If you are a sales leader, responsible for fund development or revenue generation—and want to meet your sales goals—is it really that important that you know how to sell to women? Absolutely!
Think about these facts on the relationship between females and money: 1) Females purchase about 80 percent of all consumer goods in the United States; 2) Forty-one percent of employees authorized to make business buying decisions today are female; 3) Women control approximately $15 trillion of America’s private wealth.
In addition to these powerful statistics, according to the Bureau of Labor, 30 percent of women out-earn their spouses, and 30 percent of today’s working women are single.
Don’t assume we’re not the decision maker, and don’t generalize based on old stereotypes. Most women can tell you at least one horror story (from their personal or professional experience) of entering a business, especially one typically characterized as a male-oriented environment (i.e., car dealer, hardware store, etc.) when an assumption is made that she’s the wife of the real decision maker. Same goes for a business meeting where a woman might be mistaken as someone’s assistant. Another fatal assumption? Assuming the woman cannot afford what she came in to buy.
Professional women are time driven and value driven just as much as we are dollar driven. We prefer to “do our homework” prior to making a buying decision. If you make that process accessible to us and efficient, we place great value on the experience. As a result, many of us will go out of our way to work with you, even if it means paying a bit more. Plus, we stay loyal, and refer lots of business.
It pays to train your sales and service providers to understand that men and women make buying decisions differently. While men are wired to solve problems quickly, women are wired to look at the big picture and analyze before making decisions. We want to be listened to and have our needs understood, and only then do we move to “the close,” regardless of whether it’s a purchasing decision for the company or buying a beautiful pair of shoes.
Build trust first—and then offer solutions. While we should transact business with each and every customer using this foundation, women deeply value trust. We’ll walk away from a situation quickly if we feel the slightest bit of manipulation versus respect. Instead of telling a woman what she needs, build trust by asking the right questions and providing the best solutions.