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Required Reading for Entrepreneurs: Winning Her Business
Whether you’re selling digital products, physical products, or services, in brick-and-mortar or online stores, it’s important to keep in mind the shopping habits of the growth market in the world.
Women make up the largest growth market, larger than the growth markets of China and India, which are clearly massive. In the United States, women drive upwards of 70 percent of consumer spending, through both buying power and influence. And influence is a critical factor.
CEO of Female Factor, Bridget Brennan has made her career studying the shopping habits of this demographic. The author of Why She Buys (2009), Brennan’s follow-up, Winning Her Business, dives deep into why women buy what they buy, how she determines how much money she is willing to spend, and also how to frame your company’s offerings, no matter what they are, to encourage women to purchase.
Now, full disclosure, I received an advance reader copy (known as an ARC) from Brennan’s publisher, with the intent of featuring the book in the Required Reading series. That said, all opinions of this book are my own, and I wouldn’t feature it if I didn’t love it. I did love this book. In fact, I read it in about three hours.
One of the things I really loved about this book is that it’s current. It talks about what companies are doing right now, and the skills you can implement today to boost the way you engage with women and foster more sales.
Winning Her Business: Women Demographics In The Blogging World
I’m sure you might be wondering, “How can this book help me? I’m a blogger and I already KNOW that women are my demographic.”
Well, it’s helpful because Brennan dives deep into not just how to talk to women consumers, but how to maintain professional boundaries in your communication, the importance of a woman’s power of influence, how women can “multiply” your sales, and much more.
This book will guide you into how to sell, and how to sell effectively to women, which is crucial no matter your niche and your expertise.
You can take the guidance in this book to any and every sale you intend to make.
Winning Her Business: The Two Types Of Shopper
Early on, Brennan introduces the two type of shopper: transactional and holistic.
Instead of looking for the best price or ease of purchase, holistic shoppers want to see the overall value of what they’re buying. They seek not just information about a product, but also inspiration on how a product can best be used. The think about their buying experience, and who else can what they’re buying benefit.
Holistic shoppers have a huge impact on blogging. Look at course creators. The most successful course creators offer courses that cover the entire scope of a certain subject, whether it’s in one course or a suite of courses.
Leah Gervais of Urban 20Something offers an elite course all about growing your email list, called Limitless List. It details every aspect of list building, from your CRM to your opt-in to the way you promote it and the way you engage, grow, and sell to that list.
Melyssa Griffin’s course, Pinfinite Growth, is ALL about Pinterest. It showcases the ins and outs of the entire platform, from setting up your account to designing your pins to how to optimize your descriptions and more. Anyone who takes that course and does the work, can see results.
Just like that, you have someone like Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course, which covers the ins and outs of affiliate marketing. From how to become an affiliate for a product to the legal ways to market the product on your side, she covers everything including tips and tricks on how to make it not seem so salesy. She has since expanded to cover the scope involved with sponsored posts.
Or you have a creator like Ruth Soukup, who’s program Elite Blog Academy is ALL about blogging and setting up a foundation for success. EBA takes you through the exact steps to go from an idea in a niche to an income-generating blog that can potentially take you to new heights in your life and your income.
What these courses all have in common is that they are comprehensive, and when shopping, women tend to look for the most comprehensive, bang for her buck. Anyone who buys one of these courses will see the entire scope of a subject covered in the course material. It is a one stop shop, rather than trying to learn a topic by going in 18 different, often frustrating, directions.
Winning Her Business: Women’s Power Of Influence
Women have utilized a majority of market power for years. This isn’t new. What is new is the wave of influence women have brought into the market since the Equal Credit Opportunity Act was passed in 1974, which allowed women to get a credit card in her own name.
Here’s the kicker, where the online space fits in: women dominate social media. Be it Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or Pinterest or any other platform, they tend to have a higher ratio of women users.
And with that domination, women online have a lot of power. Say you’re in a mom’s group, and you just found an amazing new online clothing store that has inexpensive clothes for children who grow like weeds. You fall in love with both the designs and the prices and how quickly you received your order, and what do you do next?
You share it. And soon all your friends are buying their kids’ clothes that that one store. You sent that store a ton of business, all because of your influence based on your shopping experience.
A woman’s power can have the opposite impact on a company as well. Remember when Rihanna (rightly) lashed out at Snapchat for a filter promoting domestic violence? Ton of people deleted Snapchat right after her criticism and the company’s stock took a tumble.
