Frank About Women (www.frankaboutwomen.com) specializes in marketing to women. It provides clients with gender-savvy insights, business strategies, and marketing communications programs designed to drive sales and profit growth among female customers and prospects.
When it comes to purchasing luxury products and services, each gender reacts differently. Since many decisions throughout the remodeling process are made by women, and since the remodeling industry is still largely male-dominated, it is worth examining how men and women can better communicate to achieve successful results.
How Women Purchase The motivation behind the high-end purchase differs between men and women. Affluent men gravitate to luxury products that are markers of success. The purchase is about getting the best brand name they can afford as a status symbol.
Women, on the other hand, are motivated to buy products that inspire them and make them feel rewarded in terms of what luxury means to them. Women are inspired by brands that convey a positive, upbeat image or message. They use luxury items as a means of self-discovery — to answer the questions “Who am I?” and “Who do I want to be?” Their response is emotional and multidimensional.
The performance of products and services is important to both genders. But when men purchase luxury goods — a BMW, for example — it's all about the car. The transaction or buying process isn't as important. For women, the purchasing experience matters; they want the process of buying a luxury product to reflect a sense of luxury as well.
Women focus on context before content. The upscale female customer will evaluate how she's being treated and how the showroom or office looks before she commits to the purchase.
Building Rapport To influence the affluent female customer, you must approach the sale as a relationship, not as a transaction. Engage her by asking: Why do you want to remodel? What do you want to achieve? What about the house do you most cherish?
Ask general questions about her lifestyle or her family's lives, even if they are not directly related to the remodeling project, to establish a rapport. Make her feel valued and important, and customize the remodeling experience based on who she is.
Women do not like a hard sell and do not respond well to attempts to talk them into something that is clearly an upsell for the benefit of your company. They will back off from those situations more than their male counterparts.
Exclusivity Matters For the affluent female customer, price isn't as important as exclusivity. A wealthy customer may go to Target for bargains on certain items because she won't pay a high price for something that's available to middle-income consumers at a moderate price.
One of the biggest myths about luxury clients in general is that because they have money it's easier to get them to pay a high price for something. On the contrary, their wealth makes them picky about what they spend money on.
Today, the marketplace is being infiltrated by products and services that blur the lines between true luxury offerings and high-moderate alternatives. Companies at the high end, such as upscale remodeling firms, must be more creative in offering luxury experiences rather than just high-end products, in order to meet that criterion for exclusivity.
One difference between wealthy female consumers and their middle-income counterparts is that time is more precious to the affluent. A middle-income consumer, for example, will spend more time searching for a bargain. The luxury client is pressed for time and wants efficiency — and that should be a distinguishing feature of the processes and services your company offers.
Finally, keep in mind that most women dislike confrontation. If you say something unappealing or disagreeable, a male client may comment on it to you, giving you a signal to change your approach. A female client, however, is more likely to remain silent about her disapproval or mind change and politely walk away when the meeting is over — but not call your company back again, leaving you wondering what went wrong.
That's all the more reason to develop comfortable relationships built on trust that foster open, clear communication with your affluent clients, whatever their gender.