Sharon Roberts discusses the finer points of selling HVAC equipment to women.
ST. LOUIS - If you make a good impression when selling to women, chances are your good deeds will spread like wildfire through the "women's network" - according to Sharon Roberts, principal and co-founder of Roberts & Roberts Associates, Plano, Texas. Roberts spoke to Comfortech attendees on the importance of knowing how to sell HVAC equipment to women.

"The women's network is so powerful," she said. "You are on the women's network whether you plan to be or not. This is networking on steroids! The woman can be your conduit. Bond with her because if you don't, it just isn't going to happen."

Roberts said the relationship between seller and woman buyer isn't a matter of showing respect; it's a matter of recognizing differences between women and men. "We are different," she emphasized. "We are different in how we communicate, react, socialize, shop, and make decisions."

She said it is important to build trust and credibility with women, and it can be done by dressing appropriately, shaking hands, offering a business card, and by listening. "Not listening is the worst form of condescending behavior," she said.

Roberts said that women value how they are treated as much as they value the products being sold to them. One way to show concern is to provide a list of references or referrals before making a sales presentation.

In the long run, it pays to understand the differences in what men and women want because, as Roberts said, "Women don't gossip - they advertise!"

Publication date: 10/18/2004