To be a consistently high-performing new-home sales professional, you must be able to adapt to and connect with all of your potential buyers. As an expert on the new-home sales process, and in writing about marketing and selling to the female buyer, I decided to do what Dr. Stephen Covey recommends in his book, The Seven Habits Of Highly Successful People, which is to seek first to understand, then to be understood. I asked one of the most successful and professional women in new-home sales I know, whose expertise has been proven in the trenches what matters when selling to women buyers. Here is what Michelle Moore has to tell us.
Always having a planned, not canned, presentation prepares you for any surprises in the sales process. This recommendation reminds me of a saying I heard years ago: Proper planning prevents poor performance. Due to the high percentage of women making the home-buying decisions, a planned presentation must include details that are important to women. In fact, studies show that seven out of eight women will go out of their way to do business with companies that market to women. As you can see, the skill of selling to women isn't just nice to know; you need to know it.
The biggest purchase most people ever make is their home. In a recent article, Marti Barletta, author of Marketing to Women: How to Increase Your Share of the World's Largest Market, credits women with 80 to 85 percent of spending decisions. Sure, we know that men have some say in a couple's decision to buy a home, but when you look into what their contribution is specifically, I think you'll agree it's very little.
Men often have a different approach than women when it comes to the process of purchasing. Men focus on a need and create a process to reach their buying decision, while women consider their relationship with their Realtor to be one of the more important factors in helping them to decide. Aspects such as appearance, reputation, respect, trust, eye contact, and how much you listen (or don't) can make or break the deal for them.
From a woman's perspective, some negative perceptions of men selling to women include a lack of manners, poor listening skills, and being aggressive, pushy, high pressure, overbearing, condescending, and devious.
Likewise, some negative perceptions of women selling to other women include a lack of technical and product knowledge, being emotional, tentative, uncertain, vague, unsure of specifics, unable to make a sound recommendation, and unable to get to the bottom line.
But here's one very important point. Though women have a great deal of buying power, their decisions are not about picking a product that only they like. Ultimately, when a woman makes a buying decision, she has her entire family in mind.
So if you're wondering which points to cover in an effective sales presentation to a woman, here's a list of four must-haves:
1. Display good business etiquette such as beginning with a friendly greeting. Include a firm handshake while introducing yourself and make eye contact. Generally speaking, women prefer more eye contact than men in the buying process.
2. Paint a picture by speaking to women about how your product is going to appeal to them as a mom, a wife, or a partner. Women are driven to make their own lives, and the lives of those they care about, better. Remember, features tell and benefits sell.
3. Be prepared to deliver a professional presentation full of details such as completion dates, available features, and color selections. As I have always said, the deal is in the details. Women are researchers looking for facts. They won't make purchasing decisions without obtaining all the facts required to make an informed decision.
4. Listen, listen, and listen some more. Superior customer service is linked highly with your ability to actively listen. Reflecting back on customers' needs throughout the entire sales process shows that you are listening, you care about their needs, and you are sincere.
Finally, through the years, I have heard many people talk about doing business by the Golden Rule, which is, Treat people as you want to be treated. That is good. But as you develop your skills in selling to women, I challenge you to live by the Platinum Rule. It simply states, Treat people as they'd like to be treated. If you can master the art of selling to women, you can take your sales numbers to levels you've never seen.
Michelle Moore has demonstrated her expertise and ability in the real estate and new-home sales arenas with more than 40 sales and leadership awards from the industry. Michelle travels the country as an inspirational speaker and leadership coach, and as an associate consultant, training facilitator, and coach with Bob Schultz & The New Home Specialists. Her newest book, Selling Simplified, has just been published.