Now, if there weren't some basic differences in communication styles between men and women, John Gray wouldn't have sold millions of copies of his book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. The communication styles that make a difference in personal relationships also show up in sales relationships.
Women are likely to interpret specifics and technical jargon to be high-pressure selling and quite overbearing. Keep these practices in mind for finding out their needs and gaining their trust on sales calls:
- Don’t rush. As a rule, women want to hear the details, but don’t want to be overwhelmed. Even if they don’t know squat about HVAC systems, your job is to help them learn enough to make an informed decision. Remember, you help the customer in order to help yourself make the sale.
- Improve your listening skills. Women will explain their problems and needs to you. Listen actively, adding comments like “I see” and “okay.” Repeat what you have been told in order to clarify your understanding.
- Ask more questions while saying less. This will guide your female prospect through the HVAC jargon. She will feel more comfortable and will give you her trust if she knows that you are trying to help her. Let her do the explaining, but make sure you ask the right questions.
"He talked down to me."
"He treated me like I was stupid."
"He interrupted me." "He just didn't listen."
Those are just a few things they may say about you when you’ve “called” on them. I put the “called” in quotation marks because, when you get comments like that, you should have not shown up. Your attitude toward your customer was wrong.
"I know what she needs. She just doesn't understand."
You should never think this to yourself. Be patient and wait for her to explain. You won't know anything about your customer unless you listen to her. It's important that you stay tuned in. Make confirming statements and questions regarding the specific things she is saying at the moment. While it reassures her that you are listening, it also helps you to stay focused on her needs.
Women tend to be communicators. If you communicate with them successfully, they will communicate with their friends about you. Women are likely to give referrals and be loyal customers. Treat them well, and they will remember you.
Women, more often than men, make decisions based on the other people in the house or on their friends' and colleagues' advice. They are also more likely to go through the decision process out loud. Participate in this process, make comments, and ask questions.
Never ask a woman if she is the head of the household. This is the same as asking, "Do you have the authority to make this decision?" And that's a surefire way to offend. Whether the woman is married or single, you have just challenged her right to purchase your product or service – and that’s a no-no.
According to the earlier statistic that 87% of all purchases are made or influenced by women, it is most likely that she is the “head of purchasing” in the household. I believe that makes her exactly the right person to talk to!
The female market is very powerful. Understanding how to sell to women, communicate with them, and give them the service they deserve can boost your sales beyond measure.
Final Tips to Increase Your Sales to Women
Free Stuff and Specials. Women like bargains. They're the coupon clippers, special watchers, discount queens of shopping. They make men understandably look like amateurs. Sure, we may have some mechanical knowledge or think that logic is all-powerful in negotiating, but face it: Women trounce us in all things relating to the shopping game. Give things away; have a special; offer a discounted accessory item. Make it a bargain to shop with you.
Trust. Without it, you may as well just leave them your competitor's business card when you go. Women sense insincerity, slickness, and self-serving or egotistical attitudes which causes them to clamp shut the family finances in the presence thereof. Make a note: Get real or get lost.
Convenience. She's busy. Carpool, groceries, cooking, cleaning, kids, parents, husbands, friends, socials, job, and volunteer work -- you think she wouldn't mind knowing how your new system will save her time? Such as, "This programmable thermostat is set just once -- for winter and summer -- plus, it's got this vacation feature that. These statements hit home.
Stay in touch. Women are note-senders, callers, and communicators of the highest order. Men grunt and eat potato chips. (Okay, that's what my wife says anyway.) Your follow-up call, follow-up visit and ongoing newsletter will be incredibly well-received -- and probably repeated to others in her circle of friends. Stay in touch or drop off their radar.
Clean. They want it to be clean, stay clean, and preferably not have to do it themselves. You want to be labeled as a total mannerless goofball? Then track some dirt in the house when you come and run over a plant when you leave. You're done, and you don't need to come back. Ever. Use drop cloths, apologize for fingerprints and remove them, use shoe covers, give a clean install guarantee or reiterate how your crew is trained on leaving a place cleaner than they found it. Big points scored here. Having something clean and convenient also opens the door for your maintenance agreement.
In the next edition, Hudson begins the next chapter of his book where he addresses methodology for overcoming objections.
Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a creative marketing firm for contractors. Readers can get a free marketing newsletter and a free 16-page report called “Get More Leads in Less Time” by faxing their letterhead with the request to 334-262-1115 or emailing to [email protected]. You can also call Hudson, Ink at 1-800-489-9099 for help or visit www.hudsonink.com for other free marketing articles and reports.