“You Won’t Like Me When We Are Finished”

… That’s how my strategy session began.  Not very comforting I would say. In truth, I trusted this friend and if I wasn’t ready to hear the harsh truth, I wouldn’t have asked for his help.

So we began by defining a few categories, those that brought in money and those that didn’t, what absolutely needed to be done and what was left over. Of course in my eyes, I had nothing that was left over and everything I did was on the list for possible revenue.  Did I say he was not afraid to call me out? And that happened more than once I will add. I’m not a real strategy kind of girl. I’m a great student however. If you tell me what I need to do, I will do it.

After a few hours I was so glad it was time for lunch so I could absorb what was being discussed and I didn’t have to remove any more items from one category to another….for a short while anyway. You have to understand that in order to add anything to a category you need to eliminate something else. Should I remind you that I have relationships with everything I do so eliminating something is like breaking up with someone. I hate that!

We are on the last hour and  he has complimented me on my attitude as well as the fact that I haven’t totally lost it or ended up in a pool of tears. The truth of the matter is that I already knew my outcome but it’s so much easier to hear someone else say it for you….I may not have allowed the tears to flow but then again, I had done so much crying over this that I don’t think I had any more tears to share.

Guess you have already figured out that the last program I put together in my wonderful brain is on hold. It was draining me, making me more cranky than I’ve ever been and taking my eye off my real goals. I invested a lot of time, energy and money and that was a difficult pill to swallow but my plan going forward was solid. The content I developed will be used in other programs and I will go forward using the tools I have in place and add this content to the mix. I was on the right path, I just took the wrong fork in the road….for now. I need to be on this path where my purpose and passion is.

So what did I learn from this entire process?

~Don’t be afraid to dream but stop before it becomes a nightmare.

~Ask for help when you have lost your way….something most women don’t like to do.

~Find someone that will not only be your friend, but will tell you when enough is enough.

~Get back on track and be as amazing as you know you are.

My friend told me a story that I replay over and over in my head.  Here is the shortened version.Two men are in the men’s room. One is wearing a very expensive suit and is throwing twenty dollar bills in the toilet. The other man asks him why he is doing that? He replies ” you don’t think I would put my hand in the toilet for a quarter do you?” I hope you got the metaphor….I heard it loud and clear.

Happy Selling!

Commitment

According to dictionary.com, commitment is defined as: a pledge or promise; obligation.  We all have made commitments and try our best to keep them.

The other day I was watching a form of commitment that gave new meaning to the word.  I wanted to share this with you. From my back door you can see trees, flowers, my pool and lots of birds.  I have an outdoor fan that has blades that are not flat, not perpendicular to the ground, but somewhere in between. Seems like a great place for a bird to build a nest, except that even though the blades are wide enough, they are slanted so that if anything is placed on them, it will fall off.  However, I have a momma bird that is determined to build a nest on the blade….and I watch.  She goes back and forth from the rose bush to the fan, from the crepe myrtle to the fan, from the tree branches to the fan.

Back and forth carrying one tiny piece at a time.  Placing it ever so gently on the blade.  Sometimes three or four pieces stay on the blade and then it all falls down.  But, she doesn’t give up because she  knows that she made a promise to her unborn babies that they will have a place to nest and so she continues. We all know the ending to the story….she needed to move on and find another safe place for her family.

I was quite impressed by this “I’m not giving up” attitude of this tiny bird.  It made me think about people giving up on their promises or businesses giving up on their obligations.  I too have thought of throwing my  hands up because something was too difficult or I didn’t see how it made sense to continue.  And then I think of this tiny bird dragging branches larger than she in order to fulfill her commitment.

Here are some simple principles on commitment in business:

  1. Commitment to a set of values, principles or beliefs
  2. Commitment to oneself
  3. Commitment to your customer
  4. Commitment to results
Happy Selling!

So Many Decisions (and 3 tips to ensure you have your act together!)

One of the activities I love the most is to be a mentor for young women.  I believe this goes back to being the only female in many industries and having no female role model to follow. I knew I was missing something.  Over the past few years I have had the pleasure and honor of mentoring some amazing young women.  Of course my first and most special is my daughter, and I hope I have lived up to her expectations.

The other afternoon I met with my mentee Shirley, and as we were going through her choices going forward I was thrust into the old cliche-“Do what I say, not as I do”  because I found myself giving her some solid advice….that I should be following myself.  She is going to graduate and the world is right in front of her.  She is an intelligent young woman with the most amazing work ethics and integrity and is proud of who she is.  She is passionate about some things and tolerant of others but how do you make one decision when there are so many options in front of you.

The first question I asked her, that my business coach asked me some years ago, “If you could do anything you wanted and money, time and age would not be a factor and you could NOT fail, what would it be?  Most people have trouble with this but she had some definite answers.  As she was speaking I knew a phone call I needed to make to someone that she should be connected to…and we did that at that moment.  She was now starting her road map to get to her goals.  We continued peeling back the onion and with each piece we came up some ideas and strategies with agreed upon completion dates.  We then wrote the items down on her calendar and the goal setting began.

Now, how does this relate to me. Aren’t I  the one who is supposed to be the savvy entrepreneur who has her act together….well I thought I did to some extent before our meeting.  So here is what I learned and I thank my beautiful mentee for pinning me down to my own devices:

  1. Write down your goals- Understand that they might need some adjusting and rearranging.
  2. Have someone to bounce things off of.  Your ideas might sound reasonable until you say them out loud.  An objective person can add valuable insight.
  3. Never give up on your dreams. Sometimes they may seem out of reach but with some discussion and other resources they become crystal clear.

Remember- Every day is the beginning of a new dream.  Focus on what is important to you and make your dreams come true.

Happy Selling!

 

5 Tips to Stay “Client Focused” in 2012

1. People buy from people they like. It is important to spend time connecting with your prospect. It should only take 1-3 emails and the first 5 minutes of your appointment.

2. Assessing your client’s needs means identifying where the client is vs. where he/she wants to be. You then demonstrate how your product/service can fill the gap.

3. Remember to actively listen as you take notes. Restate the prospect’s answers to your questions to show you understand and ask followup questions to clarify the issues that your product or service can solve.

4. People like to buy, not be sold. Approach all aspects of the sales process from the client’s point of view – don’t “sell,” instead “solve problems.”

5. Even though men and women communicate differently, building a relationship is important to both genders. The difference is how you get there. Men focus on the transactions and work up to a relationship. Women start with the relationship and work up to a transaction.

 

The contents of this blog post comes directly from The “Selling In A Skirt Newsletter”. For more great sales tips and to get monthly content delivered directly to your inbox click here to subscribe for free! Still skeptical? No problem! Click here to see our newsletter archive to see what you have missed!

I’m On Youtube!

For those of you unfamiliar with my youtube channel, I just wanted to create a quick little post about what is going on over on that corner of the web in case it is something you could find some value in.

Every week (for the next year at least) I release a short little sales tip video. The videos are usually close to a minute long, and are simply designed to get your wheels turning. Even though the length of the video  doesn’t really let me dive too deep into any one topic, the goal is to create conversation starters, a fresh perspective, or even help you in an area your sales process might not be operating at its true potential.

You can see this week’s video below, but I encourage you to check out (and subscribe to!) my channel on youtube. If you have any questions about how to subscribe, or would like to discuss any of the topics covered in one of the videos please don’t hesitate to contact me at judy@sellinginaskirt.com!

Happy Selling!

 

 

Prospecting Habits- The 3 Most Important Ones Used By Successful Salespeople

Don’t Multitask –

 Done thing at a time and finish it before moving to the next. Studies conducted at MIT show that our brain does not focus well on more than one thing. Multi-tasking is an illusion and your IQ drops as much as 10 points when you are multitasking!

 

Get Organized – 

Don’t waste the customers time, (or your time!) looking for information that you should have readily available. Plan ahead, or learn everything you need to to have the information in the front of your mind. Create systems tailored to your work habits that will keep you focused.

 

Be True To Your Word – 

Do what you say you are going to do. If you say you are going to call someone in 24 hours, call them within 24 hours. Salespeople start off with a strike against them in the trust department. Customers woory that once they pay you, you will leave them high and dry. Don’t be that person.

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The Cover of ‘Exceptional People’ Magazine!

I am extremely happy to announce that Exceptional People Magazine featured me on the cover of their magazine! You can read the interview by clicking here. Or if you prefer to download it to print and read later you can do so by clicking here.

Here is an excerpt from the interview:

Monica: What are some common challenges that
women face in sales?

Judy: Women like to build relationships, so the sales
process can take a little bit longer. So the number one
challenge is time. Managers who don’t recognize the
importance of building relationships may feel that you’re
taking too much time. Sometimes the client thinks you’re
taking too much time, and your employer may feel the
same way.

Since women purchase 85% of all consumer products,
they need to build customer relationships.

Monica: Can you identify some experiences you have
encountered when being approached by a salesperson or
specifically a male salesperson?

Judy: Sure. I was going to lease a car, and I was decid-
ing between two different vehicles. I went to the first
dealership, and the salesman walked up to me and asked
if I was going to buy a car that day. I said yes, and he
brought me into his office and started filling out an appli-
cation. And I said…

Take a look through the magazine. If you like what you are reading you can see more at http://www.exceptionalmag.com/

Determination: The Recipe for Success

The following is a guest post by Elizabeth Ann Stewart founder of the  Brain and Body Wellness Center.

I grew up with an extremely unreal expectation of what it would take to be successful.

After all, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears just had to sing and dance and they were rich and famous! If I built a website that sold whatever, people would obviously come and buy and I would have enough income to never work a 9-5 job and do what I want all the time.

Thank you media for that lovely life expectation.

As I found out, while working 7 days a week to put myself through college, being successful is far more challenging than the world will have you believe. I could take this story down that path and rehash the hardship of taking care of a deathly ill mother and younger brother, not having enough money left over after bills at the end of a full work week to put groceries in my fridge, and being alone to do all this. But we all have stories like that. What I didn’t understand when I was younger is what separated the Lady GaGas and the Bill Gates of the world from everyone else is that they didn’t let that hardship define them. They also didn’t wait around for anyone to feel sorry for what they had been through and they trusted themselves.

