In the last article, I wrote about how as women, we are naturally good at the interaction (connection) and often really bad at the transaction (asking for the money).
I suggested three theories as to why this is:
Taught to cooperate, not compete
Our view of sales
On to the second reason.
Most women have been taught to be cooperative – not competitive. Though times are changing, think back to when you were young playing on the playground. What were the boys doing? Most likely fighting, racing, wrestling, name calling – whatever they could do to beat the other boys.
With girls, we were playing jump rope, or with dolls, or playing house. And if a little girl called me a name? I wouldn’t talk to her because she was mean. I wouldn’t try and one-up her. Or wrestle her to the ground.
You see, by and large, boys are trained to be competitive. To boast about themselves and their accomplishments.
Women are trained to be cooperative. Put ourselves down. Deflect compliments (“This dress? Oh it was only $9.99″). Never appear to be bragging.
So isn’t it obvious how this hinders us in selling ourselves or our products and services?
I’ve heard women in business, when asked by a prospect about their competition (“What do you think about so and so?), to sing their competition’s praises so well, the prospect wanted to hire the competition instead!!
I’m not saying you should throw your competition under the bus. But at least give yourself a fighting chance!
So how do we fix this? Since most of us are SO uncomfortable with the idea of self-promotion, here are a couple of strategies to get you started.
Stop deflecting compliments. The next time someone compliments you, simply say “Thank you.” You won’t believe how difficult this is.
Start letting yourself win. If you often let others win games (scrabble, euchre, wii, etc.) trying winning for a change. And when you win, be gracious not apologetic!
Stop dwelling on your mistakes and foibles. I heard Brendan Bouchard speak this past weekend. He said that science is showing more and more that anxiety and depression are directly related to how long we hold onto negative thoughts about ourselves and our situations.
Start putting yourself first. Take the last piece of pie. Choose the movie you want to see. Start asserting yourself in small ways – so when you need to assert yourself in a sales situation – it comes more naturally.
Stop thinking of self-promotion as a bad thing. Most men have the attitude “if I don’t sing my own praises, no one will.” And they are right! For the first three years in my business, I wouldn’t ask for a referral or the business from a prospect because I felt like I was good at what I do and people should just want to work with me. This is a delusion!
And for heaven’s sake, start thinking of sales as a good thing! In our next article, I will share how our view of sales keeps us broke.