Tapping the Women’s Market

Tapping the Women’s Market

Women control more money than they ever have before. They earn, spend, and save almost as much as men. Today, women represent a huge opportunity for investment and financial services firms — now, the industry must figure out how to take advantage of it.

What makes the women’s market different? Women buy differently than men do. Generations of consumer products marketers have known this, and have successfully leveraged women’s brand affinity, loyalty, and stringent criteria for making purchase decisions.

The financial services industry, however, still uses sales processes and approaches tailored to the people who historically bought most of the financial products and services — men.

To sell effectively to women today, firms need to recognize the subtle and important differences in women’s buying styles and create sales strategies that work for women.

  1. Women process information differently, and many use both qualitative and quantitative criteria to make decisions. Be sure to ask about the specific criteria she is using in a decision-making process — don’t assume that only facts and data matter.
  2. Women ask lots of questions, and tend to keep asking until they understand the information thoroughly. Be prepared to explain the products and services in more than one way so that you are clearly understood.
  3. For many women, the process matters as much as the product. Women are holistic thinkers, and identify a good product with a comfortable, pleasant sales process. This is a lesson the auto industry has learned painfully.
  4. Women are loyal shoppers. Too little time? Too much to do? Lots of reasons why, but women will buy again from the same source if the experience and products are a fit.
  5. Women have too much to do and too little time to do it. Creating a sales process that respects the multiple hats women wear and the many commitments they make will go a long way toward creating a long and fruitful relationship. This would belie the conventional wisdom that seminars are a good way to sell to this market.

To sell well to women, think creatively and offer real solutions to real problems. Women want better ways to do the things that matter, and smart financial services companies will take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity.