Winning The Toughest Customer


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Winning The Toughest Customer

  1. 2. Winning the Toughest Customer AUTHOR: Delia Passi with A.B. Aronson PUBLISHER: Kaplan Publishing DATE OF PUBLICATION: 2006 NUMBER OF PAGES: 155 pages
  2. 3. <ul><li>Many sales professionals find it a daily struggle to understand women customers. The way women interpret behavior, hear unexpected meanings, take in “peripheral” information, and view the overall sales process is very different from how men do so. Needless to say, selling to women is very tough and can often make or break one’s sales career. </li></ul><ul><li>As a result, women’s wants, expectations, and needs are far too often misunderstood and/or are not met at the sales professional’s peril. The female market is the largest consumer market out there, and sales professionals can afford neither to ignore nor belittle it. </li></ul>The Big Idea
  3. 4. Why You Need This Book <ul><li>Winning the Toughest Customer reveals how sales professionals can maneuver this complex, complicated market segment by providing the tools to customize selling to women – and then to anybody else. Professionals will learn how to meet female customers’ expectations and benefit from women’s loyalty and viral marketing potential. </li></ul><ul><li>This book teaches its readers about gender differences and strategies, effective communication techniques, relationship building, strategic positioning, maneuvering the road to close and the added value of brand-loyal women. </li></ul>
  4. 5. The New Playing Field: Today’s Women’s Market <ul><li>Selling is a communication process. Communication means the transmission of ideas or information. With women, though, the communication process becomes quite a bit more complex than just making a pitch or gathering information. </li></ul><ul><li>Among other things, women need more input, take longer to decide, require more follow-up, and expect more attentive service than men. </li></ul><ul><li>So why bother selling to women then? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Successful selling to women customers will pay you back in multiples . Sell well to one woman and she’ll reward you with her business, her loyalty (more business) and probably a large number of referrals. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Since women are so hard to sell to successfully, once you can effectively sell, market to and retain women, you can sell anything better to anyone. Learning to do so is a real route to customization – you’ll have captured the mindset and tools to begin working with all sorts of markets. However, any and all customers would appreciate personalized treatment. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 6. The New Playing Field: Today’s Women’s Market <ul><ul><li>Women are the prime consumers – they buy most of everything sold. The women’s market has expanded in every direction, and is on track to keep on expanding. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Women are also increasingly more educated, informed and empowered than ever. They have made huge strides in universities and industries, and are more successful than ever before. Today women control trillions of dollars and have the discretionary and disposable income to buy much more of what they want. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It’s important to note that when selling to women, you can’t just “add pink and stir.” You have to adapt your marketing, selling and negotiating skills to suit differing values, priorities and preferences! </li></ul>
  6. 7. Getting It, Part I: Understanding Gender Talk <ul><li>Talk is definitely not cheap. Men and women do it differently, expect different things from it, and even hear different things in it. Women tend to multitask in their thinking, and it comes out in their talk. Men, on the other hand, tend to be more focused and like to stay on track. </li></ul><ul><li>While some experts say that men and women are so different in conversation that the differences could be biological, the different styles men and women use are also social adaptations because over millennia, men and women have had differing roles to play in the world. </li></ul><ul><li>Women like to use more words than men do. They like telling stories, leaving longer messages, and explaining things in greater detail. Men can come across as being too aggressive, pushy, impatient and overbearing to women; and women as too emotional, too tentative, and too uncertain to men. </li></ul>
  7. 8. Getting It, Part I: Understanding Gender Talk <ul><li>Men talk to make a point, to solve problems themselves, to compete and to achieve; take-charge, decision-making talk. Women, on the other hand, talk to collaborate, to get others’ inputs when solving problems, to connect, to share; it’s about feelings, context, needs; it’s more personal, less decisive and uses more nonverbal cues. These characteristics are changing now that the “traditional” boundaries that separate the sexes are becoming blurred - more and more women are becoming more decisive, and more men are becoming more participative. </li></ul><ul><li>To learn to talk to a woman, men need to learn to code switch . This means changing your speech style to suit the customer you’re talking to. </li></ul><ul><li>To communicate with women effectively: </li></ul><ul><li>Use adjectives in your talk to build rapport. </li></ul><ul><li>Be patient, because women are more expansive and less direct than men. </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborate – involve more people in decision-making. Use ‘him’ and ‘her’ alternatively; cite inputs from others; share references of friends or family members or other women. </li></ul>
