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Motivate Your Sales Force to Sell to Women in Four Easy Steps

By Kelly McCormick

What! Not all of your sales force wants to sell to the emerging female decision-making demographic? Have you tried to motivate them with mind-blowing statistics? You could mention that women make and/or influence approximately 80 percent of all buying decisions.

Still no one's budging? Okay, how about this: Globally women spend an estimated $19 trillion each year. Still nothing? This calls for a plan. It's time to use four easy steps to motivate staff to sell to women.

Motivate Your Sales Force to Sell to Women in Four Easy StepsStep One: Talk About the WIIFMs

Like any customer, a seller has his or her own buying – or, in this case, buy-in – criteria. It's the WIIFM (What's in it for me?) criteria. When considering the value of something, a customer ponders several questions, including ‘What will this do for me?' The same is true for a seller. When considering expanding sales to women, he or she also wants to know ‘What's in it for me?'

When you have a sales meeting, spend time talking about the WIIFMs. Start off with this motivating opener: ‘An immediate benefit of selling to women is increased earnings.'

Now that you have everyone's attention, follow with ‘And this isn't just short-term cash we're talking about. Women are loyal buyers. A sale isn't seen as a one-time thing. When you meet a woman's buying needs, she'll be back. Not only that, because women are natural networkers they'll often refer you to others. Essentially, women have the power to increase your sales – for years.' Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching.

Step Two: Give ALL Concerns Air Time

During a sales conversation, professionals are taught to check in and ask, ‘So what are your thoughts?' or ‘How does this solution work for you?' Any issues that surface are individually addressed; then the sale can move forward. The same theory applies to your team. Sellers, too, need a chance air any worries they may still have, even when faced with the prospect of making more money or surpassing sales quotas.

There are several ways to move past a seller's concerns. During a team meeting, invite the group to brainstorm potential challenges in selling to women. Then brainstorm the best solutions.

To begin the brainstorming process, set a five-minute time limit to solve each challenge. Ask the group to shout out only solutions. Banish the phrase, ‘Yes, but – .' Do this by appointing someone to act as the Yes But Police. Whenever that person hears ‘Yes, but – ,' he or she calls out ‘Solutions only, please!' This exercise really works. I've had up to 200 people, working in small teams, brainstorm absolutely amazing selling solutions – in record time.

Companies have also used my ‘Resident Instructor' technique. A seller, or several sellers, are appointed instructor/s of the meeting. Their role is to research solutions and then bring them back to the team.

Finally, to move past lingering concerns about selling to women it's important to know when to call in the experts.

Step Three: Know How to Benefit from the Experts

The right knowledge can skyrocket a person's motivation to sell to women. A specialist in sales and women can fast-track your team's progress – if you hire the right expert.

When looking for the best teacher, be sure to check out a few important things. First, find out what the material includes. You'll get a better RIO (return on investment) when the expert customizes their material to include your company's sales scenarios and challenges. Go for the specialist who does pre-session and/or keynote research.

Read testimonials from previous clients. What did they like about the expert? What value did participants get from the content? For example, it's one thing for an expert to tell people what they need to do when selling to women (e.g., ‘provide buying options'). However, the real value comes from explaining why something works, then giving realistic examples of how to apply the information, including what to say. This hands-on knowledge reduces selling frustration and increases confidence.

Step Four: Lower the Commitment and Build on Success

In sales there's an expression: Lower the commitment to the buyer. A client can be leery if a company or goods are new to them. Rather than try to sell the whole kahuna and risk losing the sale, a seller lowers the commitment. A portion of the package is offered instead. It's like a trial order. Once satisfied, the buyer then comes back for more. The same theory applies to your sales force.

Don't ask for a whopping increase in sales to women. Instead, motivate sellers to succeed by setting do-able sales targets. Once they see their WIIFMs materialize, raise the sales targets and build on that success.

Re-cap of the Steps

Step One: Focus on what's in it for sellers.

Step Two: Give concerns air time and seek solutions.

Step Three: Call in the experts to increase selling-to-women skills.

Step Four: Set achievable sales targets and build on that success.

About Kelly McCormick

Business expert Kelly McCormick is a speaker, coach and writer. She is the author of 'OutSell Yourself: Go from HELLO to SOLD with Ethical Business and Sales Techniques'. Check out Kelly's E-tips, blog posting and more at

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Hi, I’m Kelly McCormick, a Business Growth and Marketing Strategist. I help entrepreneurs & companies to identify opportunities for growth. Plus, I develop targeted branding, marketing & sales strategies. I can help you too!

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