So instead the theme that I find myself coming back to now is determination. I now run a heath company called the Brain and Body Wellness Center. Our clinic regulates brain chemistry for children and adults who have ADHD and depression and boomers and seniors who have lost their memory (Alzheimer’s, dementia). This work is extremely rewarding but it is extremely challenging.

What gets me through the day (and keeps me coming back every day!) is the fact that I found something that was important enough to me to give my all to. Don’t get me wrong, I still have dreams of singing love songs with a guitar in front of thousands of people, but when it comes down to it, having a calling trumped my other dreams. I am passionate about a lot of things, but committed to one, and that is where my dream of success and reality met each other.

Are You In Transition?

According to dictionary.com, transition is “movement, passage, or change from one position, state,stage, subject, concept, etc., to another; change: the transition from adolescence to adulthood.”

It seems there is an awful lot of people in transition these days. The most common form seem to be those in a career transition. Either they have been promoted right out of their position or down-sized due to company budget-cuts. This affects not only those without a job but their family and friends as well. Whatʼs the best thing to do for those in this transition??  This is the time to network and let those around you know that you need their help.

There are also those graduating from College and are leaving the safety of their University family and transitioning into the cold world. This form of transition is just as difficult because the graduate really has no experience and their network is almost non-existent. Thatʼs where those of us that have a network can offer to make the path that much smoother.

Finally, there is the transition when you as the parent now become the child. Your children are grown and may not need you as much any longer. They have their own lives, friends, and families. To me this is the hardest one of all. You always imagined that you would be the center of your childrenʼs lives. When did it change? How do we make this a smoother transition? One quote that has helped me with this transition is “There are only 2 lasting things we can give our children….one is roots, the other wings.”

Recently I have been approached by people in transition to introduce them to people with whom they can network, to help them find a job or the courage to do their own thing, or even to give them a hug when their family dynamics have changed. Being in transition is a scary enough place. Being in transition alone is overwhelming. Be the person that others contact. It sure feels good giving back.

Have you recently helped someone through a transition? Or maybe even gone through one of your own? Please leave a comment below with your story. I’m sure there are others out there who could benefit from your perspective.

Women Do It Three Times More Than Men

I was honored to be asked to guest blog for Kim Duke-The Sales Divas. I decided to write about ONE of the many differences between men and women…So what do women do three times more than men….

Ask questions!

Every action, every moment of every day is taken only after DOZENS of questions have been answered to our satisfaction.

Most of us don’t even realize the number and scope of questions we run through in our minds…just to make the smallest of decisions.  Let me give you an example that I think we as women, can all relate to.

Have You Ever Asked Yourself THESE Questions?

As you read this, raise your hand mentally if you have ever asked yourself:

  • If you should attend a certain event; it could be a networking event, a business luncheon or even a quick happy hour.
  • Did you also wonder how much it would cost to attend?  What was on the agenda?
  • What should I wear?
  • Is parking included?
  • Will they feed me?  What will they feed me?
  • Will I run into that dork from work?  My boss?
  • Will it be worth a day off from work?
  • Will I be out in time to pick up the kids?  The dry cleaning?  Dinner?

Wait, WHAT was the original question? Can you even remember it?  It was should you attend an event. And that was only the first round of questions, wasnʼt it?

It is important, that you understand the importance of questions, embrace it and use it.  It is your ability to ask the RIGHT questions at the RIGHT time to the RIGHT people that will help you FIND the right customers.

There are various types of questions and reasons why we use them.  And, guess what?  Men and women differ in the types of questions they use.

 

Men: Gather Info.  Women: Gather and Grow Relationships.

Asking questions means different things to men and women.

Men ask questions for one purpose only: To gather information.

For women, asking questions serves two purposes: One is to gather information and the other is to show interest in what the other person has said to cultivate the relationship.

Women ask a lot of questions, more than men and they simply CANNOT move forward until all of them are answered. Sometimes they ask questions that men donʼt think to ask. Women have a relationship with everything they buy.  Men exchange information and women have a relationship with the information they exchange.

Understanding the types of questions will help you understand what tools are in your toolbox. Understanding how men and women communicate will help you understand which of those tools to use.

 

As a quick reference, think of it this way. 

Men are generally transactional in nature and look for facts and figures and  want to close the deal quickly.  Their type of question would be more closed-ended-simply gathering information.

Women are generally relational meaning they want to build a relationship first and THEN work on closing the deal.  Their type of question would be more open-ended-this requires the client to provide their own answer and be an active participant in the conversation.  If done correctly, the close will be a natural part of the process.

You need to be prepared to not only ask questions during the sales process, but to also be aware of the types of questions you’re asking and the GENDER of the customer to whom you are asking them. The more information you gather, the more you get to know what the underlying factors are.

Sharing this information will help build the long-term relationship that we all strive to have with our clients.

(Which is why we ask questions three times MORE than men!) 

So… What did you think of this post? Do you agree? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.