  8. 9. Getting It, Part I: Understanding Gender Talk <ul><li>Don’t fix a problem, express a feeling. Don’t be overbearing and try to instantly fix and solve things. </li></ul><ul><li>Use emotion words like ‘devoted’, ‘committed’, ‘pleased’, and ‘delighted’. (Just don’t overdo it or you’ll come across as being phony.) </li></ul><ul><li>Use formality. Many women take pains to appear formal and proper. Avoid slang and scale back the jargon; use polite phrasing and respectful attention. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t treat a woman customer like you’d treat a man; she won’t feel respected. Think parity – give her sufficient attention and opportunity in conversation, which is more than what a male customer needs. Talk to her more (20% more), give her more eye contact. </li></ul>
  9. 10. Getting It, Part II: Listening Techniques That Get Through <ul><li>A woman’s way of communicating is definitely different from a man’s. Men need to understand women’s styles and make informed adjustments to their moves. Key to this is to stay calm and let women buyers lead the conversation. Learn to listen to them. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think feelings. If she tells you a product made her feel good, go with that. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think relationships. Relate your product and service to people in her life and their experiences. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think context. Many women carry double loads on their backs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>– they have to work their way up in the world while still </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>dealing with the needs of their families. Sell to what </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>she needs to make her life better; sell to be a positive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>part of it. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Show her you’re listening and are on ‘her team’ – use responsive listening techniques: </li></ul><ul><li>-- Use simple, supportive gestures like smiling or nodding every once in a while. </li></ul>
  10. 11. Getting It, Part II: Listening Techniques That Get Through <ul><li>-- Use reassuring phrases such as “If I understand you correctly”, “That’s interesting, please tell me more”, “I see”, and “Please go on”. </li></ul><ul><li>-- Use even simple acknowledgments such as “OK”. </li></ul><ul><li>-- Paraphrase, this keeps you on your toes so that your attention’s stuck on her, plus it will reassure her. </li></ul><ul><li>-- Try the ‘echo technique’. Repeat the last few words of whatever she tells you. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid talking down to her by: </li></ul><ul><li>-- Letting her lead the conversation. </li></ul><ul><li>-- Choosing to explore, not to explain. </li></ul><ul><li>-- Practice not saying anything that sounds like you’ve got a solution. </li></ul><ul><li>-- Tell her if you don’t understand what she’s saying. Ask her to clarify. </li></ul><ul><li>-- Allow her to ask any and all questions. </li></ul><ul><li>-- Accept her tendency to include feelings in her thinking. </li></ul><ul><li>-- If you want to suggest a different approach, rephrase her point before voicing yours. </li></ul>
  11. 12. Taking The Field: Ten Steps To Building The Relationship <ul><li>Top of the list of what motivates women to buy is the relationship with the salesperson. This is the point of connection that drives the sale. </li></ul><ul><li>Here’s a simple ten-point program to connect with women consumers: </li></ul><ul><li>Welcome them with handshakes and smiles. Fit hands properly; don’t just shake fingertips. Hold hands firmly, but not too tight. Shake earnestly and confidently, but moderately – not too hard. </li></ul><ul><li>Give her your card. If she’s with a partner, give them both cards. Use her name throughout the conversation, but be careful not to overdo it. </li></ul><ul><li>Create the right environment. Have a space that’s neat, clean and organized. Sweat the details – women notice everything. </li></ul><ul><li>Make eye contact. Women value this as a sign of respect and connection. </li></ul>
  12. 13. Taking The Field: Ten Steps To Building The Relationship <ul><li>Let her take the lead. Let her talk about 75% of the time at the start. Let her define the problem; give her what she wants rather than trying to convince her otherwise. </li></ul><ul><li>Listen attentively. Women appreciate people who take the time to let them talk until they feel they’ve gotten their point across. </li></ul><ul><li>Listen attentively some more! </li></ul><ul><li>Ask the right questions. You want to ask open-ended questions that create a dialogue. Questions that start with the proverbial who, what, when, where, and why. </li></ul><ul><li>Empower her. Women feel comfortable in making purchasing decisions when they feel empowered by salespeople to decide well. Be prepared with plenty of information, both written and oral. Show her how the product or service can help her. </li></ul><ul><li>Go for her comfort zone. A woman’s trust and respect will go a long way towards helping her reach that comfort zone where she’ll buy from you. You could offer her referrals to your other successful female clients </li></ul>
