Blogger keeps 2009 New Year’s Resolution (So can you)

January 5th, 2010 No comments »
Jason Long, a blogger from Auburn, Calif., has been writing a short story of 11 to 88 words for each day of 2009. (THE SACRAMENTO BEE)

Jason Long, a blogger from Auburn, Calif., has been writing a short story of 11 to 88 words for each day of 2009. (THE SACRAMENTO BEE)

Five days into 2010 and many of us are already stumbling on our New Year’s resolutions.  You are in good company if  you didn’t make it to the gym today, finished off the holiday cookies, had one too many glasses of wine or used your favorite four letter word in today’s business meeting.
The key is to not give up.  Jason Sinclair Long, who delivered on his promise that he would write a short story (11-88 words determined each day by a role of the dice) on his blog every day in 2009 said, “I’m not always able  to do it. That’s the thing about doing it every day. You miss, miss, miss, miss and then you hit. Then you miss again.”
Check out Jason’s blog for inspiration and great reading.
Here’s a link to the Tennessean article where I learned about Jason.

Turn female customers into your sales force

January 1st, 2010 No comments »


Women love to introduce their friends to new products and services they love.

When Erin Nichols wanted to get back in shape after having baby she worked with Garret Garrels, a personal trainer in Montana. She had so much fun learning boxing from Garrels, she asked a friend to join her. And that friend asked a friend and so a business was launched…Pink Gloves Boxing . Garrels and his partner, Nick Milodragovich, are now franchising the Pink Gloves concept to personal trainers around the world.

Read or listen to more on this NPR link.

Now what do women love about your brand and how can you engage them to introduce their friends?

Photo Courtesy of Jacquie Peterson

Women trust their connections

October 6th, 2009 No comments »
Women trust a friend of a friend

Women trust a friend of a friend

Where men tend to trust strangers in their club, company or team, women trust strangers who share a personal connection—a friend of a friend, or a friend of a family member. The female OSU students in Professor Brewer’s study predominantly chose to receive the money from a stranger from another university where they had a friend. 

When making your initial prospecting call to a woman, it will mean more if you have a common friend or acquaintance than if you are both members of an organization.  “Our mutual friend, Nancy, said that we must meet,” will go a lot further than, “I understand that we are both members of the local Chamber of Commerce,” in gaining your female prospect’s trust.

Men trust their institutions and teams

September 27th, 2009 No comments »

OSUOne of the most difficult challenges salespeople face is to engage a prospect’s initial interest—at least enough to obtain an introductory appointment.  In most cases you start as a stranger.  In many instances your customer is completely unfamiliar with your company and product.  So how do you break the ice? How do you gain the trust necessary to have an initial conversation about your offering?

The answer lies in belonging to your customer’s in-group.

According to Marilyn Brewer, a psychology professor at the Ohio State University, most Americans trust strangers if they belong to what they consider their “in-group.”[i] But Professor Brewer’s study found that men and women define their in-groups differently.

Men were much more likely to trust a stranger that was a fellow Ohio State student than a stranger from other schools, even those at which they knew someone. Men tend to trust people that share an objective group membership.  The male participants were quoted as saying things like, “Someone from Ohio State would not let me down.”

Men value their group or team. “You see this in male-dominated groups like the military or football teams—there’s a clear distinction between “us” and “them.” Brewer says.[ii]

Advertisers and salespeople can gain initial credibility with a male prospect by belonging to his group. If you are an alumni of the same college, member of the same church, community group, rotary club or association use this membership to fuel your initial introduction. If you are not a member in his club, find someone in your company that is or consider joining your prospect’s group.


[i] “Whom do you trust?” Ohio State Alumni Magazine. Nov-Dec. 2005, p. 30.

[ii] Idem.

Women hate put downs…instead pull everyone up

September 12th, 2009 No comments »
The Dove Campaing for Real Beauty

The Dove Campaing for Real Beauty

Men bond by bantering, teasing and using derogatory nicknames. Women don’t and never will.

While a man will joke with his male friend about the tire that has appeared around his friend’s waist, can you imagine a woman greeting a girlfriend with, “Wow, you’ve really been enjoying those cookouts this summer?”

A woman’s life is much easier when there are no scraped elbows orbruised egos. We want everybody to feel good about themselves.  The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is an excellent example of advertising that works with women.

This seems to be the unwritten rule for Y: Men who know each other well and respect each other immensely, banter in order to bond.

But no matter how well a salesman knows and respects a female client or prospect, calling her a cutesy name (e.g., “Blondie”) will usually backfire. Similarly, this is part of the guy’s club that the gals should not try to join. A woman that attempts to bond by one-upping a man or giving him an endearing-derogatory name will break unspoken rules and lose his respect instead of gaining trust.

Manter v. 1. men bantering

September 7th, 2009 No comments »
Beer ads feature male bantering

Beer ads feature male bantering

Men  bond by bantering, teasing and using derogatory nicknames. Last year my husband ,Phil and I invited a few friends over to watch the Fiesta Bowl.  As Claude came in the door, he gave a friendly punch to Phil’s gut and said, “Hey, looks like you have been enjoying those Heinekens over the holidays.”

“Yea, old man, let’s go out and shoot some hoops,” Phil replied. “I still can outplay you.”

