Yesterday, I posted some thoughts on how the decision-making process is a straight line for men versus a Slinky for women. Today, let’s explore the buying process. Often, this is where things go really, really wrong and money ends up left on the table.
First a quick primer. There are five stages of the buying process and women lead four of them. They are: the initial decision to buy, fact-finding and narrowing the field, face-to-face sales, maintenance (paying bills, problem resolution), and referrals. So which one is the weak link? Face to face sales.
Consider this scenario. A husband and wife walk into a car dealer. She’s already done all her homework and knows she wants an SUV. She’s the one who’s checked into how much her car is worth for a trade in. She’s the one who asked her friends about their experiences with different dealers. Then the sales guy comes over and only talks to the husband. He’s there because she cares about him and wants him to feel good about the purchase, not because it’s going to be his SUV or because he’s done all the research. Yet he gets all the attention and the eye contact despite the fact that women influence more than half of all automotive purchases. That’s around $81 billion worth.
This happens all too often in the offices of financial advisors, in the aisles of electronics stores, in all the places where big ticket items are sold.
When women are marginalized like that, there are serious implications. One, she won’t buy from you at all. Bad. Two, she’ll begrudgingly buy from you, feel bad about it, and tell all her friends. Worse. Or three, you could train your sales people to abandon the old stereotypes about who’s actually paying for things and making the decisions and recognize that women ARE the customer. Good. Very good.