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
At 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.