Selling to Women!

I was at a women’s business lunch recently and the speaker was a male expert in marketing and strategy. But I doubt if he impressed many of us women listening! He didn’t understand some of the fundamental differences between how men and women communicate and why techniques that work with men will rarely play well with women. Selling to women is different.

Here are some tips if you want to successfully engage women. Remember, it’s been calculated that women make over 80% of consumer purchasing decisions! We’re a force to be reckoned with.

Peacock Feathers!

In general, (and of necessity I am talking in generalisations-this won’t apply to every man and every woman), men when selling either themselves or a product to other men, begin by establishing their credentials. Status is much more important to men than it is to women. So a salesman will flare his feathers, and hope to dazzle. I think you can link it back directly to schoolboy playground culture. (If you’ve ever watched a group of young boys playing and then a group of young girls you’ll know what I mean!)

Most women will be turned off at this stage. We’ll be thinking: ‘what a show off, I am so not impressed!’ It doesn’t mean we’re a push over and don’t want someone with credentials; we just don’t like it thrust at us like that.


Everyone likes being listened to and women are good, active listeners. If you pay attention you will be able to tell if they are with you. But don’t be lulled into a false sense of security and talk at length without engaging us. We like the whole picture. If someone had the idea for a product while recovering from a bypass operation we like that kind of detail. It humanises things for us. Your male clients probably don’t. They want you to get straight to the point and cut out what they see as useless verbiage.

Here’s an Example:

On Mother’s Day part of my present from my son was to do some gardening with me, and so he turned up equipped to do battle! I began explaining to him my idea for changing the layout and how I wanted a vegetable patch down there and how…

Mum“, he said,” just tell me exactly what you want me to do. Point where you want me to dig and tell me specifically which plants I mustn’t dig up. That’s all I want to know“‘. My daughter on the other hand, takes quite an interest in my garden plans! In general, women like to have some context, make a connection. A genuine connection.

Don’t Be Fooled

Men when they are listening to you will be impassive. But there’s one very important thing you should know about the differences in how men and women listen. When a man nods his head during your sales talk he is probably doing so because he agrees with you. If you see a woman nodding at you, don’t make the same assumption. Women nod to show they understand what you are saying, not that they agree! But they might be agreeing- you have to check it out!

Stop Interrupting!

Research studies of communication at work show that time after time, men interrupt women when they are speaking. Men interrupt women far more often than they interrupt other men, whatever the relative status of those involved. This may be because men get irritated with our talking around a subject, setting the scene, while they want to get straight to the facts. Whatever the reason, if you’re selling to us don’t do it!


Find out what women want. Just putting a pink bow on something doesn’t instantly render it attractive to women. Companies that have increased their marketing to women specifically have found sales overall increased. So it makes sound economic sense too! Men and women talk differently.


In the interests of fairness I think I should say that my son disputes my gardening account! I may have exaggerated slightly….Actually he is a brilliant conversationalist; in fact both my children confound the stereotypes! And if you have any stories to share please use the comments box – I love to hear from you!


Posted on March 18th, 2010 by

7 Responses to “Selling to Women!”

  1. Really perceptive post Jane! Especially the interrupting point – I really hate that and definitely think it’s a man trait. My husband is the world’s worse – he’s already moving ahead and thinking of a solution to my problem when all i want him to do is just to listen, preferably without interrupting!


    • Jane says:

      Thanks Sharon. I find women always identify with that point, while men find a particular resonance with the ‘talking around a subject’ bit!

  2. Ann Lewis says:

    I agree – the number of times I find myself saying ‘please stop trying to solve this for me and just LISTEN’. Great post.

  3. Melanie McDonald (MelMcDonaldArt) says:

    Read this over my coffee and thoroughly enjoyed it – thanks so much Jane. I love men who ‘listen’ (and women), which means that I choose the’listeners’ over others every time. Life’s about communicating and building relationships!

    • Jane says:

      Good Morning Mel! Nice to have your comments on the site. Listening is an under rated skill, by both genders! Glad you enjoyed the post. Jane

  4. […] Selling to Women! – Changing People Blog Insightful post about the nuances of marketing to women […]

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