Tag Archives: Prospecting

3 Tips for Starting a Conversation with a Woman Prospect

It can be difficult getting to know a new prospect. Salespeople walk a fine line between learning about prospects and communicating about their offerings. Starting a conversation with a woman prospect is different than with men.

Selling to Women Tip #1: Ask about Her First

3 Tips for Starting a Conversation with a Woman ProspectStart the conversation by asking your woman prospect about herself. Don’t introduce yourself first. Women often become very interested in learning about others. If you start the conversation about yourself, she may spend the entire conversation asking questions about you. Then you’d never learn anything about her– and how can you sell to a stranger?

And don’t worry, you’ll have an opportunity to talk about yourself soon enough! Reciprocity is built into women’s natures. She will certainly ask about you and what you do.

Selling to Women Tip #2: Your First Question Sets the Tone

Asking a woman about herself can be tricky. Avoid making assumptions about your prospect’s life situation. Don’t assume she is a career women or a stay-at-home mom. You set the stage for a friendly conversation when your first question to her is neutral.

To avoid awkward situations, try these opening questions:

  1. What keeps you busy these days?
  2. What gets you up in the morning?

Selling to Women Tip #3: Listen for These 3 Key Things

3 Tips for Starting a Conversation with a Woman ProspectIt may be true that women have a lot to say, but if you listen for these three topics, you’ll be well on your way to a successful sales conversation:

  1. Information about her family and lifestyle that help you understand how your offerings could help her.
  2. Interests you share in common that can start to build a friendly acquaintanceship.
  3. Something you can follow-up on later to show her you were listening and care about the conversation you shared.

Open Your Eyes to the ‘Invisible’ Woman

Women in a world of men are invisible. And knowing this is a great advantage for improving your sales success. Sometimes selling to women is as simple as looking for them.

Selling to Women is Impossible if You Don’t See Them

Open Your Eyes to the 'Invisible' WomanOne of my woman friends, a regional director at a major insurance company, was training a salesman to be an insurance agent. He wasn’t fresh out of school; in fact, this man was mature, confident and fairly seasoned in his profession. During his training, he accompanied her to a networking event– a meeting of the local chamber of commerce. At this meeting, she observed that although 25-30% of the attendees were women, he didn’t talk to any of them.

After the meeting, she said to him, “I was interested to note that you’re meeting and greeting– just not with any of the women.”

His response? “Oh, there were women there?”

She laughed and replied, “Sure, there were. There were 15 or 20 of them.”

Apparently, something in this salesperson’s internal software was registering the women in the room as “background noise.” Whatever the reason, the point is that even face-to-face with physical reality, 25-30% of this networking opportunity was invisible to him. The first step for selling to women is to literally look for women in the places and events you already use for networking.

This advice for selling to women may seem incredibly obvious, but it’s obviously necessary. Open your eyes to the invisible women prospects all around you!

Selling to Women: How NOT to Annoy Your Women Prospects

“Selling to women is all about building relationships!”

selling-to-women-how-not-to-annoy-women-prospectsOh yes, this advice is definitely true. But it is also completely unhelpful to a salesperson who doesn’t understand female gender culture.

As a salesperson, you already build relationships. And you may be thinking, “But I treat my women clients just the same as my best male clients!” And that’s the problem.

Women are different.

As an illustration, take this first meeting between a financial advisor and prospect:

Financial Advisor: I’m so pleased to meet you. Let’s start with a little background for introduction. 

He then proceeds to describe his career and achievements.

Prospect: Let me tell you a little about my situation, family and future.

She then proceeds to tell stories about her life and the people in it.

Advisor: Well, now that we know each other a little, let’s get down to business. What kind of products are you looking to buy?

For a conversation between men, this sales meeting would be fairly successful. But a woman would be highly annoyed. Let’s explore why.

How the Financial Advisor Perceived the Conversation

Selling to Women: How NOT to Annoy Your Women ProspectsThe salesperson thinks he’s making friends and developing mutual respect through his “credentialing” introduction that described his success and acumen. Although the personal small talk went on a little longer than he would have liked, he feels like he helped the prospect narrow her focus and concentrate on what’s important.

How the Female Prospect Perceived the Conversation

Selling to Women: How NOT to Annoy Your Women ProspectsThe prospect thinks the salesperson is a bit arrogant and wonders why the first part of the meeting had to be all about him and his braggingAnd she’s annoyed that he ignored all the important life details that she took the time to share. She’s also off-put that he expected her to know what products she wanted this early in the process. She might think, “You’re the expert. I told you about myself and what I need. Why don’t you suggest what products would be best?”

So, to avoid annoying your women prospects, learn about the differences between men and women’s gender cultures and engage in conversations that respect her mindset.

 

How to Talk to a Woman

When Selling to Women, Connect with Your Prospects in Conversation

how-to-talk-to-a-womanPerhaps you’ve taken my advice that women are amazing prospects and have started selling financial services to women. Great! The first step in prospecting women is to inspire a connection and start your relationship.

There are three things you need to know about connecting with women in conversation.

  1. Find something you have in common
  2. Be careful not to one-up
  3. Followup after the conversation

Find Something You Have in Common

Women have very little use for “getting down to brass tacks.” If you’re going to be her financial advisor, she wants to know and understand you. Let go of your PowerPoint deck for awhile and find something personal you both have in common. Ask about her latest vacation, family, or what’s keeping her busy these days. Perhaps you will discover that both of you love Italy and take most of your vacations there.

Be Careful Not to One-Up

In male gender culture, it’s natural to emphasize your assets and successes. But female gender culture emphasizes togetherness and equality. When you find something you have in common with a woman prospect, don’t mention how you are the best or most capable at it! If she’s visited Italy five times, don’t tell her you’ve been there seven times. She’ll view this one-ups-manship as tiresome and annoying. Open up, share your foibles, and she’ll be more likely to open up her wallet.

Followup After the Conversation

Women appreciate details. Show that you care and are detail-oriented by sending her a personalized token and written note after the conversation. For example, send an Italian cookbook with the note:

“I know you enjoyed eating your way through Italy as much as I did! These are some of my favorite recipes that remind me of Tuscany.”

Do these three things, and your affluent women prospects will think of you less as a salesperson and more as a friend who is enjoyable to talk with. Doesn’t that sound like the start of a prosperous relationship?