Women in Sales
In my book Selling in a Skirt as well as in my new book PURE WEALTH: 26 Ways To Crazy Profitability, I address a topic that is very close to my heart: women in sales. I have seen all sorts of problems created when women buy into conventional wisdom about sales as well as about their role in the business world. If you are a woman and you want to grow a business or succeed in your career, it is important to get a few things straight.
First, overcome your reluctance to talk to strangers.
That does not mean to forget your early safety training; it simply means that in business, you must never be shy and retiring. You must be confident and, if they will not start the conversation, you must start it for them! It might be helpful to you to attend an event such as a seminar and set a goal of striking up a conversation with at least five new people (or ten, or whatever your personal goal happens to be). In this controlled environment, you will find that it is much easier to lose that hesitancy and shine like the superstar you are!
In addition, stop feeling that you need a formal introduction to talk to someone. Of course there is a right and a wrong way to approach the president of a company, but if you happen to casually bump into someone, there is no harm in introducing yourself.
The fear of being seen as pushy is often a significant factor in causing women to hesitate about approaching someone, particularly in sales. However, there is a difference between being open, friendly and interesting, and being pushy. I have found that a great way to open the door to conversation is to ask what someone else thinks about a particular topic such as the speaker at an event. This allows the other person to take the conversational lead while you listen; you can then build your interactions on the person’s responses. This also gives you a “sneak peek” at the other person’s mindset.
As a woman, you may interact with others differently than the men around you. That is to be expected. However, that does not mean you have to be less assertive or less engaged with others than your male colleagues. With the right mindset and techniques, you can make yourself both interested and interesting!