“How did I spend double what I had budgeted?” Is that scenario familiar? Today, more than ever, many women find themselves up against sellers determined to squeeze every penny out of their wallets. The reason is very simple. Worldwide, women now make up the largest buying group in existence.
Female buyers, beware
Many companies are working overtime to understand what women really need and want from their products and services. They are also striving to sell in ways that fit a woman’s unique buying style.
Unfortunately, in addition to the conscientious sellers trying to hone in on a woman’s needs, there are countless vendors tripping over themselves in hopes of making a quick buck. They have caught on to the fact that there is significant spending power in a woman’s wallet.
Even if the seller doesn’t have exactly what a woman needs, they’re determined to sell her something…anything. They see the opportunity as ripe for cashing in—at a woman’s expense.
Give voice to your opinions
Should you approach the buying experience as if preparing for a battle? No. However, as women we do need to get more comfortable in stating with confidence what will and won’t work for us.
Saying NO hasn’t always been easy for women. Throughout history, speaking out about what we did or didn’t want often meant standing out—and not in a good way. Many societies view women as a calm presence in the world. Traditionally part of our role has been to keep the waters smooth. We are revered as the mediators and peacekeepers of the human condition, of which we can be proud. That is, until we pay the metaphorical price.
Saying NO can be uncomfortable. The common fear is that saying NO will offend someone. Worse yet, saying NO could alienate us from others. To avoid creating any hard feelings or difficult situations, many women will steer clear of saying NO, regardless of the cost.
Maybe I will and maybe I won’t
Women can be the mistresses of ways to skim around issues. We should get an award for the number of carefully crafted ways we can indirectly say NO without ever uttering the letters N and O.
The predicament this creates is one in which our indirect communication only points out that we can be swayed into saying YES. When a woman doesn’t set a definitive boundary, what she consciously or unconsciously communicates is that her stand isn’t a firm one. Sellers know that moving her from an indirect NO to a direct YES is an easy probability. Many sellers are up for that challenge.
Avoid sending mixed messages
We can’t fix what we don’t recognize. Women tend to use qualifiers when we speak. Qualifiers can be words or statements that instantly change the message about how certain we are about something, the four most common being “sort of,” “kind of,” “I think,” and “I guess.” Most of us are unaware of how often we slip into our sentences these phrases that scream out “I’m really not sure about my decisions.” When we do utter them, they quickly reveal how a woman really feels. Just as quickly, they alert the seller to turn up the heat in order to make a sale.
Those sellers are waiting to hear qualifying statements like these:
- “I like this house. There are many things that could sort of work for our family.”
- “You’re right. It’s a good color on me, even though I was kind of thinking of trying something else.”
- “I think this product will work.”
- “I guess I could try it and see if I like it.”
Taking a stand
There are gracious ways to deliver a NO:
Some sellers won’t take NO for an answer, at least not right away. Your best course of action in this situation is not to defend your position. Your explanations will only provide an opening for a persistent seller to mount a counter-selling attack. As an alternative, keep repeating the statement, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Eventually you’ll be heard.
If you run across a seller who does have your interests at heart, they may offer more products and services, even after you’ve graciously said NO. Even so, if you sense they are truly committed to finding what’s right for you, hold on to that seller for life. You’ve found a gem.
The best way to ensure that you aren’t oversold is to deliver a clear and direct NO. In doing so, you set boundaries for yourself.
Becoming more aware of your communication patterns allows you to communicate more effectively. It also makes saying NO, graciously, much easier. Now you are doing business on your own terms—under NO uncertain terms.