Monthly Archives: July 2012

Why can’t a woman be more like a man? Selling to women.

Women influence 80% of household spending. That was the stat that grabbed me this week and I can’t let it go.

As a professional woman who often finds herself selling to other women, this is something I need to think long and hard about and maybe you do too?

When it comes to pinning this down to specifics I can’t help but recall the appalling sales experience I had as a consumer at the hands of an all-male kitchen company, which I wrote about here.

If only they hadn’t treated me like a poor relation, patronized me, tried to get away with bad follow up care, and generally underestimated the power of my word of mouth!

So here you have it…

When selling to women, treat them as you want to be treated. Here are some of the ways…

  1. We are all people – never talk down to anyone, even if you don’t think they have purchasing  power.
  2. Create relationships not sales – the sales will follow. Go for the long term because women will revisit websites or come into the sales room over and over again if they need to, before making a decision.
  3. Remember that this woman in front of you will talk to her friends about her experience with you. If it is bad she will tell more people and probably put something up on social media, so don’t say anything you don’t want repeated back. (Remember the guy who told me that I wasn’t spending enough to give him a decent profit margin?)
  4. Do you present as trustworthy? Women hate shifty and are really not impressed by flash.
  5. Trying to sell a kitchen like it’s a car is not going to work. I am a strong professional woman but I still care a hell of a lot what colour my units are. Ask your customer what she needs, what she wants and what she is not prepared to compromise on.
  6. Return all communication promptly – even if I am not buying today I might have a meeting with someone later in the day who is.
  7. Don’t treat women like a mark – we can smell “I’m going to close you before you leave the door” a mile off. Most women who work in sales have probably had the same training. They can see the “tactic” and will write you off.
  8. Women like the way a good purchase feels –so make it feel good – we’re looking for a combination of  fine quality, good value and a great deal.

So whether you are a woman buying from a man, a man selling to a woman or a woman selling to other women – what more do you have to add ?

How to find the right audience for your Linkedin Group

How do you get on with LinkedIn groups?

Time was, when a LinkedIn group was in the top 4 weapons in your social media armoury, along with tweeting, blogging and Facebook. A ‘group’ brought people together around a subject so they could chat and share ideas in a non salesy way. I joined a handful about social media, and played a part in setting up several others for clients.

But now I have got stuck on a problem. My latest group is not growing. It is stunted and despite lots of tender ministrations and lovely high quality content, it is not finding an audience.

Are the days of a great group gone?

Well let’s look at the facts. The groups that work well for me are the ones where we are genuinely occupying a niche. The specialist recruitment group has hundreds of members and over the past 6 months by focussing on getting the content right, it has started to generate good levels of engagement from other group members. A success! Another even more niche group is to follow!

But over at my cloud computing group things are static. These are the problems;

  • The members all work in the computer industry and are primary LinkedIn contacts, rather than target audience, which is a different crowd altogether.
  • The content is aimed at people who work in a diverse range of professional services and want to learn about cloud computing, but don’t know much about it yet.    
  • Therefore the content is not finding the right audience. 

My suggested remedy is to change the group’s name so that it reflects the type of people I want to join, perhaps using the phrase ‘a beginners guide’ or ‘how to’ – then I need to line up some content that really matches the name change before setting to and publicising it.

I still have faith in LinkedIn groups, but I think it is harder to get an audience – especially in areas like computing where the competition is tough. What is your experience with Groups and do you think the strategy I have outlined above is going to do the trick?

Social media holiday planning.

Holidays play havoc with your schedule. It’s not that they’re not nice to have – dear Lord was I ever ready for mine – it’s just that you have to get so organised before you go and then even more organised when you get back. It would be nice to have a few days before hand to just bask in the idea that you’re off and then a few days afterwards to gently cajole yourself back into the swing.

But it was not to be. I got back at 3am and then woke up to business as ususal the next day, only with 200 e-mails in my inbox instead of 20.  

It was nice though – once the kids had left for school, to hop onto my client’s Facebook page to see that in my absence, my working self had been hard at it, putting up lovely posts on a daily basis together with some nice images and what’s more – they had gathered a number of likes and comments.

All down to the wonders of scheduling.

I know this is nothing new for devotees of Hootsuite, Tweetdeck et al, but I have never really got on with them. So I was delighted to discover the ease with which you can schedule a Facebook post. It all happens on the page and therefore feels much more reliable than anything I have tried before. You go into the status box and write your update complete with image etc, then click on the little clock at the bottom. It asks you to add a year, then month, day and time and you are ready to roll.  As all these Facebook posts are then fed through to Twitter it is job done and away you fly.

Worth a go I’d say. What do you do about social media when you go on holiday?