Updated: Sep 11, 2019
It’s an honor to have you here. I bet you and I have a lot in common.
Here’s why this site got started:
Sales is not only a lucrative profession, it’s a culture, a psychology, and a form of communication. We all need to have our toes dipped in some expertise in these areas to navigate life successfully. However, just like most of the street-smart topics that get us through life, these skills aren’t taught in schools. What’s worse though, is they’re rarely even taught in our businesses. This is a huge reason people will give up their sales career before it even begins.
Stats to consider...
· If you’re replacing someone instead of filling a new position, stakes get even higher. Another research by SHRM states that it takes up to 50-60% of an employee’s annual salary to find a direct replacement. Turnover can be quite costly, summing up to a total of 90-200% of an employee’s annual salary. – Sylvie Wolf; ClearCompany.com
· 40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year. -Sylvie Wolf; ClearCompany.com
Yikes! As a business owner think of all that wasted profit. As an employee/agent, think of all that wasted time!
So, how do you get better? How do you master a skill that can potentially change your zip code and your family tree forever? You see, the only one who’ll care about your success as much as you do is, well, you. So that means that each of us individually are responsible for finding the resources needed to improve our skill set to get ahead.
Here’s a story explaining why that has been true for me.
In the beginning...
One vivid memory from my very early days in sales: I began my sales career in the financial industry selling life insurance and IRAs to middle income markets. Ultimately, my goal was to build an agency and amass a size able residual income. So, to get started on that journey I had to sell. I had never sold a thing in my life up until that point (not counting school fundraisers and my used books that I sold to my neighbors one summer when I was seven) so needless to say I was terrified.
It took every ounce of courage I had just to make a phone call to set an appointment.
Now, I’m talking about referrals and warm calls that should have been a piece of cake, but instead were daunting. Whenever I would get someone to agree to an appointment, I was excited but after a few seconds anxiety began to creep in because I realized I would actually have to see them and try to sell them a policy.
On my appointment day I would show up to the office, drudge my way through a few more calls and then when the clock struck eerily closer to the minute I’d have to leave, my sweaty palms would take over. I would literally feel the thumping in my heart and I shakily packed my bag. But when I couldn’t stall any longer, I faced the truth and headed out the door.
I drove the speed limit or slower, because what was I in a hurry for? And then when I would turn onto the appointed street, I would see the prospect’s house and proceed with giving myself a pep talk. “You got this, Eneida!” I would exclaim. “I’m a champion!” I would shout while fist pumping one hand in the air. “You were born for this” and so on.
Finally, after parking and with trembling hands, I turned off the ignition and made the haunted trek up their walkway. Their door loomed at me and I swear I heard it taunting me as I took each step. ‘Why is this walkway so long!’ I muttered to myself. It was summertime so even though it was an evening appointment the sun was shining brightly, so I couldn’t really tell if they were home or not. When I finally reached the door, the shiny doorbell beckoned me as if to say, “Ring me if you dare” so of course I stayed away from all possible danger and decided to knock instead.
Well, not quite. See I didn’t really knock per say. I didn’t even pound or tap that door. My knuckles touched the wood in a few gestures but if you could hear a sound come from that move you must have had supersonic hearing. There was barely any thumping that came from my weak knock. This was on purpose, though. As I was heading to this house, I kept telling my overactive mind how crazy I was, how stupid this idea was, and who the heck could have convinced me to try this role anyhow? My self-talk was disastrous and so it spilled into my actions.
When nobody rushed to the door (Okay to be fair I turned on my heels quite literally during my gentle knocking process) I rushed away from it. I almost sprinted back to my car, turned on the ignition and jetted out of their neighborhood. The fear was real! I remember driving back to the office in cold sweats and out of breath. You’d think I would have been ashamed, guilty, or even a little annoyed at myself. Nope, not at all. I was giddy! It was such a relief because now I didn’t have to attempt to do the impossible – make a sale!
The turning point...
