begin a sales career or a business takes a lot of courage. To go into
sales as a woman has its own particular challenges. In addition to
offering value and promoting your own services, there are intangibles
to be learned, such as human emotion, and ideas and words that motivate
prospects to become clients.
Your work to uncover the
intangibles is based upon your ability to read the prospect. Note when
your prospect’s face lights up, or when he or she frowns, what excites
the prospect, or what makes his or her arms fold. Observe what it is
that you are doing to motivate the prospect to move through the sales
Aside from your sales goals, you need to set personal
goals for achieving the knowledge to become successful. The category of
knowledge includes sales skills, knowledge of your own industry, your
top competitors’ business models, and your prospects’ businesses and
All of these goals take a great deal of time and you
will feel as if you are moving backward instead of forward. In spite of
setbacks, you must be prepared to persevere.
Another key to
success is to politely acknowledge negative comments with a smile as a
Nice Girl would, and then proceed more determined than ever. Most
often, you will find the negativity stems from the other person’s
insecurity. They fear you will succeed where they could not. Your
attitude is everything. Knowing the negative party is fearful of your
intended success means they actually believe you will succeed. This is
why you should smile upon hearing negative comments! Turn the
negativity into motivation to propel yourself to success.
copier industry in the 1990s was so difficult and competitive that
office doors were continually revolving with new employees in and old
employees out faster than you could count them. People just gave up,
plain and simple. They weren’t willing to work to get beyond the
obstacles or to motivate themselves to get to the next level.
of my favorite memories is from my first job. I kept a list of all the
people who became employed by the company and quit within thirty days
or less. A notable fact is every single one of these people were men.
As I wrote their names on a yellow legal pad and drew a line through
their name when they left, I wondered if other women would have left as
quickly if they had been given the opportunity. These salespeople
walked out and never said goodbye.
Of the core group of five
salesmen, two quit by the end of the first year. The first salesman of
the two that quit was focused on a highly specialized calculator whose
market was rapidly shrinking. The second salesperson fell into the
category of being fearful to ask for business. He enjoyed making
friends with prospects but was fearful of helping to solve their
problems and asking for their business. Three of us remained at the
east Bay branch of the company.
A coworker, who had helped me
recall some of the names listed on my yellow pad, was in the San
Francisco office on the day I resigned. I faxed the list to him, with
my name crossed out on the top. To my surprise and embarrassment, the
director of sales happened to be standing at the fax machine at the
exact moment the list was received.
He was not amused by the
list, which was entitled “Company Hit List,” but my colleague was
figuratively rolling on the floor—and laughing uncontrollably.
mantra is to always succeed. I would find it terribly embarrassing to
fail at any step of the way. Failure is not in my vocabulary and is
simply not an option for me. When I encounter difficult times, I step
back from the situation and analyze where I am stuck, what the options
are, and formulate how to proceed.
Believing in my ideas and my
ability always got me through the tough times. In fact, I would like to
publicly thank those individuals who rolled their eyes and had a smirk
on their face when I told them what I was about to embark upon. And,
thank you also to those who said:
“Too many people are already
providing sales training, books, and CDs.”
and others who said:
“It’s a myth you can make money
on the Internet—don’t believe it, and don’t waste your time.”
you ask, would I thank these individuals? I love a good challenge, and
they presented me with a great one. Developing creative and untried
methods to attain goals is part of the challenge and the competitive
fun. Additionally, I find great satisfaction in proving I am right!
spent fifteen years at home raising my two children. During the last
eight years, I had a word processing business that I ran from home
while the children were in school.
The income helped with
everyday expenses, but was limited. There are only so many hours a day
one can sit in a chair and type, and there was only a certain amount of
money that could be charged per-hour for such a service.
husband and I both knew that one day I would have to work full time.
There was huge uncertainty as to my capabilities after having been home
for fifteen years. One night, my husband came home and announced:
“I’ve got it. You have the
personality of a salesperson!”
With disbelief, upon hearing that announcement, I quietly asked:
“Is that a compliment or an
initial visualization of a salesperson was an unshaven, plaid jacket
wearing, gum-chewing, used car salesman. At that time, the word
“salesman” had an unsavory connotation.
Looking back, I now know
it is true—I do have the personality of a salesperson and I changed my
perception as to what that means!
As a salesperson, I’m
intuitive about reading people. As a saleswoman, I care about what my
clients tell me and strive to help them achieve their goals. Women, in
general, have a greater need to be liked and strive to make certain
everyone’s needs are met. Saleswomen tend to go to greater lengths to
ensure a client’s happiness, including paying close attention to the
details. While this entails more work, the end result is a thriving
business stemming from repeat business, referrals, and testimonials.
Most salesmen I have worked with do not understand this. They generally
are in for the quick hit. Prospects sense this and buy from competitive
vendors. This, in turn, accounts for the quick turnover of salesmen and
their lack of success.
others, and they, in turn, will provide a loyal following.
Ask yourself the following. Do you:
• Love a
• Have the determination to be right?
• Look for creative ways to find solutions?
• Persist in most matters?
• Not care when people tell you “No” or “You can’t do it”?
• Fight for yourself?
• Like competition and gamesmanship?
• Enjoy finding solutions and helping people?
• Prefer a win-win scenario with clients?
• Enjoy being known for getting results in your office or field of
These are essential traits for a successful salesperson.