Shinjini Das, author, entrepreneur and TV personality, may have said it best, “I’m totally unapologetic about being an ambitious woman, and you should be, too.”
My entrance into sales was by default. Working for a technology start up, sales were not rolling in, so I decided to give sales a try. I bought a suit, shoes to match, and did what salesmen did; I walked the streets and knocked on doors.
I wondered, “Who in their right mind would want to be a salesman?” Every “no” made me feel bad and more certain that I was going to have to find another job. I not only felt ill but felt bad about myself. My mind said things like, “What on earth were you thinking? You, a salesperson? Yuck.” What I thought about sales was turning out to be true.
Determined to end my day on the upside, I marched on. Things started looking up. Surprisingly, I did get a “yes” that day. Was it the smile on my face thinking about the ice cream cone I’d promised myself or was it because I stopped taking myself so seriously?
I performed well enough to stay on as the only saleswoman. But I wasn’t happy. I told myself, “Selling is not a career; it is a temporary condition until you find something better.”
I lacked confidence. Not only was I a young woman, I was often the only woman in the room. I was intimidated by many of the men I had to call, let alone meet. My negative self-talk would kick in, and I would resort to begging my boss to come to the meeting. I would take “notes.” Picking up the phone and calling strangers was frightening to me. What if they rejected me? The idea of not having a predictable paycheck made me uncomfortable, too. Was I good enough to close business on a consistent basis? Or would I starve?
I was struggling but I kept at it. I will never forget the turning point for me. My boss and I showed up for a meeting (yes, I had begged him to go with me), and when we arrived the people we were to meet with were all men (of course). We went into a conference room. Everyone acted as if I were not even there. When I was acknowledged, it was in passing. I heard a few polite “hellos” before the men got back to their conversation.
This time, I got angry. Not only was I ignored, I was humiliated. In the elevator, I read my boss the riot act. I told him how I felt and that I was not going to put up with it any longer. He looked at me in shock. I was certain I would be looking for a new job, and certainly not in sales.
Instead, he said, “Lorraine, it is about time you got angry. If you want to make it in sales, a few things need to happen. First, you have to decide you want to do it and that you deserve to be treated as a professional. You are going to encounter situations like this all of the time, especially in a male-dominated industry. You have a choice. I can keep coming to meetings with you and you can take notes, or you can take the energy and confidence you just showed and put it to work for you. Sales is a great opportunity for you to make a place for yourself.”
I took his words to heart. Not only did I make it as a sales professional, I was a top producer for a growing company.
A few years later I enrolled in Sandler Sales Training and learned a lot about myself, and the role my own beliefs play in my success—not only in sales but in every aspect of life. I learned that selling is a process, and that the process does not need to be aggressive, pushy, or unprofessional. I learned that emotions can hold you hostage and create roadblocks. I understood that while I can’t control some things, I can control my attitude, selling behaviors, and how I apply my selling strategy.
It was so life changing, that I took the leap and purchased a Sandler Training business. Many of the women I work with look at sales in the same way I did years ago: as a step to a grander position. Perhaps it is. Yet, what if sales were a profession in which you could not only thrive, but of which you could be proud? What if you could feel so good about your professional sales role that you shout out to everyone you meet that you have chosen sales as your profession?
My book entitled, “The Unapologetic Sales Woman” is for women struggling to succeed in a professional sales role. I wanted to share how I and other women overcame some of the concerns and self-doubts that I experienced, and how selling utilizing the Sandler system— does away with the negative connotations of selling and allows you to make your mark as a professional saleswoman proud of what you do with the payoff where it counts—at the bank.
The Unapologetic Saleswoman was released October 1, 2018. Check HERE for more details or to purchase your copy!