When I swung the office doors back open my partner and trainer were both sitting at a conference table going over game plans. Upon seeing me enter, they simultaneously turned their heads towards me, squinting in confusion. Their face spelled out their questions, so I just blurted, “Nobody answered.” (Which was 100% true) And I shrugged as I passed them into an empty room. Imagine my relief when I realized that answer sufficed since the next thing I heard was both resuming their work.
This was the moment of truth for me, though. I sat there in that office, while my two colleagues talked about the plans and the marketing and the ideation that would get them to the next level. There I sat, thinking to myself, ‘is this really something I want to do? Is this really for me?’ Just then, I opened my planner to the current week and saw something that jolted me back to reality. The other appointments I had set for the rest of the week.
There were too many to be able to pull off my stunt with all of them. Let’s face it, after the second time of “Nobody answered” I would certainly begin to get questioned, anyway. I realized in that moment that I had invested so much time in finding these people, networking, and not to mention already having gone through the painful agony of calling them all and having them agree to meet with me. I couldn’t see myself just throwing all that effort away because of my fear.
That's when I realized...
See, if you look back in your life now, I’m sure you’ll be able to pull out moments from your memory that terrified you and you still found the strength and pushed through. Maybe a speech in school? Maybe a roller coaster ride? Maybe giving birth to a child? Even though your life experiences may not seem to be sales related at all, we’ve already experienced things that have prepared us for a career in sales, without even realizing it. Because that’s all sales is: life!
I never told anyone in my office about my fearful knock and my purposeful retreat from that appointment. Eventually I called the client back and rescheduled. And as you may have suspected, I also stuck out the rest of the appointments I had in my planner and found a way to work through the fear. Keep reading on the blog to find out how my first ever appointment went. You’ll either laugh or cry as you relate, I know I did both as I relived it.
So, what is it that we have in common? We’re determined to succeed despite our fears and despite what may be expected of us. I was the academic one in my family. I was going to be the lawyer or college professor. Imagine my mother’s dismay when I chose to major in Recreation Management (yes, it’s a thing) and ended up selling life insurance instead? We’re different you and I, we see the world differently.
Now, you may be one powerful woman who purposely drove her way into a sales role, or maybe you ended up in a sales role by accident or by desperation. Whatever the reason is, be thankful. You are in a position where you can put yourself in control to live life on your terms. With a confident sales background, you’ll have more doors open for you than from any other profession. You are open ended, you’ll fit in any industry, and you can thrive.
The reason I’m so assured in this is that most people who attempt sales end up seeing themselves out of the profession because of instances like mine. Fear is just too overpowering, because their skill set is too low. Think about anything you’re good at. Cooking? Writing? Training? Running? Knitting? Anything! If you’re so good at something that someone would call you a natural for it, you most likely enjoy doing it. It’s not drudgery or painful. Why? Because you can see quick and satisfying results.
Well guess what? People who master the skill of sales love it! They have total control over their profession.
The same is true in reverse. If you’re not good at something you will avoid it. Hate cooking? I bet you eat out a lot more. Hate lifting weights? You may be dominated the cardio scene instead. It’s just how we’re wired. We avoid pain and seek pleasure. Having a low skill set feels like pain so we get away from it.
· Sometimes referred to as the pleasure-pain principle, this motivating force helps drive behavior, but it also wants instant satisfaction. – Kendra Cherry; verywellmind.com
But that’s just the thing with a skill. It’s learnable. It’s not inherent. It’s practiced and improved. Once a salesperson gets themselves to a point where they’re closing a high ratio of their prospects, the game begins. It starts to be fun. They can focus on competition and company incentives and setting life goals because they know they have a shot. Until that skill is increased, that salesperson is a ticking time bomb.
· “…the more adept you become at a skill, the less work your brain has to do. Over time, a skill becomes automatic and you don't need to think about what you're doing. This is because your brain is strengthening itself over time as you learn that skill.” - Thorin Klosowski; Lifehacker.com
So, since we’re in this together, we’re going to go to the next level together. Not only have I compiled 17 + years’ worth of skills and techniques to pass down, I will be collaborating with the nation’s best saleswomen so we can glean insight and collaborate to collectively grow together as women in this exclusive field.
I’m so happy you’re here. Now, let’s get started.