I’m tired of reading about women customers being different shoppers than men. Everyone seems to have a plan about “how to sell to women;” as if we were some unusual species. Now that we have money, we seem to command more attention.
And by the way, despite the hundreds of articles on “how to sell to women” I find that I regularly am “dismissed” by a salesperson. Is it because I’m female, and they think I’m stupid? No, I just think they’re bad salespeople.
I was looking at a refrigerator today and the only person who was willing to wait on me was another customer! I think everyone was shopping today because the weather was so bad. Most of the stores were understaffed and loaded with customers. We started to talk, he knew more about cubic feet than I did so I let him talk. When I had enough I said “thanks” and continued on my way. Did I think he thought I was stupid because he kept on about how much he knew about refrigerators, no I just think he liked being smart and telling me what he knew.
It’s all about being good at sales. Those who are good at sales realize that building rapport is one of the most important parts of the selling process. Building rapport has to do with eye contact, a smile and a friendly “hello” to take the “customer’s temperature.” Are they friendly, distant, in a hurry or not interested in talking with you? These clues will help you determine your next move.
Does it matter if the customer is a male or female, old or young? Of course it doesn’t but we all have our stereotypes about people. The more experienced and “sane” you are the more you understand that most customer reactions have nothing to do with you. We all live in our own little worlds and bring that world to the sales floor. Sometimes things are good and sometimes they’re not. This has nothing to do with being a male or a female it has to do with life. And by the way, life is never about you, it’s always about the person that you’re dealing with.
If you want to be part of the customer’s conversation you will have to ask questions and not “assume” that you know what the customer is thinking and feeling.
Sales is about communication, good communication and understanding. Most salespeople need communication skills as well as sales training skills. All the sales training in the world won’t help a person who doesn’t understand how people communicate and can’t “read the clues” in front of them.
So women have more money and more buying power. My mom didn’t work for years and still had the buying power in our house. Dad liked to please my mom and make her smile. When it came to what she wanted he stayed out of the way or asked what she thought. My dad was a good salesperson. He knew how my mom shopped, he knew what made her happy and knew how she made decisions. By the way, my mom knew my dad’s little shopping “quirks” also. When she shopped, she stayed out of his way while he ran through the store as if he were on his way to a fire.
Approach the customer as if she/he is a friend in need of something. Make good eye contact; if the customer turns away, you turn away and wait for the next clue. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t like you, unless you’ve already done something offensive, it may mean she’s thinking or hasn’t really noticed you.
We’re really no different; we want to be understood, cared about and made to feel important. Is that different for a male shopper? It’s been said women like to shop more than men; I know plenty of men who love shopping but that doesn’t make them feminine. I have done enough focus groups to know there are plenty of women who don’t like to shop. They go to the store, get what they want and go home. Is this just “backlash” behavior?”
Who would know better what the customer wants then the salesperson? I have found that good salespeople try to understand what the customer wants, help the customer refine it so they can make a decision. This is good salesmanship and good customer service.
Again, it takes good communication skills and a thoughtful approach.
Just like men we’re all different.