Try A Different Approach When Targeting Professional Women
Chances are youre still overlooking more than 50% of your target market, and the largest opportunity to grow your business. As an industry, we continue to miss the boat on marketing to professional women despite the fact that its a strong, affluent market.
Consider that 1.2 million women have incomes of $75,000 or more, hold about half of all accounting, law and medical degrees, and start businesses at twice the rate of men.
Whats more, professional women are increasingly assuming the lead role in financial decision-making or are highly influential in the joint purchase decision. Yet, women continue telling us they are not given the same level of courtesy given to their male counterparts. They feel ignored and are often considered add-on sales.
So, whats the problem? Old industry data, myths about working with women, and predominantly male sales forces have been barriers to successfully navigating the womens market. A better understanding of the target is needed, as well as a change in the way representatives think about the sales process–the traditional, male-centric sales approach is often ineffective.
Women need the same financial products as men. Selling to women is not different; its the approach thats different. You will find that some approaches will resonate better with certain professional segments (i.e., physicians, attorneys, executives) than others.
In general, women are more service-sensitive than men. They also want to be educated and do more research up front before making decisions. In fact, women pride themselves on researching subjects that are important to their sense of security and want to feel competent about their finances.
While women want information, they dont want to be talked down to. Professional women are a sophisticated, highly educated group. Remember, its not that women are less financially savvy than men or more risk adverse, women simply have had less financial experience over time.
Its also important to understand that words mean different things to different people. Sports references will have a different connotation for women than men. When a financial expert says they are going to develop a “game plan,” most men are thinking “financial plan.” A woman hears this same expression and envisions plays on the field. She will probably feel that the advisor is not relating to her needs.
Use these language differences to your benefit. For example, women interpret “disability” as a catastrophic illness–they understand what being disabled could mean to their role as a breadwinner/caregiver/provider. Conversely, men are more likely to think of a disability as a recoverable injury.