Secrets to Success: 7 Key Factors For Selling to Women & Couples
Are you getting your share of a trillion-dollar pie? Women have enormous spending power in the U.S. In fact, they control the majority of purchasing decisions for consumer good and influence the purchase of big ticket items such as homes and cars1.
Businesses, entrepreneurs, and contractors who want increased sales and customer retention rates are taking note of the customer who has the greatest influence on home improvement decisions: women. Like with all valued relationships, trust and good communication are essential to earn her loyalty and dollars. The keys to succeeding with women include a refined method of verbal and nonverbal communication. The following seven factors are the keys to the kingdom when selling to women and couples:
- Make a good first impression. In just a matter of seconds, individuals make numerous decisions and judgments about who you are, so first impressions really matter. Make sure your appearance is clean, professional, well-manicured, and topped off with a bright smile. And while the way you present yourself is critical, first impressions go beyond appearance. Having a friendly and warm encounter is vital. That means giving her a firm handshake, having direct eye contact, and showing genuine interest. And remember that a warm introduction is not to be confused with being condescending or “soft.” Rather, the goal is to gain her trust and loyalty right out of the gate while also showing respect and sincerity.
- Be confident. When confidence is coupled with a warm smile and sincere conversation, it becomes contagious. Showing confidence in yourself and the product or service you’re selling is important, but be cautious not to cross the line. Being overly confident can come across as cocky, pushy, or insincere.
- Be dependable. Be on time, every time. Showing up late or taking a call during your meeting sends a message that your client isn’t your priority. This translates to concerns about your work ethic, trustworthiness, and dependability. Casting doubt on your abilities and commitment can be detrimental to the trust you may have developed, and this can greatly impact your retention and referrals.
- Be well-informed. When possible, do your homework. Become familiar with whom you’re meeting and what they need ahead of time. This makes your client feel important and demonstrates a level of commitment right off the bat. If you’re meeting with a business or group, get to know who they are and what they do so you can build connections. And make sure you come prepared with information, materials, samples, and additional collateral that will help your client come to an informed decision.
- Be patient. One of the key differences between men and women in the selling process is the time it takes to close the deal. It’s common for women to take their time before making a purchasing decision, especially when it’s a big purchase. The secret to selling to women is creating touchpoints throughout the sales process. Follow up on your meeting with emails or phone calls to ensure any additional questions are answered. Make note of things that were most important to her so you can reassure her of those things in your correspondence. Adding in comments about her new grandchild that she beamed about will also help build a deeper connection. And keep her up to date with new deals or products that fit her needs so she knows you’re keeping her top of mind. Timing can be everything, just be patient.
- Listen closely. It takes skill and practice to refine your communication. Listen to what is being said: what are the concerns, challenges, and needs? Take notes and ask questions to probe for more information, which sends the signal that you’re really listening and looking to find a solution. Acknowledge what she is saying by reiterating her needs and concerns so she has confirmation you understand. “It sounds like we want to make sure to spend time on ____________.”
- Don’t break promises. Successful selling doesn’t just mean getting the deal. The process of selling must be seen through to the end. If you’ve promised the completion of a project in a certain amount of time, make it happen. If you promised to adhere to their request, such as no construction work during evening hours, make sure you and your team are aware of that rule and stick to it.
Once you’ve gained her trust, you have a customer for life—and she can be a referral machine! So while the typical female consumer may require more time and effort during the sales process, the rewards are plentiful. It’s smart business!
1Source: Nielsen, U.S. Women Control the Purse Strings, 2013