With the Dow dipping below 9000 and budgets for anything but essentials shrinking, it's more critical than ever to get the right message out about your company. If you plan to target men, here are 10 things you must do to persuade them to open up their wallets.

Bone Up

Just like with any target audience, do your due diligence and try to understand what their core issues and concerns are, says Mitch Meyerson, author of eight personal and business-development books, including "Guerrilla Marketing on the Front Lines: 35 World-Class Strategies to Send Your Profits Soaring" (Morgan James Publishing). If you don't know how your target audience arrives at a decision or why they are buying products in your industry, your pitch will fall flat.

Be Short and Sweet

Time is money. For men, especially, the pitch needs to be brief and to the point, says Brian Lowery, CEO and managing partner of OutSell Consulting, a consulting firm that specializes in working with sales and customer-services companies. He adds, "Most men I've dealt with who are in a position to buy a lot of what I have won't tolerate someone who's unfocused and not clear on how they can add value."

Be Direct

Men take fewer cues than women, says John Cogliandro, author of "Intelligent Innovation: Four Steps to Achieving a Competitive Edge" (J. Ross Publishing). Those cues must also be obvious and direct. An example: You need to grow more hair to be manlier, so buy Rogaine. "The message," he continues, "has to be linear and stronger than for women."

What's In It for Me?

You have a great product but potential clients, especially men, don't want to hear how fabulous it is. What will get them to sit up and listen? Tell them how your product or service will benefit them and their businesses. "There is some truth to the saying that women want to be heard but men want solutions," says Meyerson, who originally trained to be a psychologist. "A man wants to know quickly what the bottom line is, what's in it for me, what's the solution."

Who's the Boss?

More than women, men like to think they wear the pants in the transaction. According to Lowery, they will seek opinions and advice, but ultimately, they want to feel like they're making the call. "And they hate when they feel like it's being forced on them," he adds.

To make sure they feel like they're in the driver's seat, start the conversation by asking what their biggest concerns or problems are. Then make your pitch by presenting it as a solution that will fix their problems, make them a better company, increase revenue, cut costs -- whatever they say is their paramount concern.

Limit Choices

Unlike women, who prefer four or more options, men are more comfortable with the less-is-more approach. Lowery recommends limiting choices to three, max. "We add value by asking appropriate questions and limiting the choices," he explains.

Look at the Entire Package

Every contact with the public is marketing, argues Meyerson. So pay attention to details like the tone of your voice, the smile on your face, even the colors on your Web site. When targeting men, standing out from the competition can be as easy as using colors, fonts and language that appeal to men.

Sex Doesn't Always Sell

If you're selling something like clothes or a fragrance, then it makes sense to imply that if you wear a particular designer's suit or put on a certain cologne, you may attract the attention of a beautiful woman. But when you're trying to sell a wrench, don't feature a wrench girl, says Cogliandro. "I am not that dumb to think that if I buy the wrench, I'll get the girl."

Sell to Women, Too

Tailoring your message only to men by using sex could also turn off a man's significant other or spouse. After all, more and more women are making the major household decisions for their families. Hence, owners and marketers must strike a delicate balance so their message appeals to women while still creating a product men want, says Cogliandro.

Company Policy

However you craft your message, make sure it's reflected on your Web site. You have solutions? Then outline them in bullet points because "most Web visitors are scanners," says Meyerson. Testimonials, he adds, can be especially persuasive to men because, if they see success stories, they will want some of that success, too.

Lan Nguyen is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has written for the New York Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, Worth magazine and Star magazine.

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