  13. 14. Get On Her Team: Positioning That Works <ul><li>The old saying that “Perception is everything” was probably written by a woman, as women tend to notice more details about their surroundings and draw important information from these observations. Men keep surroundings on the sidelines. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s all about making women comfortable with working with you. Meet them in their comfort zones and this will go a long way toward build a relationship that lasts. </li></ul><ul><li>Women see the setting as integral, not peripheral, and are always adding information. The setting for your sales pitches needs to show her that you are smart, knowledgeable, helpful, considerate, understanding, reliable and trustworthy. </li></ul><ul><li>Neatness counts . Neatness suggests competency. Sloppy surroundings send the message that you are not on top of your job. A neat workplace says that you are smart and reliable – precisely where you want her to be. </li></ul><ul><li>Your office, showroom or workspace needs to be clean, safe, well-marked and easy to get to. The waiting area needs to be warm and welcoming and so do the people that welcome her there. </li></ul>
  14. 15. Get On Her Team: Positioning That Works <ul><li>As for a meeting space, a round table with chairs suggests equality and unity – positioned for participation and thus promoting a sense of collaboration. It is also alright to use a sofa and a chair provided she sits on the sofa and you on the chair (not too close for comfort though). </li></ul><ul><li>Your desk should be ready and waiting to focus on her – not in disarray, piled high with distractions and baggage. Have pens and paper for her as well. </li></ul><ul><li>You yourself don’t have to look fancy, but you should look professional and put together. You want to look like someone she wants to talk to and work with. Whatever you wear, wear it well. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure the rooms have some touches to bring them together – a plant, a vase. </li></ul><ul><li>Make certain the bathrooms are very clean and odor-free! </li></ul>
  15. 16. Rethinking Victory: How You Close A Woman <ul><li>In the end it really is all about the buy. Everyone in the business is looking for the right formula to close the sale. Women customers can be particularly frustrating in this regard, as has already been discussed. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t use high-pressure tactics to close women. These work with men, but they may even drive women away as they are particularly sensitive to feeling pushed or threatened, most especially by men. Low-pressure sales approaches would work better. </li></ul><ul><li>Women are always very concerned with value as opposed to simple price incentives . Value must be linked to her needs and wants, not yours or anybody else’s. You have to show her how much the product or service offers for her own specific needs. </li></ul><ul><li>The bottom line is that you don’t close to a woman – you come to an agreement with her. Selling for women is a relationship, not a competition or a game. </li></ul>
  16. 17. <ul><li>When a woman says “I need to think about it”, here are some tactics to try. </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize points of agreement. Lock in points you know are winners with her; remind her how much she’s liked what you’ve already had to say. </li></ul><ul><li>Accept responsibility. Clients and customers have every right to object. It’s crucial to recognize that right. Resist the impulse to correct or fix her. Don’t challenge the objection; accept responsibility for it and ask for her help in getting back on track. </li></ul><ul><li>Reframe the value – in her terms. You’ll need to communicate value points – things that are important such as quality, security and prestige – to close with women instead of just specific purchasing criteria. Women are concerned with benefits, contexts and relationships. Make the buy seem worth more to her by giving it greater value on her terms. </li></ul><ul><li>Share relationships. Bring your other relationships with female customers to bear. Show her your successes and this will tell her that you are worth working with. </li></ul><ul><li>A dose of urgency – in the context of consideration. Communicate how urgent it is to close, but keep her needs and interests front and center. Make her see that closing now is what is best for her. </li></ul>Rethinking Victory: How You Close A Woman
