Selling is a communication process. Communication means the transmission of ideas or information. With women, the communication process becomes a bit more complex than just making your pitch or gathering information. It’s apparent through my many years of training salespeople that selling to women is harder than selling to men. Women take longer, need more input, expect more attentive service, require more follow-up, and more. I’ve heard the same story over and over: Women are far tougher customers to do business with, and they demand more service than men.
So why bother? By now you already know the drill. For one thing, anyone who succeeds in selling and servicing women customers will tell you that the extra effort will pay you back in multiples. You could say that 1 + 1 = 3. That means, sell well to one woman and she will reward you with her business, her loyalty (more business) and probably a large number of referrals to other women (and the beat goes on).
For another, there’s an even larger payoff as well: Once you can effectively sell, market to and retain women customers, you’ll have the tools to sell anything better to anyone. Men may not need the extra attention-but will appreciate it. And almost any target market you can name demands attentive adjustments to their way of shopping, deciding and buying. Think minority markets. Think ethnic markets. Think Baby Boomers. Think seniors. Think about it: That means a lot of new business.
Now whether she likes the sales experience or not, eventually she’s got to buy from someone. But when given a choice, a woman will go out of her way to do business with someone who provides the experience she prefers.
What does this mean to you? As a salesperson, you can create an advantage for your product by providing an experience that can’t be found at your competitors. Being the first one on your block to master the technique of selling to women is also more valuable than her business alone. Let’s face it: women talk. They like to share stories and compare notes. They care about sparing their friends or family unpleasant experiences.
The New Woman Customer
Women today have the discretionary and disposable income to buy much more of whatever they want. They are the largest and best growth market out there-and they are never going back to the way things were.
The growing ranks of well-educated women are the ones who will go on to become the high earners in the professions. And in corporate America. Right now women hold the majority-50.5%-of management and professional jobs, according to Catalyst, even though they make up only 46.5% of the U.S. labor force.
That spells serious money to spend. Now that their lives have grown, women act even more decisively not only as buyers, but also as gatekeepers and deal-breakers. Clearly, we are well past the era of the dependent woman, whose access to financial wherewithal and purchasing decision-making was more passive and secondhand. The new breed of woman consumer today is educated, informed and more empowered than ever.
Tips for car dealers, repair shops and parts retailers:
1. Get your business in order first. That means making sure your showrooms and your environment/individual offices are women friendly.
2. Create a business and marketing plan to increase your business among women. Dealers who made the effort to create a plan have increased their sales among women up to 50%.
3. Put your active listening skills into high gear. Women claim that they are often “not heard” or understood.
4. Be patient. Recognize that women take more time in the sales process. Use this time to learn more about her.
5. Build trust with your women clients. That means returning her calls the same day, calling her quarterly just to connect, create anywhere from 5 to 10 points of contact throughout the year which can include newsletters, emails, holiday cards, etc. The more valuable the client, the more points of contact!
6. Be religious about the seven-step process to selling to women so that you will exceed her expectations and build your business through loyalty and referrals!
7. Get certified so women can find you among other professionals who provide them with the services they need and the experience they want.