The Female Advantage
By Josh Tolley
In today’s world we constantly see “experts” on television talking about equality when it comes to women in the workforce. While that is an issue that needs to be addressed, I also see the way it can poison a woman’s mind into thinking that she should want to be equal when it comes to business ownership also. Why settle for equal when you have the advantage?!
I am very excited about the rapid growth in the number of businesses that are started and ran by women. The problem I have is seeing woman not taking advantage of their skills and abilities as women, or worse yet, trying to down play or ignore those advantages as if it were something to be kept hidden. Non-sense! Business is about winning, if you are not winning you will not stay in business, so it is time that business instruction focus on the advantages you come to the table with. I’m not saying men don’t have their talents and skills that are uniquely masculine but what I am saying, in a broader sense, is that it is not bad to be different and it’s time we man up (or woman up in your case) and use our beautiful and unique aspects of who/what we are to achieve the goals we want.
There are certain areas that most woman will find themselves better equipped than their male counterparts, those are the areas of focus today. We will save the areas of weakness and overcoming them for another time. I have often stated that men logically process emotion and women emotionally process logic. While I am a huge fan of logic, I can see the logical advantage of emotional, rather than logical processing in certain areas.
All sales are based, in part, on emotion. You may have read everything about your new car, how many mph it gets, the professional reviews, crash test results, etc. But, why did you choose red? Why did it have to have to be “cute?” In the area of cars, if we purchased based on logic there would only be three types of automobiles: Trucks to do work, sedans to carry families, coupes to transport two or less people. There would be one color, no options, and the commercials would be radically different.
This emotional “trigger” is involved in EVERY purchase, and in the vast majority of sales results, it is the largest factor (more on this in my next book). Because of this proven fact, I find it mind boggling that so much of the sales efforts from small-medium business people focus on why they logically should purchase your product or service. This is where The Female Advantage comes in to play. A woman has a much better grasp of the emotional realm. If she can learn how to make an emotional anchor between her client and her product/service, then learn how to trigger that anchor by brining herself into the emotional equation then her odds of a sale goes through the roof!
Where the untrained male will grunt out facts and purposely try to avoid making an emotional connection (as it goes against his male nature), the woman can outwit and outsell her male competition.
Similar to what we discussed under the “sales” banner, marketing is based almost purely on emotion! Beer commercials show hot women and tone men having fun, they do not talk about drunk driving, alcohol’s effect on lowering testosterone, or a bunch of dudes in a dark bar looking 18 months pregnant. So emotional is marketing that there are shoe and athletic gear ads where 58 seconds into the ad you find yourself asking, “what is this a commercial for?”
I am a HUGE fan of proper marketing. As small-medium sized business owners, most companies don’t have the funds to drop millions with an ad agency and hire experts to advise and craft their marketing campaigns so it is left up to the ones running the business itself. Again, this is where The Female Advantage comes into play. Instead of thinking logically about putting as much information into an ad, or making it too simple, use your feminine thought process and ask yourself, “what would an add have to contain to touch my heart while using my product/service.” For example; let’s say you are a woman who runs a health club. Do you think people join health clubs because they want to keep their blood pressure and body fat percentage down? No, otherwise they would already be fit and a member of a club. Instead, what sells health and wellness? Sex? Yes. Love? Yes. Filling that need of feeling special? Yes. So an ad that contains the message of “join my club and fill this emotional holes in your life” would do much better than “join my club and get your blood sugar at a healthy recommended level.”
Am I saying to play on emotion? YES! We are emotional beings (yes, even men, believe it or not) and you are marketing to emotional beings, so marketing in a non-emotional way would be the wrong course of action. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to have an ad that has a little boy saying “I eat at Greenleaf restaurant every night because that is where I last seen my grandma. My grandma, who escaped from an Iranian work camp just to give birth to my premature mommy,.” That would be emotional abuse and inappropriate. Not to mention, it would most likely backfire. But, to have a little boy sitting on his grandma’s lap eating his ravioli and laughing would be just fine.
Odds are, you are going to be negotiating most of the time with a man. The male brain has a program in which it is hard for him to do harm to a woman (that’s why wife beaters, rapists, and such are seen as the lowest of the low in society). As a woman, you can go into a negotiation with this knowledge and use it to your advantage to gain the results you are trying to achieve. How do you do this? By prepping the negotiation with small talk before it begins. “John, I just want to say that I appreciate you meeting with us today. We here at XYZ, Inc look at you with respect I just want to say that your example of leadership has made you the only man who we feel we can negotiate with that will not take advantage of us.”
Note: This might be too much of an over share and I will no doubt hear about “giving away a huge advantage.” But the truth is the truth and as someone who wants to see small business succeed, it is my desire to equip you with real tools that work, not canned fluff you get from the “expert” at the woman’s business expo. (No offense to the expo’s they are great, but you get my point)
I was just having a conversation earlier about the cost of turn-over to a small business. If you are running your business correctly, turn-over SHOULD be expensive! It shows that you are investing in your most valuable asset.
Again, The Female Advantage is the emotional aspect. I have a great training program and a huge part of that is the development of your staff. I would be lying to tell you that emotion doesn’t play a roll and I would be lying if I told you that men are as equally gifted in making their staff feel important and needed. Most men, even outside the workplace, are emotionally “clogged”, which is why they men have the issues they have with their wives, girlfriends, children, parents, and what have you.
As someone who goes against most “human resource” training, and with good reason, what I’m about to tell you is all but ignored when it comes to this topic. Make your employees feel special! Bring cookies for their birthday, remember to ask how their kids’ baseball game turned out, and take time to listen when they are talking about “non-business” topics. I laugh at the “experts” who write these employee manuals and they say that non-business topics should not be talked about in the work place. Until you hire all robots, what emotionally affects your employee OUTSIDE the workplace affects the level of productivity you will receive from them IN the workplace.
Legal Note: Do not cross issues that you have not business of crossing. I cannot, will not, should not tell you what those lines look like.
This should go without saying and has been written about for what seems like forever. Women are generally better at fitting more into a day than a man is. What I want you to do is not take this point, which everyone has already made, and just sit on it, but rather use it to your strategic advantage!
If you know your competition is ran by a man and you have a trade show coming up, don’t just settle for having a booth like he has. Have an enhanced book with a special guest, have break-out sessions offered exclusively from your company to trade show participants. In this example it would keep people from having the time to spend with him, establish your expertise, and most importantly, these things will keep him trying to keep up with you, instead of the other way around, and feel as if the world is unfair to men!
These are just a few of the areas where I train women to use their assets and abilities to gain achievement. There are many more, and there are weaknesses too that should be addressed so women can overcome them. I should also mention again, men have their own set of unique attributes and qualities that give them advantages too.
Bottom line, instead of spending what has amounted to decades trying to become “equal” in business, let’s now focus on “unique” and “victorious” regardless of who or what you are!
Josh Tolley is a business and behavioral strategist. His latest book, “Quit Your Job or Die: Discover the Importance of Self-Employment” has been a top ten best seller for over 12 weeks. His teachings have been implemented by hundreds of people and dozens of businesses around the globe. He is ranked as one of the top 100 business and personal growth trainers in the world and is the developer of many human interaction technologies. Josh does take on a VERY limited number of personal clients, to discuss this or to book Josh for a seminar in your area contact Mike with The Annex Group at 626-893-4917 or firstname.lastname@example.org