Understanding, selling to women

By Helena Smeenk Pritchard | December 8, 2011 | Last updated on December 8, 2011
2 min read

Did you know that women spend 80% to 85% of all monies in the North American economy? If you consider that women spend for their families, their aging parents, buy for their businesses, are buyers for the businesses they work for, and influence the larger family purchases, then this statistic makes sense.

Here is some of the percentage breakdown:

  • 94% of all home furnishings are bought by women
  • 89% of vacation decisions are by women
  • 80% of home improvements are initiated by women
  • 75% of new homes are chosen by women
  • 66% of all personal computers are bought by women
  • 55% of all consumer electronics are bought by women
  • 53% of used cars are purchased or leased by women

But what about when it comes to buying life insurance? A recent Canadian LIMRA study found that:

  • women’s coverage level is only about 69% of men’s coverage
  • 70% of women place more value on life insurance as compared to 62% of men
  • 30% of women are out-earning their husbands, but wives’ life insurance ownership has not increased with their income
  • married households are less likely to buy individual life insurance for the women of the house than they are for the men (Read: Joint life can shortchange clients)

Although record numbers of women are significant financial contributors to the family finances, their life insurance coverage levels have not kept up accordingly. Clearly the need for women to have their own life, critical illness and disability insurance is more important than ever as the loss of their income will have severe repercussions on the family.

One of the ways to sell to women is “make friends first, and then make money.” Also, women put pieces of information together deliberately and intuitively can smell misrepresentation.

LIMRA’s research has verified both statements, but put it this way: “women are more interested in developing a relationship with their advisor than men are. They are more deliberate than men when making the decision to buy life insurance. Advisors should expect to spend more time answering questions and providing educational materials than they might with their male clients.”

What’s the simplest way to sell to women?

Treat them as if they are your best friend or your best friends’ wife. With that perspective, your tone of voice, the questions you ask about their/her values and how you ask the questions will be perfect. And be sure NOT to talk down, sound patronizing or mushy!

Bottom line: you’re going to be one of the first calls made when the worst happens. What kind of news or cheque will you want to be delivering the grieving family?

Helena Smeenk Pritchard has over 36 years of experience in the insurance industry and is the Principal of Helena Smeenk Pritchard & Associates, a leader in “Insurance Know-How” training. Helena publishes a weekly free ‘Did You Know’ newsletter on her site.

Helena Smeenk Pritchard