Marketing blog for Houston web marketing. Strategic marketing and sales promotions.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Review of "The X and Y of Buy: Sell More and Market Better by Knowing How the Sexes Shop" by Elizabeth Pace

This book is unlike any other of the numerous sales training book I’ve ever read. Most of these others are focused on the process of selling, and most of these were probably written at a time when, particularly the B2B sales were sold to men. Times have changed—women now make many B2B decisions, and had always made most of the B2C decisions. This book focuses on the likely (and frequently hidden or understood only to the matching gender salesperson) agendas of the buyers.

The prior-history, sales processes types of books describe sales technique processes such as approach, find the hot button, present benefits, multiple close methods; and these are sales skills in process. But what are the buyers’ unstated goals and what are their preferred styles of buying? This is what Pace’s book answers well. If a seller understands what this books is teaching, and put together with the process methods of the other sales-training books, this will be a highly effective sales method.

Most of the critical reviews I’ve read here complain that Pace is somewhat sexist or her quoted science isn’t right. Pace readily acknowledges 10% of women or 15 to 20% of men think like the other gender, and she then describes the hidden goals and general agendas and style of buying of the remaining 80% to 90%. Of the remaining 90%, there are always still more deviations, so Pace’s observations and recommendations have to be seen as generalizations.

I feel that her observations and recommendations are very astute. It’s unimportant whether her biology-science views of gender differences are true or not, and it’s even less important whether some spheres of the brain are shown to light up with MRI or not. I think it’s very difficult for biology-science to make derive accurate results on these. What is important is that Pace is using these as a communications method for her ideas. As supporting communications (not necessarily scientific truth) evidence for her observations.

Some of Pace’s observations: Women tend to buy based on the benefits to her relationships. Men tend to buy based the benefits to his hero status.
Women tend to buy based on solutions that solve all her relationships’ benefits. Men tend to buy based on solutions that answer their top pressing needs. Women tend to buy by conversing and building bonding-relationship first, and then think it over carefully before buying. Men are more task-oriented first, have different types of bonding relationships and carry less verbal conversations on bonding. Women tend to ask questions to build rapport and then use group-decision making processes. Men tend to ask questions to get factual information and then tend to use individual-contemplation decision making processes. Women’s sales cycles tend to be longer than men’s sales cycles, because her decisions (as it involves the group), are more complicated.

These are all buyer variables that I never had understood, because unlike other selling technique books, none I’ve ever read focused on “how to read the mind”. Pace’s does. Yes, there are lots of flaws with this book, but for understanding what and how people buy—best I’ve ever read.



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