From Hollywood to Wall Street, countless articles have been written about women in the workplace, notably their pay structure and opportunities for advancement.
Worth noting are federal Department of Labor statistics illustrating how times have changed in the last several decades.
According to the DOL, in 1948 there were 17.335 million women in the labor force vs. 43.286 million men. By 2015, the numbers increased dramatically with 73.51 million women in the workforce vs. 83.62 million men.
Several decades ago, it would appear that nearly every occupation or business was male-dominated, simply because there were approximately three males working for every female.
Now, the ratio is closer to 1-to-1. It would appear that today, many more opportunities exist for woman business owners and employees.
Unquestionably, there are things that women are better at than men.
Let’s look at a simple example. If you are married, think about a time (before GPS, of course) when you were lost.
Speaking from experience, men would have tried to find their own way, which probably would have been a mistake.
Women, however, would have stopped at a gas station, asked for directions and saved 30 minutes.
Women tend to be more efficient decision-makers. They quickly analyze the facts, listen to advice and make confident choices that they think will benefit them in the future.
Men, instead, seem to stew over the facts, overanalyze and take far longer to make up their mind.
They may both arrive at the same conclusion, but women seem to be more effective. This can be quite useful for women in the business world.
Any small-business owner or employee would agree that there are not enough hours in the day to complete all tasks at hand. Every minute is valuable, and using each one more efficiently will only benefit you in the long run.
Women can use decisiveness to their advantage.
First, using one’s entire skill set is vital. Women tend to be very good listeners. Epictetus, the Greek Stoic philosopher, said, “We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
Active listening and the ability to ask the questions are vital, perhaps even more valuable than having all the answers.
When you ask the right questions, people recognize it very quickly. They will tell you exactly what they are trying to accomplish, allowing you to be a solutions provider, rather than a salesperson.
Women’s “nurturing gene” is perhaps even more valuable. Once your line of questioning paints the picture for your clients’ needs, you can provide very comforting resolutions to their problems, and you become the only source for their needs.
EFFICIENT, EFFECTIVE, TRUSTING
Remember, everyone is a salesperson. Whether you’re a teacher selling education, an attorney selling legal advice or a salesperson selling construction materials, every customer comes to you to make their life easier.
We all know everyone wants it done yesterday, at a low price, but don’t discount that they want someone who can help them in an efficient, effective and caring manner.
When you know what they want and can provide answers in a trusting way, you will have clients for life. As you build this base, your business grows and becomes more valuable.
Give it a try. You might be surprised by the results.
Paul Marrella is a wealth manager at Marrella Financial Group LLC in Wyomissing, public speaker and author of “What Now? The Widow’s Guide to Financial Independence.” He focuses on providing wealth management and retirement income solutions to successful families in southeastern Pennsylvania and can be reached at www.marrella.com or 610-655-9700.