Men Should Return to Their Strength – To Direct Selling!

June 28, 2009 by  Filed under: Sales 

In a recent article I mentioned there is research reported by the New York Times that implies that we are better off selling men our riskiest proposals in the morning, when testosterone levels are at their highest.

My piece spawned some suggestions. One reader asked if I could elaborate on male and female differences in buying behavior.

I cannot. While interesting, this isn’t my field.

However, I can offer an observation about a vital difference in the way women and men like to SELL. This was highlighted for me as I was reading a post on a social networking site for authors that asked what the best way is to “attract” editors and publishers to one’s book projects.

That word, “attract” flagged my attention. Next, I noticed that a woman posted this discussion question.

Women, it seems to me, are more likely to sell through attraction, by using subtlety to lure prospects into their lairs.

Men are different. We are impatient. We would prefer to hunt for a specific person and to make a proposal.

Attraction is indirect. It hails from the “If you build it they will come,” Field of Dreams style of communication.

Men disbelieve that anyone will show up, unless we pummel them and drag them exactly to where we want them to be. But let me be specific.

I sell my book projects by telephone to major publishers and to a lesser degree, to literary agents, for representation. This works so well that I cannot overstate its benefits.

Selling by phone also flouts accepted wisdom that editors hate being communicated with this way. Of course they hate it. They find a real person in real time making a real pitch hard to reject.

I don’t “attract” people; indeed, I probably repel many more than I attract. That will happen if you make numerous sales contacts that are results oriented, that eventuate in a yes or no reply.

I believe the contemporary emphasis on social marketing is informed by a more feminine dynamic, by the same preference for attraction, and relative distaste for directness and persuasive showdowns. Yet many of the same “attractors,” whether male or female, are puzzled over the fact that networking seems to result in so few dollars changing hands.

“How can we make this very indirect medium pay?” is the 900-pound question grazing in the corner like an elephant. This is especially challenging, if you abide by the folkway of social networking that says you should never use a “hard sell,” putting people on the spot, to generate revenue or to build your clientele.

Let’s get back to my example.

I sell best when I sell directly, especially by phone, enabling me to have genuinely interactive encounters, in real time.

Those that are trying to realize a direct return from an indirect medium, such as Linked In, Facebook, or Twitter, are kidding themselves. It simply won’t work the same way as the phone, or direct mail, or direct response advertising in hustling products and services out the door.

When men, especially, awaken to the fact that they have been wasting their time online seeking business indirectly, while eschewing their penchant for directness, they’ll return to those media that enable them to operate from their strengths.

And when that occurs, I think we’ll witness a golden age of selling, and this can only help the overall economy.

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