Professional Saleswomen – Equal Business Stature
So, if all things are equal–equal opportunity, equal time, equal obstacles to overcome and so on–who would win the sales contest? Would it be the male sales professional or the female sales professional? Certainly you can find success in both ranks, but the market does not treat the man/woman professional the same, which I suppose can be considered unfair. Nevertheless, understanding the challenges and how to overcome them make this a non-issue. In this article, we will focus on the professional saleswoman.
Almost all sales engagements have the prospect taking the position of authority and the salesperson taking the position of submission. However, this posture is unfavorable for the sales professional since this often results in servicing prospects that do not purchase in the end. High performance comes when the sales professional can tactfully establish equal-business stature between themselves and the prospect. For the woman sales professional, establishing equal-business stature can be more challenging mainly because of traditional belief systems that encourage even more the authority role of the prospect and the servant role of the salesperson. If this sounds politically incorrect and upsets you some, allow me to apologize. Remember what was mentioned earlier in that the sales professional, man or woman, needs to understand the challenges in their market and thus overcome them, because they can be overcome.
I introduce you to Nancy, a professional mortgage loan officer who is an expert in her field and can find solutions to mortgage challenges when many other loan officers cannot. She works very hard, puts in a lot of hours, but earns a wage that is less than what she wants. Over and over Nancy would demonstrate her expertise by pulling together information, doing the research, bringing in the right partners and delivering a workable solution even on the most difficult of circumstances. Then she learns that her prospect has auctioned off her intellectual property to a lower rate mortgage provider and the opportunity is gone. The prospect was in control (authority) and Nancy became a servant (submission).
The engagement often started with the prospect calling Nancy and saying “What are your rates?” For weeks, I instructed Nancy to demand equal-business stature by responding with “We have the highest rates in town.” Nancy was not comfortable with such an assertive stance since for years, she was playing the role of servant, but she got out of her comfort zone and started to push back. Something remarkable started to happen. Prospects didn’t hang up on her. They didn’t pursue the lower rate mortgage companies. Instead, they wanted to know why her rates were so high which then began a sales conversation where Nancy was in control. The prospects that were not interested in Nancy’s high rates moved on without consuming any of Nancy’s time. Those were the same prospects that would have put her to work (servant), consumed her time, and still would have auction off her information to the low rate provider. But her new posture has funneled the rate shoppers to her competitors and funneled the prospects that wanted her expertise into an equal-business stature sales conversation that more often than not resulted in business. Just last month with her newfound selling posture, Nancy earned commissions that are three-times larger than her historical averages.
Another thing that helped Nancy was a change in her mindset when it came to sales. While it wasn’t completely true, Nancy started to believe that she was financially independent and that she didn’t need the business. This shift in mindset allowed her not to be fearful of losing business she didn’t have and to be more assertive when talking with prospects thus avoiding falling into the submissive role of servant. She found herself working only on deals that closed and those that were shoppers were quickly dismissed.
High performance sales is available to all selling professionals. If you play the submissive servant role in the sales dance, you will sell, but it will take a lot of time and energy and high performance is difficult to achieve. If you tactfully demand equal-business stature in your sales conversation, you will see how easy it is to become the high performance saleswoman (or salesman) that you always wanted to be.
by Karl Schaphorst, President
402-403-4334 | www.karlschaphorst.sandler.com
Sandler Training is a global training organization with over three decades of experience and proven results. Sandler provides sales and management training and consulting services for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as well as corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies. For more information, please contact Karl Schaphorst at (402) 403-4334 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow his blog at karlschaphorst.sandler.com