Retail Holiday Sales: How to Sell to Men and Help Them Buy Like Heroes

Two men window shopping

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As a retailer, I loved the day before Christmas Eve. All the planners had purchased, and the after-Christmas sales had begun.

The guys were now considering going shopping...

Historically on Christmas Eve, the crowds gradually thin out, and you begin to notice more and more men - the malls were practically fueled by testosterone.

And while the pandemic changed many things, men will still be last-minute shoppers.

And that's great!

Why? Because when it absolutely, positively has to be there, you don't go shopping online; you go to your local retailer.

Use these retail sales training tips (no matter what gender salesperson you are) to help drive your retail holiday sales.

If you want to know how to sell to men, understand this about your male customers:

  • We are not that price-driven, sorry, discount retailers. We may “say” we are but remember, you’re basically dealing with a boy discovering your merchandise for the first time.

  • We often show how much love we have for the men and women we are buying for by the price tag or size of the gift we choose, whether that's a toy, jewelry, or clothing.

  • It's almost like we are treating ourselves when we splurge on someone else during the holiday season, so don't try to limit us.

  • We want to win and be admired for the gift we give.

  • Above all, men hate shopping; it's not a thrill – it's a chore.

Help us by getting us to laugh or at least smile with you so we can acknowledge we want your help in selecting a product.

Prepare your store for your male customers. If it were me, I'd put a sign over the most expensive bike or another toy that read, "Yes, you can buy their love."

If I owned a liquor shop, I might put up a sign, "Alcohol always makes the in-laws nicer."

If it were a lingerie boutique, it might be, "Guys: Always guess smaller if you want to be a hero."

Get the idea? Preparing for the holidays includes for both women and men shoppers.

How to sell to men in your retail store:

  • Don’t leave us alone – we’ll walk.
  • Get us to linger by giving us something to play with.
  • Don’t follow a potential male shopper around or you’ll spook us; check in every few minutes by pointing out something about what we’re looking at.
  • If you wrap, let us know that upfront – it is a great option that makes a difference to our overall shopping experience.
  • Acknowledge your return policies immediately – make it safe for us to buy.
  • If we trust you and pick something out, ask us, “Who else is on your list?” We only want to do this chore once.
  • Figuratively take us by the hand if we’ve never been in this type of store before, whether it's lingerie, cameras or jewelry. Give us options; don’t expect us to know what we want; we don't want to risk being wrong.
  • If we can’t decide between a couple of items (and it's not Christmas Eve,) suggest we purchase the best item and return it if we change our mind before giving; that way, we’ll at least have something. Remind us that otherwise, we’ll have to return to the chore of the mall again, and worse, you might lose out because the item could be gone.
  • If you’re an apparel store, don’t make a big deal if we don’t know the size of our wife, girlfriend, buddy, or child. Instead, ask us to point out someone in the store about their size. Remind us it can all be returned.

What to show to guys?

  • Big, bright, or cool.
  • The closer it gets to Christmas, the more likely we are to splurge - especially on luxury fashion, expensive jewelry, or niche hobbies and interests - even just for ourselves. So even if you sell menswear or skincare, you can still treat us in a way that values us rather than dismisses us.
  • Instead of a gift card, suggest an outfit or item of equal value so the giftee has something to unwrap and it looks like the gift giver at least tried to get something just for them.

What not to do

  • Ask for our budget. If you allow us to limit ourselves, you’ll dumb down our choices and lose out.

In Sum

It's true not all guys are alike - many like to shop, and many hate to shop. Some like online shopping, some respond well to marketing, and some spend thousands of dollars.

If you modify how you think about selling to men with these tips, it won't matter the recipient's size; your male shopper can still be a hero when buying a gift.