TDmonthly Magazine!
November 2010 | Vol. IX - No. 11


How to Sell to Guys for the Holidays

Dads and Granddads Need a Different Kind of Care

The following article was reprinted with permission from the author.

I love the week before Christmas Eve as a retailer.  All the planners have purchased — wives with their lists of “must have” items that, unless you have it, they were out the door, those price-shopping, coupon-clipping “thrill of the hunt” aunts, the pack of young women looking for the perfect gift for each of their boyfriends.

As each day gets closer to 6pm Christmas Eve, the malls thin out from these types and you begin to notice more and more men – especially on Christmas Eve itself, when the malls are practically fueled by testosterone.  Men can be the easiest to wait on this week because we just want to be a hero. Here are a few tips (no matter what sex of a salesperson you are) to help you sell to us this week.

Realize this about your male customers:

  • We are not that price driven. 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 person we are buying for by the price tag or size of the gift we choose; whether that’s a toy, jewelry or clothing.
  • Its almost like we are treating ourselves when we splurge on someone else, so don’t try to limit us.
  • Above all, we hate shopping, its not a thrill – its a chore. Help us by getting us to laugh or at least smile when we deal with you so we can acknowledge we want your help.
How to treat us:
  • Don’t leave us alone – we’ll walk.
  • Don’t follow us around or you’ll spook us; check-in every few minutes by pointing something out about what we’re looking at.
  • If you wrap, let us know that up front – it makes a difference.
  • Acknowledge your return policies right away – 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. Give us options; don’t expect us to know what we want.
  • If we can’t decide between a couple of items, 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,  the item might be gone.
What to show us?
  • Big, bright,or cool.
  • The closer it gets to Christmas, the more likely we are to splurge.
  • Instead of a gift card, suggest an outfit or item of equal value so the giftee has something to unwrap that looks like you tried to get something just for them.
What not to do:
  • If you carry apparel, don’t make a big deal if we don’t know the size of our child.  Instead ask us to point out someone in the store about his or her size. Remind us it can all be returned.
  • Ask for our budget. If you allow us to limit ourselves, you’ll dumb-down our choices and you’ll lose out.
If you realize that men shopping at the holidays have different needs, it won’t matter if he buys the wrong size; he can still be a hero on Christmas.  He won’t have to say, “I just got this a few hours ago.” He can still win.

Bob PhibbsWriter's Bio: Bob Phibbs is the Retail Doctor®, a best-selling author and speaker who has helped thousands of independent businesses compete. His new book, The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business has received praise from both Inc. magazine and USA Today and can be found at your local bookstore or ordered at He and his work have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur magazine. Questions? Contact Bob at This article was reprinted with permission of the author, Bob Phibbs, aka The Retail Doctor®. Read more articles by this author


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