. He said it had never really occurred to him to do the small courtesies before, but if “sucking up to the client is what it takes to make the sale, I guess I can do that.” I thought he was joking at first, but he wasn’t!

It reminds me of a scenario in Dr. Deborah Tannen’s book You Just Don’t Understand! in which she recounts a psychologist asking a husband-wife pair of respondents what they thought “politeness” meant. They answered at the same time: the woman said “consideration for others,” while the man said “subservience.” Asking around among my male acquaintances reveals that quite a few men share this attitude.

Since, to many men, my recommendation to offer small courtesies when selling to women seems antithetical to their culture, I now hasten to add: If you can’t do it with genuine sincerity, don’t do it at all. Women will see through fakery, and instead of having gained her appreciation, you’ll have lost her trust.