In addition to listening, there are a multitude of other techniques that can make all the difference in the world between success and failure when selling to women customers.
- Make eye contact
If there is a woman waiting for you while you are dealing with someone else, nod to make eye contact to acknowledge her existence. She may quietly seethe if you don’t.
- Let her speak
Women are socialized to wait their turn to speak and not to interrupt. Taking turns talking is something ingrained in women from childhood, when they would take turns in role-playing games.
Too often salespeople will talk nonstop to demonstrate their knowledge, and forget to give their female prospect a chance to say something.
When making your presentation or pitch, take a breath, and give the prospect a moment to say what’s on her mind. Forcing yourself to stay silent for a few moments is a powerful tool. Everyone hates an awkward silent moment and will try to fill it; this is especially true with women. If you let the crickets chirp, you may end up hearing exactly what’s on her mind, and then you can customize your page accordingly.
- Explain without patronizing
Straddle the fine line between under explaining and over explaining by letting the customer be your guide. Prompt her by saying things like “Stop me if I’m telling you something you already know” or posing a simple question, such as “Would you like me to go into details about any specific features of this service?” In all likelihood, she will ask you to home in on just the features she cares about the most.
- Repeaters statements
Women are sometimes reluctant to ask too many questions during the sales process because they don’t want to appear uninformed and thus an easy target. Save her the trouble of asking dozens of questions by letting her talk and then repeating her statements back to her as questions: “What I’m hearing you say is that you would like to find the mid-range option. Is that right?” When you get a positive response, it gives you license to go into detail on that particular aspect of the product or service. This technique also demonstrates that you’ve been listening to her, which women usually find impressive.
- Identifier biggest concern
It may be because she doesn’t want to insult you or hurt your feelings, but women are often hesitant to bring up their greatest concerns about what you’re selling. If you ask her directly, she is more likely to tell you what’s on her mind.
- You are a reflection of your brand
Women will notice everything about your selling environment, from how messy your counter is to the stain on your shirt. To most women, cleanliness equals competence, and also respect – for yourself, for your customers, and for your business.
- Be nice to others
Women pay attention to how you treat the coworkers and service people. They also evaluate your company’s reputation. This comes into play in a big way in business-to -business sales. The rule applies all the way from big things (your company supports of social causes) to small things (how you speak to your underlings). If you take a female prospect to lunch, be nice to the wait staff. She’s watching.
- Assume nothing
Don’t assume a woman has a husband. Don’t assume she has kids. Don’t assume she’s not the decision-maker. Don’t assume anything. Women wield the purchasing power. Even in cases when they’re not writing the checks themselves, they are the influences who make things happen. This is especially important point to remember with young women, who have more disposable income than ever before, and larger responsibilities at work than women of previous generations had at the same age.
- Cater to her kids
If a woman’s children are happy and occupied, she can focus on a conversation with you. If you’re miserable, so is she. Whether you use toys, videos, or coloring books, find ways to incorporate the “kid factor” into your environment so that Mom can concentrate on whatever it is you’re selling.
- Use complements
Women complement each other constantly. It’s important part of American female culture. In sales situations, complement her good judgment, good taste, or great question. Fair or not, is generally acceptable for a female salesperson to complement another woman’s personal appearance. However, this is dangerous territory for men and best avoided.
- Disclose your own vulnerability
Acknowledge when a purchasing decision saying something like “I remember the first time I bought my own hard drive – I didn’t know where to begin” will be appreciated and make her feel good that your helping her. This kind of affirmation is a critical part of the way that women talk to one another. The “Genius” at Apple is really good at this.
- Acknowledge her male partner when
It is important to make sure a woman’s husband or male partner is made to feel important and included in the sales process even if she is clearly the decision maker. Understand that she may be saying little during the transaction because she does not inadvertently emasculate her man.
- Don’t assume a nod means yes
Women and men have different reasons for nodding. Men nod to show agreement! Women nod to show that they are listening. Women’s nods can mean, yes, go on, I understand. They don’t necessarily mean “Yes, I am ready for you to close this sale,” Women often nod vigorously when they are in conversation with one another. Watching for the cues and don’t try to close to fast, or you’ll risk turning her off with what she thinks is a hard sell.
- Lead with the emotional close
This is particularly true for luxury products. Where the need to buy is purely an emotional one. Women need justifying a major purchase more than men do. Help her rationalize the decision so there are no guilt feelings about spending money on herself. When it comes to shopping, guilt is largely a female issue, probably because men buy more products based on need and women buy more products based on want.
- Discuss service and maintenance policies
Don’t skimp on this information, because as we have seen women will fast-forward to the worse-case scenario and want to know what their options are should things go wrong. Trust and peace of mind can be your competitive advantage.
- Give her a reason to tell her friends
Women are a great source of referrals give her something to pass along to her friends so that they can get a discount on your product or service. At a minimum ask her if there is anyone she knows who might also be in need of whatever you are selling. If she likes you, she’ll want to help you succeed.
By: Fay B. Castro