Our business is nearly 80 percent female, yet the books, and trainings, and systems, and tools are mostly designed and delivered by and for… men. What’s wrong with this picture? The former ‘Ms. Stud’ goes on an insightful and inspired rant concluding that network marketing is a gender thing. So Kim, what is wrong with the male dominated picture of network marketing? I think what’s wrong is it doesn’t represent the numbers— and as far as I know it has never represented the numbers, but it certainly doesn’t represent the numbers of the people that are in the business today. According to the Direct Sales Association (DSA), the industry is comprised of 20 percent men and just 15 percent of the people in the industry are actually full time. So, we have it on two counts, number one, the people that are in the business are primarily women and number two, 85 percent of everyone, including men, are part time. So, this is really an issue about two things— to whom are we speaking, who are we recruiting, who are we training, in terms of the sexes? And the other issue, one that goes hand in hand, is how many people are part time versus full time? NULL What do you mean, ‘they go hand in hand’? They go hand in hand in the sense that when you sit in a meeting room or you listen to a conference call, the people that are being recruited are being enticed by the big income.
The only people making big income are going to be people who do the business on a full time basis or who have done it on a full time basis. That happens to be mostly the guys.
The men have been traditionally the bread-winners and so they’re naturally the ones that are going to be doing stuff full time in almost all cases, except for career women, and they are still pretty much the minority. The business has aimed at the full timers, which is primarily men, because of the way our culture is, even today. It’s not to say women don’t make big money. They have, I did, except for the gentleman who sponsored me, I made more money faster and hit the top faster in my last company than anyone had in the 25 years previously. Kathy Minsky, at Shaklee, is the number one woman over there and has done it faster than anyone ever has, including men and women, in 50 years! So, it’s not like women can’t do it, but there are very few of us— and who really knows what the reason is, but one of them certainly is our social history that men are the bread winners and women raise the family and run the communities and schools and take care of the men. When I hear meetings where they are talking about how you can make 10 grand a month in three months, or six months, or even five grand a month, I hear, “this is a full time effort.” and how many women are going to do a full time effort? I look at the industry and read figures like those published by the DSA and think, “Wow, 85 percent of everyone in the business is part time.” This invites a few questions:
Why are we pitching only full time income? Why do we have recognition for only full time people when it’s primarily part timers?
And on top of that, 80 percent of the people are women, who are the supporting cast for the men up there in the front of the room. So, we have that and then we have the language that’s used— we’re gonna ‘explode’ our business, we’re gonna ‘ignite’ this, we’re gonna ‘beat’ so and so… women don’t talk about things exploding. The ones who play the exploding game and the big noise game, they’re the boys. Women don’t react very well to that and we’re told, “you know, you’re just not committed; you don’t have the belief… that’s bullsh-t! Women pick up the pieces after boys explode stuff; so even the language that’s used is very different. There’s an interesting book called, Marketing to Women, by a gal named Marti Barletta. I have a little annotation about it on my website. Her book was written for the overall marketing world, not the network marketing world per se, and she talked about the differences, in general, between men and women. There are some very interesting companies, like Nike, that have taken her quite literally and have changed, completely, the way they market, so that they stop missing all the women. This is a lesson that I think our industry definitely could learn. One of the things she talks about is that women put people first. In terms of marketing, “user focus trumps product focus”, that’s her quote. She says, “Men, for example, may be interested in widgets and gadgets of cars and high tech, while a woman’s eyes glaze over as she starts looking around for someone to talk to. What the product means to the person who uses it is far more likely to seize her attention and hold her interest. Play your cards right. Just as in poker, cards with people on them will beat cards with numbers every time.” And this is an interesting thing since we’re talking of features and benefits and all of that. I’m not much into features, because it’s all in the minds of the listener, not the speaker. When somebody is trying to sell something usually you’ll get the features, like the car goes x thousand miles an hour, it has x number of tires, you hear about the things about it. But women want to know, could you use it to go to the beach and can you put the dog into it. Is it easy to clean and will it still look pretty good when I take it to my real estate showing?
It’s about how people use the product which is something women tend to talk about. How do you actually use it rather than how much horsepower does it have.
Same thing with computers, it’s the guys who sit around and talk about how many gigahertzes it has. I’m a techie person, so I’d learn how to talk like that too but women tend to ask, what can I do with it? Can I make a grocery list? Can I upload pictures to it? Can I take it to the beach? Women are more focused on the use of an item. Now Marti Barletta says this is a characteristic of women My whole book, If My Product’s So Great How Come I Can’t Sell It? , unbeknownst to me at the time I wrote it, focuses on showing how to talk about the products in terms of what it’s done for you. Rather than say, “I’ve got this great product, it’s the cat’s meow and feeds you at the cellular level and doctors say it’s great…”, I’ve told people to simply share what the product has done for them. So, your story might be, “I had achy knees, they hurt every time I went up and down the stairs, so I tried this product and they don’t hurt any more no matter how much I use the stairs. Lo and behold, my knees are fine now and I’m even playing tennis again, do you know anyone who might want to buy a product like that?” It’s completely experienced based about how someone has used the product. When I finished writing the book, and published and started teaching these classes, which I’ve done for three years now, I read Marti’s book and I was so drawn in by this observation that she makes about women. I didn’t write my book for women. I wrote it to help people describe what they have in such a way that somebody else might listen, by simply telling their personal stories about it. Not making any promises about what it’s going to do for somebody else. But Marti says this is a characteristic of women. We tend to think more about how somebody uses something, than about all the features and benefits of it. A very interesting thing, just about men and women, and how companies like Nike have taken it on and started describing the women that are using their product. And a few other companies are using that idea, too. These are just observations about marketing that our industry, our profession, should take to heart. Another interesting thing— and John, I think you’ve said this before and it’s nice to know that you get validation from other places— she says, “Listen more than you talk, there is no need to strut your stuff.” This is her talking to the marketing men on Madison
Avenue and she’s giving them advice on how to deal with women: “One way men earn each other’s trust is to communicate their track record. A guy will talk about how good he is to prove he can do a great job. He will say things like, ‘Half of my clients are worth over a million dollars.’ or ‘I doubled his return in six months’. Men talk about achievements, they drop names, and they’ll let you know where they stand.” She calls these credibility displays and acknowledges they are the right thing to do in the male culture, because if they don’t, men will assume they don’t have anything to brag about. She goes on to say, “Women don’t brag. They’ll tolerate it quietly but they won’t be impressed. As a matter of fact, rather than build respect, credibility displays are much more likely to ruin rapport.”
This speaks directly to the way we market, and the way we train men and women how to market, by talking about the big income. You know how guys like to tell exactly how much they made?