Tuesday, July 7, 2009
The X and Y of Buy
I confess to being very fond of shopping. When I saw that Thomas Nelson had a new release on why and how men and women make decisions on purchases, I requested it right away through the Book Review Bloggers program, and settled down for what I hoped would be an entertaining as well as illuminating read.
According to Elizabeth Pace’s The X and Y of Buy, women and men operate differently on a psychological level – caused by genetics, by brain structure and chemistry, by millions of years of evolution – and one expression of this is the way that they shop. The book is structured to provide help and advice for salespeople to deal with both kinds of customers.
A man’s approach tends to be direct and finely-focused, while a woman’s approach is more likely to be holistic, taking several factors into account. This is illustrated by a Cautionary Tale of a BMW salesman who tried to sell a car to the author, but dismissed her question about the cupholder, or lack thereof. To him, the important things were the car’s design and performance – the driving experience, in other words. To her, all the other experiences she would have while driving were as important.
And of course, she didn’t like her concern being trivialized.
The book also describes how successful advertising appeals in different ways to men and women. For instance, many ads aimed at men focus on conquering one’s environment. Ads aimed at women, on the other hand, focus on successfully integrating the different parts of a woman’s environment – job and family and self and community.
Finally, the book covers ways in which to communicate when selling to men and women (e.g. whether to nod in agreement or acknowledgment, allow the buyer private time to make a decision and so on). I would have liked a few more memorable examples like the BMW salesman, though. I’m not a businessperson, so I can’t evaluate the book from that perspective, but from a layperson’s point of view, it was an interesting enough read.
When I read books on business, I often try to relate the advice in them to writing (because to me that’s the most entertaining business of all). And one suggestion leaped out at me: an easy way to make sure your product or presentation stays in the customer’s mind is to make them feel strongly about it. Try to make your book or story have an emotional effect on the readers, in other words.
This is something writers of fiction do on a regular basis, but it also applies with non-fiction. Perhaps even more so, if the writers want to reach readers who may not share their interest in a topic or their position on a controversial issue.