If you’re in the retail business, your holiday sales strategy will be different for men than women. In case you hadn’t noticed, most guys don’t start their Christmas shopping until it’s dangerously close to go time. Christmas Eve is like the unofficial Man’s Day to shop. It’s not that these men are lazy or irresponsible; shopping is a chore. They want to deal with as few people as necessary, and be in and out as fast as possible.
They also, however, want to choose gifts that prove their love and appreciation.
This is a magical combination for a retailer, but only if you’re ready for it. Here’s how to do that.
Get his attention
As men walk around in search of gifts, they are bombarded with messages and displays. While women are more likely to investigate everything they see so they can weigh their options, men reserve their attention for the Holy Grail. There’s no time to waste, so first direct their attention with the right signage. Flag them down by relating to how they think.
For holiday gifts, generational shopping rules do not apply. Men generally feel that price = love. The more they spend on a gift, the more love is conveyed – at least that’s how men see it. Bob Phipps suggests appealing to this line of thinking in his article, “Retailers: How to Sell to Men During the Holidays.”
He writes, “Are you a toy store? Consider a sign over the most expensive toy that reads, ‘Yes, you can buy their love.’”
It gets to the point, and it is not insulting. You don’t have to blatantly comment on the price, though. Men want their gifts to be a homerun.
If you sell jewelry, you could hang a sign over an expensive piece that says, “‘2014 – that’s the year you bought me my favorite necklace!’” This suggests that future her (or him) will still love this gift.
Whatever the item is, identify what a man would want to get out of buying it and advertise that. If you can make it funny, that’s even better.
Speaking of humor, making him laugh is a great way to approach him in the store. It will engage him and let him take his guard down. He can admit he needs help, and you can build a rapport with him. Now you are in a position to truly help him out and upsell.
Keep his attention
There are certain things men need from sales associates in stores. The first is that you have to interact with them, but just the right amount. If no one helps the male customer, he will leave. If you linger, he will leave. Let him know you’re there to help him – establish some trust – and then hang back until he’s ready to ask questions. If you see him studying an item, point out a few things about it. Open the door for communication, but don’t breathe down his neck.
Second, he wants you to make his life easy.
- If you offer gift-wrapping, free installation, or anything that saves him time and energy, mention that right away.
- If you successfully sell him something, ask who else he needs to buy for. He wants to be DONE shopping, and if you can get him there faster, he’ll appreciate it.
- Give him a few options, but no more than two or three. He probably doesn’t know exactly what he wants, so let him know what is available. Let him make his own decision so the gift is still something he picked out, not you.
Make him feel confident in his decision
If he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to get, help convince him that the item he’s looking at is the right one. Some ways to do that:
- Mention your return policy. Remind him that it’s safe to buy because the recipient can always return it.
- If he’s deciding between two things that are equal in his eyes, bring up that return policy again. If he gets something more expensive, than there’s more money to pick out something different.
- If he’s choosing apparel, ask if he knows the right size like it’s OK that he doesn’t. You can always ask him to point out someone who is a similar size to determine the right item. If he’s buying for a woman, remind him he’s in less trouble if he buys too small than if he suggests he thinks she is bigger than she is with an item that is too large. (Again, that return policy makes his life easy.)
- If he’s deciding between two things, you can also suggest he choose the best between the two so he at least has something. It will be easier to return something if he finds a different gift than it will be to come back to the store, find the item, hope it’s in stock, and buy it then.
Selling to men is fun for every holiday, and if you can make it fun and easy for them, too, you’ve got a loyal customer for life. Even after the Christmas season, Valentines Day is right around the corner, and before you know it, Mother’s Day will be here. Prepare now for the men who need your help all year round.
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