How To Sell to Women

As businesspeople, we spend so much time hyping up the details of a product when in the end, women don’t really buy products — they buy the outcome.  They're thinking "this is where I'll put it," "this is how I'll use it," "this is what it will look like" and "this is how it will feel."  In other words, women buy the "look” of a completed interior.

It’s sort of like this: Send a man out for a pair of pants and what does he come back with? A pair of pants.

Send that same man out with a woman to buy that same pair of pants and he’s lucky if he comes back with his wallet. Hey, it’s the beauty of it – a woman wants her man to look great for her so she's going to get him the whole outfit: shoes, shirt, tie, cologne—the works. Why? Because that's just how we do it.

Salespeople tell me they don’t understand why women take so much time, why they can’t make up their minds and when they do, why they suddenly change their minds.

What’s there to get? Women buy differently than men, period. If you’re waiting on a man, he buys differently than a women. Younger customers have different needs than older customers. Is this any different? It's important to understand that if you want to sell to women you need to be more like a woman than a man. Yep, that’s it in a nutshell. Some tips for you:

  • Don’t ask a women what she’s looking for. Why? Because what they’re looking for is in your showroom and may not yet be determined. Men know what they want, come for it and go home. Women use the showroom to determine what’s available and how to create “the look.” If you want to get her in your corner, have a great looking showroom and plenty of photos and magazines with “the looks.” Here's a great story from the owner of a flooring store in Florida. Tony tells me about the male customer who came in and said, "I need a floor for my bathroom." Since Tony is used to female customers, he says "let me come out and look at your bathroom." The customer reluctantly agrees and Tony heads out armed with samples, photos, paint swatches and the like. Tony starts in with his ideas for the bathroom, the customer’s eyes gloss over and never calls Tony again. Yep, as Tony says, "I forgot the customer just came in for a pair of pants!" You’ve probably read "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus". Also try "Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps: How We’re Different and What To Do About It," by Barbara and Allan Pease.
  • Ask questions. "Have you seen what’s new?" "Let me show you what’s in." "What look are you trying to achieve in your house?" "Do you have any photos of the room?" Did you bring any fabrics or wallpaper samples with you?" "Do you have a digital photo of the room(s) that I can download?" "By the way, great earrings!"  Sure you can say it. Why not if they’re great? This sort of alludes to the fact that you have good taste. 
  • Start with fashion, not price. Sure price is important to everyone, but if you don’t show fashion, how will the customer know she’s in the right store? Not all women want to be “trend setters” but no one wants to be “out of date.” Women know all about fashion. We’ve been breathing fashion since before we could read. That’s why there are literally hundreds of books on fashion for us and about three for men. I believe that Men’s Vogue is really written for women too. High fashion usually means higher prices. Be more frightened that you don’t have fasionable items rather than price items. Leave the price stuff to the box stores. Show your style and good taste; that’s what she wants from you.
  • Give her space and let her lead you to what she wants. Your job is to provide the right questions to keep her focused on the decision-making process – not to tell her what she wants. She’ll tell you when she’s ready.

That’ll get you started.

2 thoughts on “How To Sell to Women”

  1. Hi Christine, glad you like it–the only customers left in the marketplace are the wealthy ones. They want to see what’s new, exciting and fashionable.
    Thanks for taking the time to leave a post.

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