5 Ways to Sell to Women
Here’s what we know:
- Women account for 85% of all consumer spending decisions
- There are more men in the sales profession than women
- Women are far more likely to share positive AND negative sales experiences than men are (men will tell 3 people, women will tell 32)
Here’s my somewhat leading question: What does this data say to you?
To me it says that there is a fair amount of cross-gender selling going on. There has been much written about the communication styles of men and women and how misunderstandings and misfires can ensue. What hasn’t been said as much is that it is neither party’s fault; men’s and women’s brains are actually hardwired differently.
My organization is full of women managers and leaders who talk to potential vendors on a regular basis. Here is what we’ve learned about the cross-gender selling experience along with some recommendations:
Assume she is the Decision Maker.
Women tend to be consultative in the buying process, so she may mention that she wants to run your conversation past a colleague or manager. Women don’t just buy stuff, we “join brands” so we take these decisions very seriously. Avoid the pitfall of asking her to include any of these people on the next call; she may take that offer as asking to speak to her male boss. ‘Nuf said.
“Say More about That.”
This magical combination of words makes your potential buyer feel heard and tells her that you are interested in her business challenge. It also helps you stay present and listen when you are tempted to jump to solution early on in the conversation.
Listen to Build Relationship.
You’ve got the perfect solution to her problem. Once she stops talking, you are going to share that with her. Before you jump in, take a moment to share a strength or value that you are hearing. It can be as simple as, “I can hear that excellence is really important to you,” and then let her respond. She will either confirm or correct you, but she will appreciate you reaching out.
Pause and check for understanding.
Let her finish telling you her business challenge. Pause before you respond. Is there an opportunity for her to say more about something? What are you curious about? Where do you need more clarity? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been interrupted to listen to a pitch that didn’t quite address my issue.
Don’t forget to breathe.
If you find your mind going in a million different directions while you are listening, take a deep inhale to come back to the present. I have to constantly remind myself of this as a coach, when ideas and solutions are coming at me like the asteroid field in Star Wars. Your buyer notices when you are present and asking really great questions.
What about you?
We would love to hear your best practices about cross-gender selling. And please, say more about that.