Women have a lot of power, and when it comes to selling to them, you must provide them with a positive experience that not only makes them want to come back for more, but also tells her social circle.
Winning Her Business: The Four Motivators Framework
In Chapter 3, Brennan introduces The Four Motivators Framework, which breaks down the key motivators that influence a woman’s purchasing decisions. According to Brennan, your customer wants to feel:
–Connected to you, your brand, and your business,
–Inspired to buy from you,
–Confident in their buying decision, and
–Appreciated for their business.
There is never just one way to do business, but if you can infuse the four motivators (Brennan dives deep into each of them in the book), you will find success in getting your women customers to buy from you, and also to buy from you more than once.
Throughout the book, Brennan features case studies from companies of all kinds, be it the Minnesota Vikings, Lexus, Sephora, Always There Dental Care, Innovative Office Solutions, and more. These companies utilize The Four Motivators Framework not just to cater to women, but to their clientele as a whole.
Each chapter also includes detailed key takeaways, and actions steps you can take, immediately, to integrate the concepts of The Four Motivators Framework into your business.
Winning Her Business: How NOT To Cater To Female Shoppers
Casual sexism has been commonplace in sales for just about ever, and it’s the easiest way to lose a sale.
Don’t treat women is being less knowledgeable or less capable because of her gender. Also, don’t treat a woman differently based on her age, and really don’t treat them as less capable if they’re shopping with someone of the male gender.
Have you prepared to buy a car only to be told that the best way to get a good deal is to bring a man with you?
Yeah, that’s not cool. And Brennan actually talks about what the car company Lexus is doing to make that less of a problem, and I’m a BIG fan of the idea. I’m not in the market for a new car at the moment, but if my option is to be treated like an infant for trying to buy myself a vehicle, or being treated like I know what I’m doing and what I want, then I’m going to go with the latter.
Other red flags that will immediately turn a woman off from ever wanting to buy from you is commenting on her appearance (duh). It should go without saying that that’s important, but clearly Brennan felt the need to point that out. Even at a place like Sephora, which clearly knows how to cater to women, you know that the first thing off the bat when you walk in, an associate isn’t going to comment on how your foundation doesn’t match or if you look like death because you don’t even have makeup on.
Also, you can read in the introduction a particularly embarrassing interaction a woman (not Brennan) had at a hotel in Miami while on a business trip with her older, male boss (I’m sure you know where this is going). Don’t be like that hotel associate, ever. Seriously.
Winning Her Business: How To Cater To Female Shoppers
Now that I’ve gone over what NOT to do (common sense, people), let’s talk about what you SHOULD do to cater to female shoppers. And, of course, these tips apply to all consumers, not just women.
If you’re working one-on-one with clients, it’s important to personalize. Let your clients tell you what they want. They’re the ones who should be doing most of the talking. You listen, you learn, and you make it clear you’re taking notes. Maintain eye contact (as best you can if it’s through a computer), and make sure your client knows that you are listening to them and what they want, rather than what you may want for them.
It’s also very important to be aware of how much of their time you’re taking. Be sure to check in with them and ask, “Is now a good time to talk?” Or, “How are we doing on time?” If they give you a time limit, you better stick to it to the letter. You want to make sure they know that you are on their schedule, not the other way around.
Always exceed expectations. Remember those courses I talked about earlier? They all come with bonuses. So, not only are women getting the all-in-one education they’re looking for, but they’re getting more. In fact, sometimes they’re getting more of the things they didn’t know they needed.
Always go the extra mile (within what you are capable of offering).
Winning Her Business: Required Chapters
Required chapters from Winning Her Business are definitely the chapters covering The Four Motivators Framework (Chapters 4-7). These chapters dive deep into each of the four motivators and really go into how business utilize them and how you can too.
Additionally, Chapter 8 is titled Top Trends Driving Women’s Buying Patterns: A Roadmap to Exceeding Customer Expectations. Not only does the chapter cover buying patterns for women, but it also touches on the future of buying patterns (aka children), and a demographic that often feels invisible: the active adult community (also known as 55+). That’s also the chapter that discusses exceeding expectations, like I mentioned in the section above.
I also highly recommend reading through all the case studies, because they’re amazing and incredibly informative, along with Brennan’s introduction at the beginning of the book.
More From The Required Reading Series
Looking for more from Required Reading? Here are the rest of the books featured in the series.
The Next Steps
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