Embracing Sales – Utilize Your Competitive Feminine Edge
Women Are Better Salespersons Than Men. ~ Tom Peters
Many women entrepreneurs and small business owners seem to have an aversion to selling or don’t realize it is imperative that they hone these skills. When I introduce myself as a sales consultant and trainer, women often say, “I hate selling,” or “I don’t need to sell in my business.” This tells me that women don’t understand that every entrepreneur has to “do sales” and more importantly, they need to embrace it!
As an entrepreneur, many day to day tasks are indeed sales related. Everything from applying to the bank for a line of credit, to hiring new employees, is a “sales job.” The top executive of any business has to be the top salesperson in the organization, whether the business has 1 or 1,000 employees. With some sales training and education, women can excel in sales and see their business grow dramatically. However, many of us have a preconceived idea of what sales is all about. Think about this. If you were guaranteed to increase your income, would you spend some time and money to polish your sales skills?
When we think of sales, it usually conjures up images of a used car salesman and being pressured to buy. If you have ever seen the movie Glen Gary, Glen Ross you get to take a peek into a sales world of the stereotypical salesman. In this movie, there are pressures to close the sale regardless of the customer’s needs. They are willing to go to any length, ethical or not, to make sure they hit their sales targets. When it comes to selling our own products or services, many of us have gone so far the other way that we do not feel comfortable closing a sale, and because of this, our businesses may be suffering needlessly.
When I was working in corporate software sales, it was a man’s world. Having to compete with men who were more aggressive and competitive, gave me the drive to become the top salesperson. By utilizing my unique female characteristics and skills, it gave me the competitive edge.
Listening is the most important skill of a good salesperson.
Women have a natural ability to listen, as we have been socialized to do since we were children. Our ability to converse comfortably for hours is exactly what selling is. Listening for information or clues the customer is telling us, anything from their interest in our products, to stories about their children or hobbies, all help with the selling process. There is a famous sales quote from Brian Tracy, “If you are telling, you are not selling.” By doing what comes naturally, you will gather important information about my customers’ needs and build trust and rapport.
Women tend to be empathetic, which is another essential skill in selling.
Listening is the first part of the process, but being able to put yourself in the shoes of the customer is key to selling. In finding out specific details about the customer, and their needs, you’ll be able to inform them how your product or service can help them. The one and only thing that is important to the prospect, is how you can solve their problems; what features and benefits your product delivers to fit their unique needs. Throughout the sales process, you want to be confident that your product is the right fit for them. With this approach, you can be assured you will create happy customers as well as hitting your revenue goals.
Listening to your own intuition can help enormously.
Of course, both men and women have intuition, but in general, women tend to depend more on it. Any time you have a gut feeling or a sense of someone without knowing them yet, that is intuition. So how can you capitalize on this skill to assist in sales? By utilizing intuition, you get a sense of someone within the first few minutes of meeting them. Use that information to predict the likelihood that this prospect can or likely will become a customer. Knowing the typical profile of your clients will help move the process along.
It is important to focus time and effort on the prospects that are most likely going to buy while allowing the others to find another company that is better suited to their needs. Today’s best salespeople no longer try to close someone by the force of their personalities. Modern selling approaches rely much more heavily on forming connections with their potential customers. Even car salesmen now have a much more passive approach. Frankly this may be the impact that women have had since entering the world of professional sales.
Remember, sales doesn’t need to be intimidating. In fact, if you’ve ever been successful at convincing your toddler to eat broccoli, or your girlfriends to try rock climbing, you have a proven track record already! As women, we can utilize our natural skills combined with a little training to be successful and grow our businesses exponentially.
To your success,
CEO of Sales Solutions
Joanne provides sales consulting and business development services. She has assembled a team of consultants and professionals who value delivering clear, actionable plans with an equally clear track record of taking our clients’ businesses to the next level. She is the creator of Breakthrough Sales System(tm) which is a systematic approach to selling which guarantees business owners new leads to their business. Ms. Hernon is a lifetime member of CEO Space and served on the board of Marin Association of Female Executives as Vice President from 2006 – 2008. She is a member of National Association of Women Business Owners and volunteers her time providing pro-bono consulting to Women’s Initiative, a non-profit that helps lower-income women receive training to start and grow their business.