Women in Leadership

Direct Sales Tips: What Do Women Want?

Jane Deuber asked:

Surely you’ve noticed. Go to any company recruiting or training event or attend any national convention and without a doubt, you will see… women are the driving force behind the direct selling industry.

Now before anyone gets uncomfortable or moves on to the next article, let us recognize that men, without question, have and will continue to play a significant role in the growth of the industry. Men bring a much-needed perspective to both the corporate and field level. But the truth is that if your organization mirrors the national statistics put out by the DSA, more than 70% of your distributors are women.

Why is that? First and foremost, women are natural networkers, nurturers, and jugglers. They are driven by an “inclusive vision” that represents a better life for themselves, their families, their companies and the people within their organizations. Studies conducted by the Direct Selling Women’s Association found that above all, women are drawn to direct selling because it enables them to wear the many hats of individual, mother, wife, leader, friend and successful business person without giving up their most prized possession – their freedom!

Notice that it is not the promise of “big money” or the hype of long-term residual income that brings them “in mass.” Rather it is because a direct selling career meets their very real needs, right now, in a personally significant way that draws them to this industry. In short, direct selling offers a viable and lucrative alternative that enables women to fulfill their roles, grow as individuals and create financial stability for themselves and their families.

Now, more than any time in history, women are putting their high-powered careers on the back burner and choosing to stay at home with their children. Sadly, this loss of a second income creates a heavy financial burden on most households. In fact, it has been said that 80% of all home foreclosures could have been avoided with just $100 per month in additional income – a benefit easily enjoyed by even a part-time direct seller.

Why is this important to you as a leader? Because, according to the US Census Bureau 2000 statistics, there are over 144 million women here in the United States, of which, only 8 million are in direct selling. We have not yet begun to scratch the surface of possibility! We need to pose a “collective question” and ask ourselves how we can engage more women in the magic of this industry!

The DSWA is so intrigued by this vision that they have set as a primary objective to see that more women join the direct selling wave this year than in any year in its history! How can you play a part in bringing more women to the industry and better yet, your organization? The answer is quite simple… you absolutely must understand what women want.

What do women want? It’s a question that has puzzled men for years and is now being asked by every company offering a product or service since Faith Popcorn, author and trend expert, shared that women control 80% of household spending today. This question is such a hot topic that it even inspired a Hollywood movie script, headed by none other than Mel Gibson, who, despite the antics, never truly discovered the answer to the question.

Ok, Let’s begin by looking at what we do know about women. According to Faith Popcorn…

• A woman opens a new business every 60 seconds.

• Women are leaving corporate America at twice the rate of men.

• Women consumers control 80% of household spending.

• Women are juggling more now than in any other time in history and they are looking for a way to simplify their lives.

• Women are masters at multi-tasking, able to switch roles and responsibilities as quickly as they change their shoes.

• Women are looking for work alternatives that allow them to be home and maintain a connection to the world outside.

• Women are moving up in leadership positions and becoming top producers in companies around the world. And the list goes on and on! Whether you are a distributor building a large organization or a corporate CEO steering your company into the future, you need to become a student of the wants, needs and challenges of women today.

Here are some places you can start.

1. Read Faith Popcorn’s book, EVEolution. Never before has anyone so clearly and expertly shown us inside a woman’s heart and mind. Every chapter is filled with suggestions and insights that can revolutionize your approach to sales and recruiting.

2. Ask more questions. It may be a mystery to you, but it is not a mystery to them. Women know what they want and they will tell you if they believe your interests are genuine and well-intentioned.

3. Talk less, listen more. Ask for the thoughts, opinions and suggestions of the women on your team. You may be surprised that they already have the answer you’ve been looking for.

4. Walk a day in their shoes. High heels and stockings are optional! Recognize and appreciate the multiple roles and responsibilities that women juggle every day and let this help you see them for the strong, capable women they truly are.

5. Build relationships, not hierarchies. Women want and expect their business relationships to be rewarding, enjoyable and enriching. Take the time necessary to know them for the dynamic individuals they are. For those of you who took a moment to jot down these words of wisdom – congratulations, you are on your way to finding the answer to this important question! For those of you who did not, that’s OK, we’ll catch you next month. Because the truth of the matter is… patience happens to be one of our strong suits as well.

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