Recently I was in a car accident. I came out fine without a scratch on me, but not so for my shiny new car. Yes, my new Chrysler 300 was totaled. So it was time to buy a new car.

But rather than buy the exact same car, I thought I would test-drive every car that I might have liked before I had settled on the Chrysler. This was a way of ridding myself of any chance of buyer’s remorse. My wife just chuckled and said, “Jim, you will spend weeks test-driving all those other cars and you will just end up buying the exact same car!”

Well, with some of the new cars that I was test driving, such as a Toyota Rav4, my buddies would say to me, “Isn’t that a chick car?” So, I started to wonder – what exactly qualifies a car as a “chick” or a “women’s” car? The more time I spent in showrooms, the more time I had to observe families and couples coming in to test-drive vehicles of all types. After a two-month process of test driving numerous cars, I finally concluded that the vast majority of cars are “chick” cars. The reason is simple – women make the vast majority of buying decisions!

I saw families come in. The dad most often test-drove the car, but the cars that he test-drove were picked by the mom.

I saw men bring their girlfriends or wives in to pick out a car for her. I listened to the advice that the men gave these women, usually after the guy opened the hood and looked at the engine. In the end, the woman usually ignored his advice, asked a dozen more questions about everything else not under the hood, and made her own decision.

I watched men come in to pick out a car for themselves. If they had their girlfriend with them, they sat in a car and said, “How do I look in this one, honey?” After I did some research on car buying statistics, I found that women buy more than half of all new cars and heavily influence 85 percent of all car buying decisions. With that in mind, what car isn’t a “chick” car?

Well, this got me thinking about windows. Who calls the shots when it comes to picking out windows? The next time you have some time to hang out in a window dealer’s showroom, instead of looking at the windows, study the people who are shopping for windows. You won’t see too many men coming in by themselves to shop for windows. They usually have the wife or the significant other. Or to put it a different way, maybe it is the woman coming into the showroom bringing along her husband or significant other to look at windows and doors!

Men usually focus on the primary buying factors, like overall performance. They look at U-value, DP ratings and price. Women, however, are far more likely to dig into a host of secondary factors such as color, aesthetics, condensation resistance, hardware operation, sound deadening, ease of cleaning and the functionality of screens. Women are also much more likely to ask questions comparing the  features and benefits to other major brands. Men focus on a few major things. Women focus upon everything.

So, when it comes to marketing and selling door and window systems, do not oversimplify the value that your product offers. Take the time to point out all the features and benefits that your product has to offer and how it is superior to the competition. Don’t assume that just because the man is shaking his head up and down that you have already closed the deal. Remember to cover everything your product has to offer, and focus on both genders when making your pitch. In the end, the woman will either be making the decision or heavily influencing the decision.

So, which car did I eventually buy? I bought the exact same black Chrysler 300 — just as my wife predicted. After all, she helped me pick it out the first time!

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