Listen up, men: Selling to a woman is a lot like dating, in that you'll either make a great first impression or you'll strike out. The ball is in your court.
So what's a guy to do? I recommend you familiarize yourself with some of the fatal mistakes men make on a date, as well as when selling. Then apply some new approaches and fast. To help you with the process, you'll find some really good-to-know information outlined below.
1. Don't talk about "me, me, me." Women often complain that men monopolize the conversation on a first date. In a guy's world, the tendency is to share the good, the bad, and the ugly upfront, giving full disclosure of their positive traits, potential flaws, and interests. The goal is to provide enough information for a woman to decide if he's right for her.
It's a great strategy…for the first five minutes. After that, all she hears is, "Me, me, me, and more about me." Misinterpreting his policy to be transparent, an exasperated woman will tell those close to her, "He spent the whole time talking about himself. I thought he would never stop."
Unfortunately, this one-sided conversational pattern also carries into sales situations. The only difference is the content of the monologue. During a sale, features and benefits tend to be the topic of the hour. The end result is information overload. Exhausted, a woman will often respond by smiling weakly to imply she's still listening.
2. Her silence isn't always golden. Whether on a date or when selling, it's not uncommon for a man to confuse a woman's silence as a demonstration of interest. "She's hanging onto every word I've said," you think. "She finds me [finds my products and services] fascinating. Well, then, I'll just keep on talking."
Sorry to have to break the bad news, but she probably tuned you out ages ago. Your style didn't work for her. Women don't communicate like men; when talking, women take turns speaking. They expect the same consideration from a seller.
Regrettably, most guys don't get it. If they did they'd know what it really takes to make a great first impression.
3. Make it your goal to impress her. It can be easier than you think to impress a woman. All you have to do is something that most men overlook: When on a date, you simply ask her about herself. Similarly, during a sales conversation you should ask about her situation, what's she's looking for, and how you can help.
In either circumstance, you'll take her breath away as she mutters, "Wow, a guy [seller] who actually takes the time to find out about me [my situation]. This is someone worth talking to!"
4. Don't go in for the kill. It's one thing to grasp the importance of asking a woman about herself. That said, you can easily blow things by moving too fast. On a date, starting off with "What's your astrological sign?" or "Do you want to have kids?" can scare her off.
On the selling front, you'll appear to be overdrive if you begin with, "How much do you want to spend?" In both cases, she doesn't know you well enough to share such information. So slow down and take your time.
5. Keep it light to earn her trust. During any first conversation your objective is to earn her trust. On a first date keep the conversation light. Ask about her job and her interests. When you sell begin with a similar strategy. Start with general questions: "What are you looking for?" "What would you like the product [solution] to do for you?"
After that, you can move on to more focused questions: "Who else's needs do we need to consider?" And finally, when you've earned enough trust, you can ask, "What price range were you looking to spend?"
Oh, in case you're wondering: You'll know you got it right on a date when you're able to ask, "So, would you like to go out again?" and she answers, "Yes."
Kelly McCormick is a regular columnist for SMM. She is also the author of the forthcoming book "OutSell Yourself." To obtain her sales e-tips, in addition to information on her sessions, keynote talks, and tele-classes, visit www.outsellyourself.com or call 800-889-9637.