Lorraine Ferguson is one of the great saleswomen. She started her career in the industry in the mid-eighties by working for a startup company. Like many women, she didn’t see herself as a salesperson but her job for the startup company called for it and Lorraine ended up joining a team of salesmen.
Lorraine was young and inexperienced so she did what she could by imitating what she saw the salesmen were doing. With so much pressure sales, the job didn’t seem appealing. Sales were all about making the deal and sharing the benefits and features of the products and services. Lorraine did what she could but the biggest challenge wasn’t selling. It was her gender. Lorraine felt that she wasn’t taken seriously and several times during a negotiation, she was asked to bring in her boss.
It wasn’t just her lack of experience and knowledge that became a challenge. She was also conducting herself based on the way she was raised. She was taught that being a good girl meant being accommodating, knowing her place, and waiting for her turn. Lorraine didn’t immediately realize that she was carrying all these lessons as she became a salesperson. When somebody told her to jump, she’d say, “How high?” She just wasn’t being treated as an equal and she wasn’t acting like one.
People have developed a negative view of sales, women included. It’s not a career you immediately want to join or take a part in. This is the mindset that many people have toward sales. Women are also not told encouraged to join sales as a potential career, especially by your guidance counselor. People don’t typically see sales as an option.
Another reason why women don’t perceive sales as a possible career is the hiring process. Men are still the favored gender because the majority of the sales leader positions are occupied by men. Women aren’t seen as a fit for sales. A lot of people look at sales as a stepping stone or last resort. It’s the mindset that if you’ve got nothing else to do, then try sales.
This, of course, isn’t true. There is so much more to sales and it can be a very profitable career. As a profession, it’s very flexible, and women have many natural strengths that are needed by today’s sales professionals.
Women can make a big difference in the sales industry for many reasons. They have the right skill set to become successful in this career. It’s not just knowing about the products and services, it’s also about having the natural ability to connect and understand another person. Consumers today are expecting salespeople to know about their businesses as much as they know the products and services they sell.
Women have the innate ability to connect the dots when trying to understand a problem and how they might solve it. Women are great listeners and asking the right questions is always a good start in a sales conversation. When women talk to their best friend, they give their attention and they listen. They also ask tough questions to help their friends solve the problems themselves. This can also be used in sales. Women in sales are bringing a lot to the table because they tend to be more concerned about others than they are for themselves. It’s their nature to put others first. Women tend to like to help others and this is what sales is all about.
Other skills women have is their ability to organize and follow-through. A woman who wants flexibility, to make their mark, to be a problem solver, and to work on her own schedule is someone who would fit the sales industry perfectly.
In a male-dominated industry, women have to work harder to prove themselves to the person they are working for. This can be difficult to do but women’s organizational skills help. The truth is that when most salespeople think they have a sales process, the reality is that they either have one that doesn’t work or they don’t really have one, to begin with.
Women make sure to make a roadmap for their sales process. These questions guide and shape the sales system.
Women do things in the right order so they have a high predictability of success. A woman with a process will always win over the salesperson who has no real system. She knows how to start a conversation, gain control, and set expectations. A woman with a sales process understands what it is that she needs to uncover to qualify someone.
Women couple their natural skills with their sales process so there’s no pressure. It’s conversational and disarmingly honest.
Lorraine had an awakening in her sales career. It was during the time when men dominated the industry and one day, she got angry about being ignored. She decided to make a change and she had an unconditional commitment to making that change.
Lorraine would go to her sales calls with a voice in the back of her mind reminding her to be polite, to refrain from asking questions, and to let everybody else go first. She didn’t think of herself as an equal. She had to change that mindset by working on her personal presence. Lorraine looked at her reflection in the mirror and observed her body language and how she was coming across. She started to prepare more for her meetings to be able to take control of the conversation.
Lorraine found that if she practiced and prepared for her meetings, she got better outcomes. She’d meet her clients and with her agenda already planned, she’d take control of the situation right away. The little changes that Lorraine made in her sales process and her personal presence advanced her quickly. She took control from the very beginning of the conversation but then ensured her client that the conversation was collaborative. She wasn’t being aggressive, she was being assertive.
Having the ability to set an agenda made a huge difference for Lorraine and it eventually became an effective habit for her. She also started ending each meeting by sharing her next steps and she saw how her potential clients would sit up in their chairs in anticipation of that next step.
Unfortunately, not a lot has changed in sales in the way men perceive women in the industry nor has the way women respond to this perception.
There’s still some work to do on that front but Lorraine shared that the tide is going to change. This can be credited to how women are showing their male counterparts that they don’t need to sell like a man to be successful in what they do. There’s a level of respect when women are successful. As a woman, Lorraine takes some risks. When she’s uncomfortable, she’s upfront about it. The worst-case scenario when women take risks is that they don’t get to do business with a potential client. Still, the best-case scenario is that they’ll close a deal. Take a chance. Ask the hard-hitting questions and be okay with feeling comfortable. To make it easier, you can ask, “Can I ask a tough question?” Buyers are desperate to talk with someone who is willing to really listen and understand what is going on.
The sales industry is still a challenge for women as they get put in uncomfortable circumstances and feel disrespected but they can also stand in their strengths.
Sales is a good fit for both men and women but there are three things that we need to work on:
Women in sales can level the playing field and be competent in the sales industry if they keep those three things in mind. Reach Lorraine Ferguson via her email or visit her LinkedIn account. If you are interested in more sales stories, you can talk to Donald about it. Reach him via these channels: LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook about any sales concerns. This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals.
Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. We have a new semester beginning this March and we would love to have you and your team join us. Follow this link to apply to the program. We’d love for you to join us for our next episodes so tune in on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to.
