Let me begin by making a profound statement…
Men and Women are different. Why is that important? Studies show that women influence 85 percent of all consumer purchases including everything from autos to health care. Women account for nearly half of the U.S. workforce. A winning combination in anyone’s business. Unfortunately, we don’t always know how to communicate with this market effectively.
One of the major key gender differences is communication style.
Men want to get straight to the facts. Generally, men are transactional. They exchange information and women have a relationship with the information they exchange. In transactional sales, the salesperson has a product or service that is in need of a buyer. The product is the focus instead of the customer’s needs.
Women want to develop a relationship first. Women are known for building relationships. Women have relationships with everyone they know and everything they buy.
Relationship sales are customer focused rather than product focused. In this process, the client is involved and the solution becomes a joint venture. This process is based on the idea that a long-term relationship is being developed.
Women ask more questions than men. Men ask questions to gather information. Women ask many more questions — to both gather information and begin to cultivate a relationship. A good salesperson understands that the more questions that are asked, the more you will find out about your client. This is your time to be interested — not interesting.
Men concentrate on facts and figures and closing the deal more quickly than women, and women are focused on connecting and solving problems. The styles are different. Neither method is right or wrong, they are just different. If you see and embrace those differences, you will definitely see an improvement in working relationships — and in your bottom line.
Embracing the differences between men and women as potential customers will help you understand what tools are in your toolbox. Understanding how men and women communicate will help you understand which of those tools to use.
Here is the truth; asking questions will begin the relationship with your client. Listening will cement it!
With this in mind, there is also a difference in how men and women approach questions – how they ask them, how they react to them, how they answer them, and how they use the information elicited from them.
Men ask questions for one purpose only: To gather information.
Women ask to gather information and to cultivate the relationship. For women, it’s all about connecting; connecting with the salesperson, their business, and connecting others. Men exchange information and women have a relationship with the information they exchange.
Relationships in business is a vital component to your success. Asking questions builds the relationship. Let’s take that one step further, we are all in sales. Relationships in sales is the winning combination. So, whether you have “sales” in your title or if you are selling yourself within your company or in an interview, keep these three questions in mind when it comes to making the sale.
1: What are you trying to accomplish?
What is the goal is of your questions. Set an agenda about the key points you need to get across or facts you need to gather. You want to take your time to do this right, but you also don’t want to waste anyone’s time.
2: What types of questions should you ask?
To begin building a relationship, you need to ask open-ended questions. To get specific facts, ask closed questions, and clarifying questions. Using a variety of types of questions will give you both the information you need as well as help to build a long-term relationship.
3: Who is your customer?
Know who you are speaking to and ask questions that will either gather the facts and get to the point quickly or help you to dig deeper so that you are building a relationship. Your goal is to make the other person’s life and job easier.
Embracing the differences between men and women as clients, customers and as team members in your office will create an environment for success.
As the saying goes, “…and from their differences came understanding.”