Women-Winning Sales Scripts

woman on cell phone at office

Has this ever happened to you?

I was in the middle of an important work project when the phone rang. I did not recognize the number, but it was a local number, so I answered it in case it was something important.

It wasn’t.

It was my insurance company calling to “offer” (aka try to get me to buy) their roadside assistance program.  The offer was for two months free.

Why so many sales scripts fail to convert women

Here’s what went wrong…. Continue reading

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How to Talk About Your Customer Service

Customer Service

How many times have you seen a company tout their customer service?

“Our outstanding customer service…..”

“We’re completely focused on providing the best customer service……”

“You can count on excellent customer service…..”

Blah, blah, blah, blah……

The promise of “excellent customer service” may sound good to companies, but it doesn’t mean much to the average consumer.   They’ve heard it all before.   And too many companies don’t fulfill their promise.

Case in point – The other day I heard my former cable service provider claim they had excellent customer service.

I laughed out loud.

Get specific about your customer service

Specifics are always stronger than generalities.  This is especially true if you are using a cliché like, “excellent customer service.” Continue reading

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How Credit Unions Can Connect with Women

how credit unions can connect with women

What do women care about, perhaps even more than money?  Health.

I recently read interesting research that says there is a direct link between finances and health.  It makes sense.   When you look at life holistically (as so many women do), you see how different areas of your life impact each other.

Credit unions looking to connect with women should pay big-time attention to this research.

You can read about the research and how it’s being applied in the Credit Union Magazine article – “Jumiya: There’s a Direct Link Between Health and Finances.”

Funded by 46 credit unions and five state credit union leagues, the study’s results show that when individuals are healthier, they’re less likely to slide
into delinquency, default, or bankruptcy.

A Florida-based credit union is putting into practice some insights from a recent discovery: Consumers’ health and finances are intimately linked.

“We have a lot of retirees in Florida, but we also have a very young, fit population as well,” says Joe Brancucci, CEO $1.6 billion asset GTE Financial Credit Union in Tampa, Fla. “In California, you have similar positives. People want to be fit and healthy, especially baby boomers. There’s a whole culture around it.”

I immediately thought, “Holy customer engagement opportunity Batman!” What a great way for financial companies to connect with women!   Women are all about health.  They are constantly looking for ways to improve the health of themselves and their families.

“Get Fit” Program

GTE’s Brancucci shared how his credit union is implementing the research into a successful program:

Keeping financial difficulties at bay is at the heart of GTE Financial’s “Get Fit” program. Members can use a smartphone app to track how much they walk every day, merging the results into their account online.

They can redeem “steps” for rewards, such as special coupons to local businesses or cash.

“In January and February, our members logged 78.7 million steps, or about 39,350 miles,” Brancucci says. “We’re also trying to attract a younger set of members with this. So far, they think it’s the coolest thing since sliced bread.”

As of March, GTE Financial was the nation’s only credit union that officially rolled out a customized version for its members with the help of Walkmore, a team of Silicon Valley technologists.

Now that’s exciting stuff.  (FYI, Walkmore is doing a lot of interesting work.  go check them out.)   Credit unions could use this to attract women AND Gen Y customers in their prime borrowing years.

Here’s a video promoting the program.

Why the video works

I think this is a persuasive video.   They use animation/illustration. They dramatize the problem.  The video is simple and memorable.    I like the use of a younger-sounding voiceover guy, instead of the usual deep voice professional announcer.  It makes the video much more relatable.

Using pets in advertising is a winning formula.  I love the use of the dog in the video and the focus on the benefits of walking your dog.

Missed opportunities to reach women and younger people

I do think there’s an opportunity to create another video aimed at women and young people.  Here’s how you could do that:

In this commercial, the credit union representative is an old grey-haired white guy in a suit.    I would love to seen them break through that stereotype here and show a younger person, or a female as the credit union representative.

Next, if you are going to show an overweight person, then shame them, you better NOT feature a woman.   I understand why they chose an overweight man.    (Though I’d be curious to see how the commercial tests with that audience).   But how could you make a woman the hero of the spot?

You could dramatize the benefit instead of the problem.  Talk about the person she wants to be.

Tap into the power of self-identity

Some of the strongest brands in the world know a secret – brand is all about self-identity.   Have you ever met an Apple fan who wasn’t proud to be an Apple fan?  Customers publically tout their affiliation with a brand because they want the world to know,”This is who I am.”

BMW – I am a person who drives the ultimate driving machine.

Whole Foods – I  am someone who believes in organic, healthy food and a sustainable environment.

Michelob Ultra – I am an active and fit person who likes to have fun and adventure, but I also care about my health.  I live the ultra life.

Watch this commercial to see what I  mean.

People watch this commercial and think – Yes, that’s me!

Look for non-stereotypical ways to include women in your credit union marketing

Again, the health tie-in with this campaign is awesome.  It’s a no-brainer for reaching women and sought after Gen Y customers.  I hope other credit unions will build on the success of this initial campaign and create even more innovative marketing materials.

P.S. If you do decide to target women and Geny Y, make sure you follow through with your website.   Right now the GTE Website “Get Fit” landing page features an older man.

GTE Get Fit landing page

If you want to reach out to women, make sure you have images of women as well as men.

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Do Women Respond to “Joke” Ads?

One of the best ways to make an ad memorable and entertaining is to use humor.    The question I am often asked is – do men and women find the same material funny?

Most humor is universal.  But men and women do have some differences in the type of humor they respond to.

Men often tell jokes or stories that use “put-down” humor.  Someone is the butt of the joke.  Women may not respond as well to this type of humor.  Here’s an example from Direct TV.

Direct TV – Dad Punched Over a Can of Soup

The writing on this campaign is very clever.  But the problem with this particular ad is it actually shows the older “dad” getting punched.   Women may not be as likely as men to find this funny.