  17. 18. Winning For Keeps: The Added Value Of Brand-Loyal Women <ul><li>You could stop after a successful sale, but you’d be cheating yourself out of even better days ahead if you do. A satisfied female customer is very likely to come back with repeat business. Women are, after all, twice as likely as male customers to make referrals. So you’ll need to continue the relationship beyond the close. </li></ul><ul><li>To do this: </li></ul><ul><li>Send a thank-you note. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, a simple sentence of two will do. </li></ul><ul><li>Personally contact her to see if she’s happy with the product or service. Just to let you know you care how she’s doing after the sale, and pledge to help and follow through if she has problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Be a strategic partner. Send along to her any articles, report or pieces of information that might be of interest or help to her. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember her anniversary. Send her relevant greetings for big occasions, such as a card or email on the anniversary of your business relationship. </li></ul>
  18. 19. Winning For Keeps: The Added Value Of Brand-Loyal Women <ul><li>Go the extra mile. Send her referrals for related products or services that might be valuable to her. </li></ul><ul><li>See her again. Schedule a follow-up meeting when you have new products or services. Link these to the needs or issues or ideas she previously shared with you to make this new sale attempt a continuation of your business relationship. </li></ul>
  19. 20. Putting It Into Play: Notes Before You Go <ul><li>To recap and end, here’s a quick list of each stage of the sales process, along with a checklist of things to remember per stage. </li></ul><ul><li>1. The initial encounter. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a) Your goal is to start off winning, to make her comfortable and establish rapport. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>b) You need to: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make a good first impression </li></ul><ul><li>Be on time </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain eye contact </li></ul><ul><li>Offer your card </li></ul><ul><li>Remember to smile </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of your environment </li></ul><ul><li>Use ice breakers </li></ul><ul><li>2. Gather information. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a) Your goal is to capture the information necessary to position your product in her terms. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 21. Putting It Into Play: Notes Before You Go <ul><ul><li>b) You need to: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Remember the listening rules </li></ul><ul><li>Take notes </li></ul><ul><li>Identify needs, issues, preferences, and categories of interest </li></ul><ul><li>Give her your full attention </li></ul><ul><li>3. Seek to understand. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a) Your goal is to demonstrate to her that she was heard and understood. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>b) You need to: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Translate back findings </li></ul><ul><li>Clarify needs assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Review key preferences </li></ul><ul><li>Reaffirm your eagerness to meet her needs </li></ul><ul><li>Offer to give more information if needed </li></ul>
  21. 22. Putting It Into Play: Notes Before You Go <ul><li>4. Share your knowledge. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a) Your goal is to empower her with insight and information. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>b) You need to: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Get her buy-in throughout the presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Give her materials to further her knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>5. Fill the need. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a) Your goal is to position your product or service as a solution to her need. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>b) You need to: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Connect benefits to needs </li></ul><ul><li>Provide value that exceeds cost </li></ul><ul><li>Be the solution </li></ul>
  22. 23. Putting It Into Play: Notes Before You Go <ul><li>6. Come to an agreement. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a) Your goal is to make her feel good about this commitment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>b) You need to: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reassure and reinforce benefits as solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforce that your relationship will not end with the sale </li></ul><ul><li>Use referrals to close confidence holds </li></ul><ul><li>Ask permission to move forward </li></ul><ul><li>7. Establish a commitment. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a) Your goal is to get her to trust the relationship. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>b) You need to: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Take your commitments to heart </li></ul><ul><li>Follow through on all commitments </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain and build the relationship </li></ul>
  23. 24. is a business book Summaries service. Every week, it sends out to subscribers a 9- to 12-page summary of a best-selling business book chosen from among the hundreds of books printed out in the United States. For more information, please go to ABOUT BUSINESSSUMMARIES