Any legitimate mystery shopping company will tell you that there is a difference between the way males and females make purchases. Manufacturers know this. Ad agencies know this. And as the owner of a mystery shopping company, I know this and I have read mystery shopper evaluations that can back up this claim.
The importance of understanding the dynamics of making the sale between the sexes is especially important when the transaction involves selling to a couple.
This past weekend, I had a personal experience where I was out shopping with my husband for a product that is traditionally part of a male-dominated industry.
I had lots of questions about this purchase, so I asked them. When the male sales associate answered, he turned and made eye contact with my husband and spoke to him – not me. Ouch!
Not a smart move, Mr. Salesman. You just blew the sale!
By ignoring me, the salesman failed to take into consideration a few key components about the female market segment:
- We are involved in the decision making process for major purchases in our families.
- We contribute to the financial well-being of our families and are sometimes solely responsible for the family’s income.
- We bring an emotional component to the purchase.
- If it’s a major purchase, we want to make a connection with our sales associate.
But like anything else in our organizations, sales representatives deserve to be trained on how to best make the connection with the consumers who stand before them with credit card or check book in hand.
As you are refining or creating your sales programs for the season, consider a few modifications:
- Create modules in your training programs to help sales associates develop an awareness of who the financial and emotional decision makers are in every sales transaction. It may not always be who you think it is.
- Be sure to include information in your training programs that will highlight the differences between the way females and males purchase.
- Role play in your training programs to demonstrate the importance of eye contact, language, and body language to the sales transaction.
- Perform regular customer service audits to evaluate if your training is effective. Mystery shopping is a key component here and should be a part of your budget.
As far as selling to males and females goes…encourage and train your staff to recognize the challenge that selling to the sexes brings. It makes for much more interesting selling situations. Viva la difference!
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