Ahead of the Curve – Why Women Can Come First in Sales
Q: You’ve said that women have many advantages in sales. What are some of them?
A: First of all, we listen well. Given the time and circumstance, women have a tendency to “tune-in” more when listening to client’s goals and objectives. We also like to take the time to ask open-ended questions and jot down the answers.
We can handle many concepts at once. I read about a recent scientific study that when thinking, the majority of men showed exclusive activity on the left side of the brain while the majority of women showed activity in both sides of the brain, although predominantly on the left. So it’s true that we can think of more than one thing at once.
We aim to please. Women excel at nurturing competencies such as developing others, inspiring and motivating others, relationship building, collaboration and teamwork. These are highly valued selling skills.
We get things done. Research has found that the largest positive differences for women are taking initiative, displaying integrity and driving for results.
Lastly, we get what we deserve. We are more direct then men, we are kinder to people and we tend to be more honest. All highly valued by any buyer.
Q: Many women business owners are reluctant when it comes to sales. What advice would you give them?
A: Sales doesn’t have to be unpleasant or difficult. Selling is simply relationship building. You listen to what people want and then you offer a solution. That’s it.
When it comes to closing the sale, the best thing you can do is ask. It sounds so simple, but you’d be surprised how often people it doesn’t happen. I have a simple strategy for asking for the business that anyone can use.
Use the word “Let’s”. People love to be invited to things, so begin your final question with “Let’s do it!” or “Let’s get started” and see the reaction you get. If the “Let’s Ask” didn’t work, then offer two choices. It sounds like, “Which would you prefer: Option A or Option B.” Option A could be the entire commitment for one lump sum. Option B could be a payment plan. Either way, provide your client with the ability to choose between the two.
If the “Double Choice” didn’t work, then use the “Puppy Dog”. When was the last time you saw a puppy returned to the pet store? Exactly. Offer them to try a piece of your solution, like a smaller order, so they can measure the value of its success. If you offer coaching, this could be one hour of coaching, for a fee of course!
One of the most disheartening things I witness, is when people ask for the order, and then they over talk the answer. After you have asked, just sit there and listen. Wait for your client to finish their sentence. Most times, they just want to sound-out their thought process. So, when they start to say, “Well, I’m not sure….we haven’t tried that before….sounds like a good idea….” just let them finish completely by waiting for the silence at the end of their sentence. You may be surprised to hear the rest of their sentence could be, “Let’s try this!”
Finally, always have at least two invoices ready to be presented, especially since there is a chance that you will be offering two choices. Never say, “I’ll send the paper work to you”. Demonstrate your ability to quickly take care of things for them by being prepared.
Q: What types of business challenges keep you awake at night? Do you think they differ from a male business owner?
A: I wonder about where the next order is coming from. 95% of my business is through referral or repeat business. So while keeping existing clients happy is relatively easy, I am always wondering where my marketing efforts will pay off. Will it be through social media, networking at associations, working with volunteer organizations or email campaigns? Are my thoughts different from male business owners? I don’t think so. When I review my notes from clients I don’t see a difference between men’s issues or women’s. Men and women all seem to have the same challenges in business, and they all seem to have one thing in common: people. How to best interact with people, for mutual benefit.
Q: How do you celebrate when you close a sale?
A: I fist pump and then pick up the phone to call a tough prospect.
Q: What’s the best part of being a Sales Strategist?
A: Helping people reach their goals. My conversations all start at the same place: What do you want to accomplish and by when? Once that is nailed down, we apply a step-by-step approach to blast away the barriers and set up repeatable systems that yield results. Every week we tally up the numbers, celebrate the wins and keep moving forward. I just want people to be happy.
Pauline O’Malley enjoys helping leaders of privately owned companies sell more in less time. When she isn’t helping people ask for what they want, she loves to travel, run on the beach and watch HGTV.
For more information, contact Pauline@PaulineOMalley.com.
Get the book: http://www.paulineomalley.com/book/lifestyle_selling_for_women/