What Women Want

I’m a 27-year-old male who has recently started a direct sales business with Avon. Sales are very good but there are some women who are leery of buying from a young man. Do you have any suggestions on how I can ease their minds and let them know I am competent?
— J. Brown, Milwaukee

I applaud you for venturing into what some may consider uncharted territory for men. However, as you have realized, you are not alone. An Avon spokesperson says the company has seen a rising trend in the number of male sales representatives not just within its ranks but in other companies as well.

Men can successfully sell beauty products for companies such as Avon and Color Me Beautiful. Since the sexes do not speak the same language in terms of how we interpret messages, take a training course or workshop specific to marketing/selling to the opposite gender. Also read Winning the Toughest Customer: The Essential Guide to Selling to Women (Kaplan Business; $19.95) by Delia Passi.

Ask longtime female clients for a critique of your approach to help identify potential trouble spots. And because word-of-mouth referrals are the best way to get new clients who already know what to expect, make sure current buyers encourage others to seek you out for ordering products. You can combat the apprehension of others by concentrating on your personal and professional growth.

Psychologist Lisa Slade Martin recommends the following items to help relieve anxious thoughts:

  • Thoughts and Feelings: Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life by Matthew McKay, Martha Davis, and Patrick Fanning (New Harbinger Publications; $19.95)
  • Coping With Anxiety: 10 Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety, Fear & Worry by Edmund J. Bourne and Lorna Garano (New Harbinger Publications; $12.95)