Archive for August, 2009

Getting Beyond the Maybes

August 30th, 2009
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
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

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
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.

Women:Stop interrupting, start selling

August 11th, 2009

Workgroup meeting Men view communication as a way to solve a problem and interrupt only to introduce new information, change topics or disagree—all forms of aggression.  Women talk to form bonds and gain consensus; they interrupt to support, agree or even clarify—all ways to show empathy.  

Women can increase sales results by resisting the urge to show support by interrupting when listening to a man.  It will only backfire, as he will interpret your interruption as rude, at best, and aggressive at worst.

Women warm to words, men to pictures

August 9th, 2009
She warms to words

She warms to words

He prefers pictures

He prefers pictures

The $1.2 billion romance fiction industry accounts for 55% of all popular mass market fiction sold each year.  And who’s reading romance novels? Women.

These stories of love are filled with lust, danger, mystery and violence.  Paranormal erotica that feature brooding vampires who impale the heroine and suck her blood are the fastest growing romance genre. 

Surprised? Society is quick to judge the $1 billion dollar men’s magazines as immoral if not downright perverted. Maxim and Playboy are to men what romance novels are to women.  Men and women have deep primitive brain desires for sexual stimulation. Women with their innate preferences for words and emotions turn to stimulating words to rouse desire. Men, who are hard-wired to be visually stimulated, prefer pictures. 

I am not advocating using vampires or romantic stories in your advertising to stir female consumers, or pictures of scantily clad women to make men buy your product, although sometimes this will work!  You see it all the time in beer advertising.

The point is that women write and read most romance fiction, romantica and erotica. But a magazine featuring nude men has never been a hit with women.   If you want to capture women’s attention and stir their emotions use their preferred emotional stimulus—words and stories. With men, paint a vivid picture.

He says, she says – it’s a whole different language

August 5th, 2009
He speaks, she speaks and speaks and speaks

He speaks, she speaks and speaks and speaks

On average a woman will speak 20,000 words per day, while a man delivers 7,000.

Why are women born communicators? While men have more than one specific brain area for spatial activities, women have at least two specific areas for speech and language on each side of their brains.  This explains why eight women can have simultaneous discussions on four entirely different subjects with each woman involved in two or more of these conversations.  Men, who do not have multiple areas for speech and language, interpret simultaneous conversations as senseless chatter.

Tip #1: With her, let the conversation wonder; With him keep on point

Your female client will consider the business dinner conversation stimulating if it moves from her vacation at the beach last week to her daughter’s choice of college to her department’s monthly financials to her son’s upcoming wedding which brings the conversation back to her beach vacation. Your male client most likely finds this conversation confusing, as these topics are not related in his mind and certainly have nothing to do with the business at hand.

All salespeople must build relationships and trust with their prospects to become a trusted advisor not merely a vendor.  The first step in becoming a trusted advisor is your client’s comfort in communicating with you.  Your job is to create that security by adapting to their style of communication. With her move easily through various topics noting how they relate to her. For him, stay on task and on course, finishing one topic before transitioning to the next issue.