Prejudge and You Could Lose the Sale

August 6, 2007
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Times have certainly changed and appearances can definitely be deceiving. Today’s fortysomething woman may be an empty nester or the mother of teenagers.

Then again, those two little toddlers running around her may be her children, not her grandchildren. She may not look like it to you, but that woman in the shorts and tank top may be an attorney, a mortgage banker, an architect, or an engineer. She may be managing multiplied millions for the firm she works for - or the firm she owns.

Telecommuting affords many women the ability to work from home and be with their children. And, that’s exactly what many women do. She is your potential client and she can be very good for your business.

How comfortable and confident are you to interact with her?



THEY ARE SKILLED, COMPETENT

Let’s take a quick mental quiz. What is your current picture of women ages 50-70 these days? If you see them as seniors creeping into their sunset years - quick, splash some cold water in your face and wake up.

These women aren’t pondering retiring. They are rapidly reinventing themselves. And, I’m not just talking about plastic surgery. Many are expanding businesses and creating new businesses. You can be sure they are not standing still. They are educated, active, and energetic.

More to the point, they can have a major multiplier effect on your business that you may have overlooked. Many of them are managing or significantly influencing major buying decisions in their parent’s homes, as well as their own homes. And that, too, is very good for business.

These women are skilled and competent researchers, excellent in evaluating and assessing products, services, and people with whom they choose to do business. Yes sir, they are today’s big-time decision-making women and they are your potential clients. Good news, indeed.



STARTING SPARKS

These capable women do not think or make buying decisions in the same manner that a 1950s woman would. And, that’s a very big stumbling block for many contractors and salespeople, since they insist they must have the couple together on a call. They quickly discover these women are likely to be mightily miffed if along the way the salesperson asks her if “all the decision-makers will be present,” or, “When can I speak to your husband?”

In truth, “decision maker” can be quite a charged phrase to many women and here’s why. Women hear that label very differently than most men do. They hear that as transparent code for, “I want to talk to your man, the real decision maker.” And, if you really want to push the old envelope, tell her the reason you like to have all the decision makers present is so you can make sure accurate and complete information is communicated. This may well be the final straw. You will have succeeded in insulting her intelligence, and exposing your outdated mindset, deeply mired in the bygone 1950s world of “Father Knows Best.”

This isn’t just an awkward situation. It sends up big red flags that everything about your company is out of date and out of step with modern times. It drives clients to find a business that can relate to and accommodate their needs.



CHANGE THE ATTITUDE

An HVAC business owner spoke to me after one of my presentations, “Selling to Women & Couples: Secrets to Super Size Your Sales.” He said, “I have a real problem with my sales team. I have three women and three men on the team and my problem is that the women are far outselling the men.”

I asked the obvious question, “Do you know what the women are doing differently?” Without skipping a beat, he said, “Absolutely, the women are perfectly comfortable with a two-call close.”

I asked if the men were aware of what the women were doing differently to achieve these stellar results. He said, “Oh yes, they know - and they still insist on trying to force the one-call close.”

Seems like an ideal time to ask that famous Dr. Phil question, “How’s that working for ya?”

I’m aware that all women are not happy with a two-call close, and all men don’t try to force a one-call close, but that was this owner’s experience with his sales team. More importantly, what on earth would cause reasonable people to continue a course of action that is clearly less successful? It’s surely not financially successful. And what is it that energizes some people to anticipate and joyfully meet clients’ changing needs?

The answer lies in attitude. Listen to how salespeople characterize the people they call on. Salespeople who are not inclined to be learners describe the people they call on in unfavorable terms. They devalue them. In their estimation, the client, or potential client, is a nuisance, and in fact, the source of the problem.

When a salesperson adopts this destructive attitude, they have betrayed their clients and themselves. If there is no change in attitude, there will be no change in results.

On the sunny side, you can instantly tell who the learners are - and, consequently, who the winners are. When they speak about the people they call on, they build them up and speak honorably of them. They see clients’ needs as highly important and are compelled to find successful, creative solutions for them. And, they will joyfully and profitably arrange two-call appointments.

Never forget this business-building fact: Women do not gossip, they advertise!™

Publication Date: 08/06/2007

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