The Secret to Selling to Women

By Dan Solin

April 8, 2014

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If you want to achieve success as a financial advisor, master the art of selling to women.

There is little doubt about the significance of this market. A study by Boston Consulting Group concluded, “As wealth management clients, women are both significant and undervalued.” The study found that women controlled about $20 trillion of the world’s wealth. In North America, women control approximately 33% of assets under management.

Women account for more than 50% of all stock ownership in the U.S. and 48% of estates worth more than $5 million. They also control or influence 67% of household investment decisions.

The science of selling to women

When I was doing research for The Smartest Sales Book You’ll Ever Read, I was struck by the lack of credible support for much of the advice given about selling to women.

I found this odd because there is a wealth of well-researched information dealing with the difference between the way men and women process information. The same presentation you may be using to great effect with men is unlikely to produce the same results with women.

Historical context

There are many theories for how these communication differences came about. One study suggests that it has evolutionary roots. If a male wanted to survive, he had two choices: fight or flee.

Confronted with the same circumstances, fighting was often not a viable option for women, according to this theory. It was complicated and cumbersome, because of the need to protect their children. If females had adopted a fight-or-flight response, their chances of survival would have decreased, along with their ability to reproduce. By adopting a “tend-and-befriend” defense, the ensuing female network increased the likelihood of survival for her and her children.

While these theories are useful in understanding generally how men and women process information, they are not universally applicable. Although neuroscientists have concluded there are differences in brain anatomy and physiology between the genders, those differences may not necessarily be hardwired. There is ample evidence that many gender traits are also influenced by upbringing and experience.

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