Does this mean all “joke” ads will fail with women?  No.  But while men may focus on telling funny jokes, women often focus on telling funny stories.  While the humor in the Direct TV is farcical and over the top, the following commercial by Kia is more of a “slice of life/funny story” commercial. Continue reading

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New Hope for Images of Women in Stock Photography

Have you ever gone to a stock photography site to find an image of a woman for an ad? If you are like me, after about an hour you lose your will to live.

Here’s a recent example:

I was looking for a 30-something woman in workout clothes standing in a confident position. Not sexy, not in a revealing top, just attractive and confident, hands on her hips, facing the camera. I used terms like “woman workout.” You would think I would have hundreds of good choices.

I found exactly 2 barely usable images.

Here’s an example of one of the results
shutterstock image - workout ballsIn what ad in what universe would this image ever be used?

Sadly, this is not an isolated incident.  Trying to find contemporary, non-stereotypical, non-sexualized or non-frivolous images of women in stock photography is ridiculously hard.

LeanIn.org and Getty offer new images of women

So you can imagine my excitement when I read in the New York Times that LeanIn.org, Sherly Sandberg’s organization, and Getty Images are pairing up to change women’s portrayal in stock photography.

To try to remedy the problem, Ms. Sandberg’s nonprofit organization, LeanIn.org, is to announce on Monday a partnership with Getty Images, one of the biggest providers of stock photography, to offer a special collection of images that it says represent women and families in more empowering ways.

“When we see images of women and girls and men, they often fall into the stereotypes that we’re trying to overcome, and you can’t be what you can’t see,” Ms. Sandberg said in an interview.

The new library of photos shows professional women as surgeons, painters, bakers, soldiers and hunters. There are girls riding skateboards, women lifting weights and fathers changing babies’ diapers. Women in offices wear contemporary clothes and hairstyles and hold tablets or smartphones — a far cry from the typical stock photos of women in 1980s power suits with a briefcase.

You can go see the Lean In collection of images here.  You’ll find more authentic images of women and men.

This is a positive move forward not only for marketers, but for women in general.

“One of the quickest ways to make people think differently about something is to change the visuals around it,” said Cindy Gallop, who started the United States branch of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, the advertising agency. “The thing about these images is they work on an unconscious level to reinforce what people think people should be like.”

Here’s hoping my future stock photo searches will be far more successful and uplifting.

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Adversaries into Allies – Bob Burg Shares his Secrets

Adversaries into Allies

Let me set the scene….

You are a store owner.  One of your store managers, who is normally very responsible,  forgot to set the alarm on the security system in the store before leaving.

You confront him about it – “Jerry, you didn’t set the security alarm last night!!  What were you thinking?  We could have lost our entire inventory? I could fire you for this!”

Response you are expecting:

“Gosh, I’m really sorry.  That was really stupid of me.  I”ll never do it again.”

Response you get:

“Well nobody broke in.”

The goal of your communication was to make sure Jerry never forgot to set the alarm again, to make him understand the severity of his mistake.   And yet he is arguing for the opposite point of view, that it was no big deal.

The problem:

You are involved in situations like this every single day.   You want a specific outcome from a situation, and yet you don’t get it.  The problem is NOT the other person, the problem is your communication.
Continue reading

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Best Marketing To Women Awards 2013

So here we are…..another year and another long list of amazing marketing to women efforts to applaud.

Said no one, ever.

Sigh….one day.

While 2013 may have seen more marketing to women failures than marketing to women successes – can you say Lululemon? – there were some brave, inspiring, stereotype-thumping marketing to women efforts in 2013 that deserve to be applauded. Continue reading

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Lululemon – How NOT to Market to Women

Lululemon co-founder Chip Wilson steps down

Lululemon co-founder Chip Wilson

For a brand that has done such an outstanding  job of marketing to women, it is amazing how quickly that brand can be seriously damaged, almost to the point of no return.

Yup – one comment can torpedo an entire brand.

Well, one comment followed by one of the worst “apologies” I’ve ever seen.

Mistake #1 – Bashing your customers

It all started when Lululemon co-founder Chip Wilson made the following comment in an interview with Bloomberg about problems with Lululemon yoga pants that were too see through.

“Some women’s bodies just don’t actually work for Lululemon’s yoga pants.”

“It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time and how much they use it.” Continue reading

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Selling To Women – Give Her An Out

I recently received a lovely invitation to attend a dinner and seminar on retirement planning from a local financial firm.    I was very interested in both the seminar and the dinner at one of my favorite restaurants.    So did I reply “yes” to the invitation?

No – I did not.


The company has a form to fill out when you RSVP, and there was a question in that form that stopped me cold and ultimately caused me to abandon the RSVP process and not attend the event.   What was the question?

financial seminar RSVP form

financial seminar RSVP form

Can you guess which question was a gigantic stop sign? Continue reading

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What Marketers Can Learn From Catching Fire

So it’s no surprise, at least to me, that the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire killed it at the box office last weekend.   Catching Fire set a new November box office record taking in $161.1 million last Thursday through Sunday.

In case you live under a rock and have not heard of The Hunger Games, it is a trilogy written by Suzanne Collins, which has been made into two movies so far.  The hero and lead is Katniss Everdeen.  That’s right – the star and lead is female.

I guarantee you, if this script had gone straight to a Hollywood exec, the first thing they would have done was change the lead from female to male.   It is ONLY because the series sold over 65 million copies that Katniss was not changed to Kevin.

Note:  The Hunger Games Trilogy has outsold ALL the Harry Potter books.

I bring this up because in the media coverage of the success of Catching Fire, people seem amazed that a movie that wasn’t aimed at men could be successful. Continue reading

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