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Selling to Women: Answer Every Question Thoroughly

Selling to Women: Answer Every Question ThoroughlyDuring the sales process, women have a longer list of wants and are voracious information seekers. So no matter how trivial or irrelevant her question may seem to you, answer it.

Some salespeople think they are helping women customers by keeping conversations focused on what matters– trying to be efficient and maybe even considerate of her time. But if your response to her question is, “Well, that’s really not what’s important here,” you’ve lost the sale and offended the customer.

If she says it’s important– and if she’s talking about it, that’s what she’s saying– it’s important.

Selling to Women Requires You to Understand Your Competition

Selling to Women: Answer Every Question ThoroughlyOne area I’ve heard several women comment on it salesmen’s unwillingness or inability to answer questions on how the product compares to the competition.

When my friend Pam was shopping, she asked one salesman, “Why should I buy this car instead of that competitive make and model?” She took it as a given that anyone doing due diligence on such an expensive purchase would compare several options. In her mind, she was giving the salesperson an opportunity to showcase his product’s advantages. His answer?

“You just can’t compare the two.”
“Why not?” she pressed.
Again, he said, “You just can’t.”

This salesperson lost the sale because he didn’t know his competition as well as she did– and he tried to make her feel dumb for asking a perfectly reasonable question. Interesting sales strategy.

Contrast that experience with the next dealership where they were prepared to answer the same question with details on their product’s advantages compared to the competition– newer engine design, more headroom, slightly better gas mileage, and so on.

To women, research and data are key elements to finding the Perfect Answer. So, please, make sure to answer her questions thoroughly.

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?

Five Amazing Facts About Boomer Women

Five Amazing Facts About Boomer WomenCall them what you will, Boomer women, older women or—my preference—PrimeTime Women. Women aged 50-70 are in the prime of their lives and represent an amazing marketing opportunity. But what do these Boomer women care about? And what strategies are best for marketing to Boomer women?

For my book, PrimeTime Women, I worked with agency powerhouse DDB Chicago to learn what makes Boomer women tick. We conducted Girlfriend Groups with women in their 40s, 50s and 60s, respectively. DDB also has a remarkable research knowledge base in their proprietary Life Style Study that has captured a treasure trove of consumer and category data for over 30 years.

What You Need to Know About Marketing to Boomer Women

Five Amazing Facts About Boomer Women

Here are five amazing facts about marketing to Boomer women. These are key aspects about Boomer women marketers need to know.

  1. Experiencing the Joy of Being – What is particularly striking about the Boomer woman is the contentment, joy and enthusiasm with which she lives her life. Although she describes herself as serious, being serious does not equate to being negative. She’s happier and more content and possesses a brighter, more optimistic disposition than Generation X and Millennial women who are many years who junior.
  2. Relishing Liberation – Boomer women relish their liberation. Identifying with their new-found sense of freedom and independence will ensure your marketing efforts resonate with Boomer women. But this isn’t the same old “women’s liberation” you’ve heard about your entire life. Boomer women are redefining the term. They are enjoying a “liberation from expectation.” Even in the face of challenges and demands on their time like children moving back home and caring for aging parents, most Boomer women still say that they feel freer than they did when they were younger.
  3. Rocking Her World – You need to rock her world when it comes to marketing to Boomer women. The social and political activism that was the imprimatur of the 1960s is still alive among Boomer women, and beating with a much stronger heart than is the one beating in younger women. Many of the more activist attitudes and behaviors that were formed when Boomer women were in their youth have stayed with them as they’ve gotten older. They still want their voices to be heard—be they liberal or conservative.
  4. Brimming with Confidence – In the Girlfriend Groups conducted with DDB Chicago,Boomer women told us that getting older better equips them to make decisions more confidently than when they were younger. They know how to handle unexpected turbulence and how to get around obstacles in ways that younger women have yet to figure out. With age comes experience. And with experience comes wisdom. This wisdom has given Boomer women confidence and control over their lives, indeed a swagger.
  5. Living Life in “Drive” – 59% of Boomer women agree with the statement, “My greatest achievements are still ahead of me.” Further, Boomer women have a very clear idea of what it is they want to achieve and how they are going to get there. Over two-thirds (68%) of Boomer women agree, “I am the kind of person who knows what I want to accomplish in life and how to achieve it.”

