Holly Buchanan, author of The Soccer Mom Myth, posted an interesting article on her website Marketing to Women Online. It was an article written by a man, Aaron Traister, about What Men Love About Women. As she read through the article she noticed a very interesting point. One that I too found entertaining. Here is the excerpt from Mr. Traister’s article on MSN which talks about how men solve problems versus the way that women solve problems:
We love how you solve problems.
The rabbi describes the way his wife tackles obstacles as full of drama: She rages, she cries, she internalizes everything. Her system of problem-solving takes a long time and involves making everything personal and leading with her emotions in a quest to see how she would feel about each possible solution. It is apparently a very stressful process. In contrast, the rabbi’s problem-solving method is to just try to find the fastest fix. When I asked him why he preferred his wife’s method, he said it was because “her decisions always end up being the right ones, whereas mine always end up being the quick ones.”
Interesting, isn’t it?? A marketing layman (the Rabbi) has understood and found value in the differences between men and women’s problem solving techniques; yet most marketers lump their customers together into a genderless group and assume everyone thinks the same way. You’ve heard what they say about assuming, right?
Now, here is an excerpt from Ms. Buchanan’s blog where she explores the science behind the difference in decision-making and how it relates to buying behavior. (On a side note, if you don’t read her blog, you should. This lady’s one smart cookie.)
Brain differences between men and women
Science has proved that men and women have different brains. This article talks about the differences:
In 2001, researchers from Harvard found that certain parts of the brain were differently sized in males and females, which may help balance out the overall size difference. The study found that parts of the frontal lobe, responsible for problem-solving and decision-making, and the limbic cortex, responsible for regulating emotions, were larger in women.
Hmmm…..so let’s look at what our What Men Love About Women rabbi story said:
Her system of problem-solving takes a long time and involves making everything personal and leading with her emotions in a quest to see how she would feel about each possible solution.
Women have larger areas of their frontal lobe, responsible for problem-solving and decision-making. They are indeed planning ahead, visualizing multiple solutions and using that female brain processing to put more time and effort into a decision or problem solving process. (aka, taking a long time)
We also see that the limbic cortex, responsible for regulating emotion, is larger in women. Women have more connections to the emotional centers of their brain. They tap into that emotional center when making decisions (aka, leading with their emotions).
What’s interesting to me is, while the language used to describe a woman’s problem solving process is often negative, the end conclusion is, “her decisions always end up being the right ones.”
Be aware of a woman’s buying process when you are selling to her
Understanding a woman’s buying process is crucial when you are in a sales situation.
- Give her enough time – if a woman says “she needs to think about it,” she is not saying no. Women complain that men move in too soon for the close. If she’s not ready to buy, ask her “do you have any questions or concerns I haven’t addressed?” to see if she is missing crucial information, then let her go do her processing and set up another appointment. She will appreciate this!
- Make an emotional connection– Ask her questions, find out everything you can about her situation, her concerns, the people her decision will affect. By asking questions and really listening to her answers, you are building trust – the most important emotion in a sale to a woman.
By understanding the differences between how men and women make buying decisions you can accommodate each gender’s preferences – aka, sell more stuff.
Like I said, she knows her stuff and I couldn’t have put it better myself! Thanks for your insights, Holly!