When I ask an audience what they notice that's different when selling to women rather than to men, almost every time a man will apprehensively say, "Women are emotional." That short statement creates more than a little nervous laughter, coughing, and shuffling about in any audience.

So, what exactly does that mean?

In my experience, most salesmen describe emotional as weepy or teary-eyed. They describe how one minute the woman was fine and then there was that moment when they could see she was on the verge of tears.

Many tell how a woman will tearfully explain, "I've had three contractors here, and you are the first person who has really listened to me, answered my questions, and taken me seriously."

Believe me, women can easily relate to this experience. And, that spells big opportunity for you.


So, what's the first thing to do? Answer: Give her a moment to compose herself. Then, offer her a tissue from that little travel packet you just happen to have handy, or offer to get her a glass of water. That will give you something to do besides sitting there feeling awkward.

She will appreciate these small courtesies even if she declines your offer to assist her. Not to worry. She's perfectly fine, though completely overwhelmed with relief and gratitude that at last she's found someone who demonstrates sincere concern and ability and is comfortable to intelligently and enthusiastically answer her questions.

Because you are a caring person, you may feel a natural tendency to hug her. Please resist that tendency. Some men have told me that they give their women clients a hug when they see they are upset, and that the women appreciate it. Some woman may, but others will not. It's a risk that's not worth taking, especially with a stranger. The only touching that's appropriate is to shake her hand.


Now you get to bask in the pleasure of hearing her say all those complimentary things about you and your company. That's bound to put a smile on your face and make it very easy to say, "I'm happy I've been able to answer your questions. It's my pleasure." Then pick up where you left off and keep doing what you were doing, listening and answering her questions and making that all-important positive, emotional connection.

(In the worst cases, some salesmen deduce that tears are a sign of weakness or helplessness. We really do need to talk because nothing could be further from the truth. There's power aplenty in those tears!)

Now you're probably saying, yes but women cry for all sorts of reasons. They cry when they're glad, mad, sad, and scared. And, they do. We know that both women and men experience strong emotions and that includes the range of emotions from love to hate, contentment to fear, happiness to sadness, and joy to anger.

Neurology plays a key role in the differences in women and men when it comes to emotion. Dr. Mark George of the University of South Carolina scanned the brains of women and men and found when they were asked to recall similar types of emotional experiences, those feelings activated neurons in an area some eight times larger in women than in men! No wonder she expresses her emotions with more intensity.

And, consider the impact of this neurological nugget: the hippocampus, the part of the brain that stores emotional experiences, is larger in women's brains. And that has huge implications for your business. Your women customers, crying those happy tears, are very loyal customers and they absolutely love to send business to those they love doing business with.


So, why all those tears in the first place? Women have much larger tear glands than men and 60 percent more of the hormone prolactin, which is responsible for tear gland production. So women naturally express more emotion, whether they are glad, mad, sad, or scared, through crying and tears.

And tears "power up" women. Whatever strong emotion she's experiencing, tears power her to take action and make changes. That can be positive or negative, depending on the circumstances or your personal point of view.

At no time is this more clearly demonstrated than during times of crises, from wars to hurricanes. During the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, for instance, many people were stunned when TV news reporters captured the amazing feat of a woman ballet instructor, who with a crew that she had organized and mobilized, were delivering desperately needed supplies to this devastated area. She did this at the time that it was seemingly impossible to get into this area.

Reporters asked her how in the world she pulled this off. She talked about the wrenching agony of seeing the pictures of the suffering families on TV. With tears - mighty power tears - streaming down her face, she said, "I knew I had to find a way to get help to them, so I started calling everyone I knew who could possibly help in any way."

Powered by deep emotion and those mighty power tears, she organized and mobilized that formidable force to bring life-saving supplies to many people.

A woman may be overwhelmed with emotion, but she's not suffering from any sort of weakness. In truth, women's angry power tears can wipe out your business, just as surely as her happy power tears can build your business, compliments of the women's network! Always remember this business building fact, "Women do not gossip. They advertise."â„¢

Sharon Roberts is a consultant who specializes in selling to women and couples. Please send your questions or comments to Sharon@r2assoc.com.

Publication date: 03/06/2006