Are You an Advertising Bully?

Women might think you’re an advertising bully if you’ve ever pitted one group against another, even in a seemingly innocuous manner.

Are You an Advertising Bully?

Marketing to Women Approaches Must Avoid Put-Downs

Comparative scenarios with one party at a disadvantage or portrayed as inferior make women uncomfortable, and they react surprisingly strongly. Even indirect language can trigger this reaction.

When my client Wachovia was developing a campaign addressed to women business owners, one of the ads we tested included the statistic Women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men. Would you believe that not one woman, but several women, immediately rejected that language on the grounds that it was putting down men? We changed the statement to read Women are starting 70% of all new businesses, and it tested much more positively.

Similarly, when my Allstate client tested a copy claim that stated Women drivers have 15% fewer accidents than male drivers. To women drivers everywhere, we say THANK YOU, a number of women in focus groups saw that as male bashing, objecting, “That’s just as bad as they’ve always been about us.”

Women don’t like putting people down. With their peer group mindset, we’re all in this together. (For more detail, read “9 Key Differences Between Men and Women That Affect Your Marketing Approach“)

In marketing to women, no people put-downs are allowed. That means men, competitors, other women– anyone. While fact-based product superiority claims are probably OK, if they’re not too heavy-handed, user-based superiority claims are definitely not. Keep it positive or show self-deprecating “me too!” moments that are very relatable to your customers’ life experiences.

Nobody Prospects Women!

Nobody prospects women!We know that 55% of affluent women think wealth managers could do a better job serving women. And 73% are overall “most dissatisfied” with the financial services industry.

And no wonder. Almost nobody even bothers to prospect women (let alone building great client relationships with them)! According to LIMRA:

Of female producers, only 50% prospect women. Of male producers, only 20-25% do!

Some financial advisors have told me that men don’t prospect women because, “Women investors prefer women advisors.” Nope, I’m not buying it!  Economist Dr. Sasha Galbraith revealed that merely 11% of women prefer a woman advisor, with 85% having no preference concerning their advisor’s gender.

Selling Financial Services to Women — What a Golden Opportunity

In a market where women will soon control 70% of private wealth and 50% of millionaires are women, I’m almost in shock that financial advisors would basically ignore this lucrative segment. Besides her affluence, women make better clients.

Three Long-Term Rewards for Prospecting Women

  1. Women have the money. Women will inherit 70% of the $41 trillion in inter-generational wealth transfer expected over the next 40 years.
  2. Once she chooses you as her advisor, she’s loyal. Advisors report women are much less likely to defect during downturns.
  3. Make her happy, and she’ll send you way more referrals than men do. I mean WAY more. An average woman client will refer you 26 times compared to a man referring you twice.

If you aren’t prospecting women already, what’s holding you back? Please leave a comment and let me know– I’m incredibly curious.


Beware the ‘One False Note’ when Marketing to Boomer Women

When marketing to Boomer women, brands need to be authentic and realistically portray the Boomer woman’s perspective.

This generation is very sensitive to what I call “the one false note” syndrome. She will ferret out the fake, the phony and the contrived in any marketing communication.

For example, I once saw a print ad for a car in which a couple was driving down the road, and the wife was pointing a camera out of the car window. The headline was, “Bill cleverly convinced Mary that sightseeing was best done on the fly.” Well, every woman knows that the point of the story is that Bill just didn’t want to stop. In the Boomer woman’s mind, Bill “told” Mary rings true, while “convinced” does not. No way.

Beware the ‘One False Note’ when Marketing to Boomer Women

Boomer women can detect even more subtle false notes than an unrealistic advertising headline. Marketing professionals also must pay attention to their photographs and imagery. Consider the stock photo to the right, purportedly of a happy Boomer woman on her birthday. But just glancing at the photo, Boomer women detect what the model is really thinking, “Ugh. I can’t believe I have to act so ridiculously happy about another birthday. And in this Hawaiian-print shirt, no less!”

The one false note syndrome is about making sure the ad or marketing message reflects the way a woman sees the situation, not the way a man does. I work with many companies and brands, in a variety of industries, helping them identify and weed these “false notes” out of their marketing communications.