Men love a good fast game.  While basketball, racquetball and soccer can provide an intense physical workout, bantering provides great mind exercise.

Ads that show men one-upping each other sell beer, deodorant and shaving cream.  This seems to be the unwritten rule for Y: Men who know each other well and respect each other immensely, banter in order to bond. I know two very successful CEOs who refer to each other as Lugnut and Chiselchest.

Getting Beyond the Maybes

August 30th, 2009 No comments »
Maybe...What's it mean to X & Y?

Maybe...What's it mean to X & Y?

The way a woman communicates can confuse a man. She nods even when she might not agree; she asks a question when she knows the answer; and she interrupts to tell you her own confirming story. But when she says, “I’ll think about it,” guess what? She is really going to think about it. Contrast this to your male prospect who is more likely to offer “maybe” as his version of a polite no.

In a selling scenario with a woman who has said she’ll think about it, ask if there is any other information you can provide, and when you can follow up with her.  Then, provide information that will help her decision-making process and, while she is taking the time to decide, send her a nice note or a reference of someone that reminded you of her.  Use the “maybe” season to strengthen your relationship with her.

When a male customer says he wants to think about your service, you need to qualify his statement as an objection.  Your job then is to find the true objection and overcome it to keep the prospect engaged. You may even want to simply tell him it’s okay to be forthright with you (remember, a comfortable level of communication is foundational to your success). Clearing the air of diplomacy will not only allow him to relax, it will allow you to get straight to the bottom of his hang up where you can accurately address it.

So you think she agrees with you? Think again!

August 26th, 2009 No comments »
Nodding does not mean she agrees

Nodding does not mean she agrees

Observe a group of women talking. They look like the most agreeable group of humans ever. Each nodding her head in agreement as the others expound. Oh, so you think. When a woman nods it does not mean that she agrees.  It means that she acknowledges your point and that you should continue expressing your thoughts. She is giving you the permission to keep talking.

What happens when the nodding stops? You have gone thirty seconds over your allotted time and you are now rude.  Here’s the way you can recover. For men this may be the most important advice in my entire book—making you more successful in sales and marketing … and relationships.  As soon as you realize the nodding has stopped in your female prospect, say, “Enough about my thoughts, I want to hear how you feel about this.” Then hush up and listen to what she reveals.

Incessant nodding is not a female conspiracy to give men mixed messages.  Complex communication is what sets humans apart from all other species. And it has always been a woman’s job to teach children to speak.  But listen to a child learning to express herself.  One thought can take minutes to complete. A mother constantly encourages her child to talk—patiently nodding whether or not the child makes any sense at all. Women are hardwired to encourage others to continue to communicate by nodding.

To my female readers, take note.  If you are a nodder, and most women are, don’t nod with your male prospects and clients unless you are agreeing. You do not want to be misconstrued as supportive and then verbally disagree. This is the essence of a mixed message. A woman nonverbally nods and then verbally disapproves, and the man either thinks she has trouble making decisions or worse that she is setting him up and cannot be trusted.

And men, you must remember that just because a women is nodding doesn’t mean that she is ready to ink the deal. Old school sales training has taught us to move in fast when customers indicate they are ready to close the deal. Men, instead of moving in for the kill when you get the nod, ask, “Can you see how implementing our solution will provide your department with the efficiencies that you need to meet your strategic objectives?” The question (or another one like it) requires verbal clarification of her thoughts. Half the time, what she tells you won’t line up with the equation: nod=yes.

A Simple Question Can Kill the Sale

August 22nd, 2009 No comments »

Women ask questions to bond

Women ask questions to bond

A woman will ask questions for advice, to make a connection and to strengthen another person’s commitment to an idea.  Many times she already has a firm opinion but is gaining input to build consensus. Contrast that with a man who asks questions for one primary reason—to get an answer. Expect more questions from a woman in the sales and marketing process. She likes to seek out the help of trusted experts. Men, understand that just because she wants your opinion, it’s not an indication she is without one of her own.

Sales opportunity #1: Make women’s lives easier

August 13th, 2009 No comments »
Does this look like fun?
Does this look like fun?

Women spend over 70 percent of consumer dollars worldwide but only 5% of women actually like to shop, according to the largest global survey of women released today in Harvard Business Review.

The survey clearly shows women are the chief buying officers for their homes and businesses. In a rebounding economy it’s a huge opportunity for your business to increase market share by making shopping and purchasing a better experience for women.  Clearly you need to better understand how 70% of your buyers think. Women across the world overwhelmingly described themselves as over-extended, over-worked and overstressed. How can your product or service make her life just a little bit easier? That is your value proposition. Remember:

 Maximize her time – Never make a women wait with nothing to do. A woman feels efficient if she is multitasking and can simultaneously cross off many things on her “to do” list in one stop. Install Wifi, provide other products or services that she already needs, or provide compelling information that she needs to take care of her business, family or home while she waits.

Minimize her hassles-  Women are less interested in the details of how your electronic gadget works–she wants assurance that it will work when she needs it.  Provide easy installation… she doesn’t have a whole afternoon to set up the TV, DVD, home stereo system. Then guarantee that you’ll fix it when it breaks.