You can also read more about sales or listen to audiobooks on Audible and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound. Other songs used in the episodes are as follows: The Organ Grinder written by Bradley Jay Hill, performed by Bright Seed, and Produced by Brightseed and Hill.
The Best Sellers in History has been a hit and we’ve been doing it for the last few months. We have highlighted individuals and classified them as the best sellers throughout history. Over the course of the series, we’ve talked about:
In this series, Donald has talked about several individuals who made their mark. They were influential and persuasive people who were able to make a difference in their lifetimes. We’ve talked about Jesus Christ, Oprah Winfrey, Reginald F Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Benjamin Franklin, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Abraham Lincoln. They were amazing sales people even though they weren’t in sales for a living. For example, Abraham Lincoln wasn’t a salesman but he did sell a major idea.
All of the individuals we’ve discussed are tied to a vision we are still talking about today. Websters defines vision as a thought, concept or object formed by the imagination. You can have a vision but that doesn’t necessarily mean your vision is going to compel people to take action. For people to join you, your vision must reveal and alleviate the pain. If people understand how your vision can help them, they will want to know more and be more compelled to come alongside. People need to understand why they should sacrifice their time, effort, and resources for your vision.
Martin Luther King Jr., illustrated this beautifully in his speech, I Have a Dream. He didn’t offer a detailed plan of execution, Martin Luther King Jr. simply stated his vision and invited our imaginations to join him in a better world.
If you want to become a great salesperson, you too must be able to learn to sell a dream.
As scripts are recycled, sales reps are saying the same things. How are you going to stand out in the way you communicate with your prospects? By recognizing your clients’ pain points and offering a vision of what life would be like without these challenges. Here’s an example:
“60% of what your sales reps are doing today are non-sales related activities and will not generate business for your organization. Based on what you’re paying them, that could cost you anywhere from $2000 to $5000 in wasted resources, not to mention lost opportunities. If we can demonstrate how we have helped other organizations like yourself show their sales reps how to become more productive and increase sales by 30 to 40% per rep. would you be open to learning more about that?”
You can do this in the form of a video or a phone call. Regardless of the platform you use, be able to paint a picture for your prospect. Speak about the pain that most sales leaders and other businesses face. Help the culture change within the organization by making them see the problem, quantifying their pain, and helping them see how bad it impacts their business. You are giving them a vision of what life could be like for their organization if they keep going in the same direction. As the sales rep, show up as the solution.
It’s a fact that not everyone will buy into your vision, just like the other individuals we’ve talked about in this series. The greatest sales people in history faced opposition but they showed up and they were brave. Be brave.
The second lesson from this series is to not fear the challenge of going against the status quo or your own organization. When organizations find themselves in a rut , they can do the same things over and over again even if they’re still not seeing positive results. Disrupt the rhythm by showing how you can provide the opportunity for these systems to get better.
When you offer change, be respectful and be ready to show the data. Pepared and take on chances.
The new series will be coming in after the month of March. We will be focusing on SaaS and we’ll be interviewing individuals who are in the SaaS world. This series is called BDR, business development representatives and it’ll be rolling out by April. We’ll be getting on people from Donald’s team. It’s almost like a reality TV show and they are going to talk about their journey and experiences as salespeople and how they were able to become successful. This series may run for six episodes and will be posted and played every Wednesday.
If you want to hear more and review this series, you can just head on to The Sales Evangelist podcast site and type Best sellers in history series in the search bar.
This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077.
We have a new semester beginning on February 14th and we would love to have you and your team join us. Follow this link to apply to the program.
We’d love for you to join us for our next episodes so tune in on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to.
You can also read more about sales or listen to audiobooks on Audible and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial.
We have produced 900 podcast episodes!
Today on The Sales Evangelist we’ll celebrate our 900th episode and share the impact the podcast has had on our business, as well as some highs and lows. We’ll discuss where we came from and where we are going.
It’s humbling to think about. Twenty episodes a month designed to provide quality content that can help you and your sales team perform better in your sales.
We’re so thankful to each of you for emailing us, messaging us, and sharing how the podcast is helping you.
In preparation for this episode, I went into our Facebook group, The Sales Evangelizers, to find out what people would like to hear about.
The podcast made the business.
My suggestion is to encourage each of you to consider operating a podcast.
There are 550,000 podcasts. Podcasts exist in every niche you can think of. There are also people who want to digest the content you’ve produced. And there’s still plenty of room.
Only 44 percent of people have listened to a podcast. Forty-nine percent of listening happens at home. Twenty-two percent of podcasts are consumed while driving. Sixty-nine percent of podcasts are consumed on smartphones, and 31 percent occurs on desktop computers.
You can listen while you do other things like mow the lawn, walk the dog, or drive a car.
Podcasts span all generations.
I stumbled onto podcasting when my friend Jared Easley invited me onto his podcast. There were a few sales podcasters out there at the time, and I wasn’t entirely sure I could stand up to their audiences.
The podcast led to coaching, which led to speaking. I was trying to find my niche, and I decided to focus on sales. I added sales consulting next, which includes sales team training, and then online courses and workshops. Finally, I added The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, an online group coaching program.
The podcast provides leads and conversations that connect us to other people.
We’ve recently started pushing Instagram a lot. We’re going to start sharing more content on Instagram TV at least once or twice a week. We’ll share videos, sales strategies, and other content that helps you learn who I am and improve your sales skills.
We also plan to introduce a YouTube channel, which should emerge during Q4.
The other thing is that we have a Sales Podcast Network which includes three podcasts, and a fourth on the way.
The first is this podcast, and the second is a podcast called Sold, which is a narrative interview with executives who talk about experiences they’ve had with salespeople.
They talk about the things they like and the things they don’t like, and they give us ideas about emailing, prospecting, building value, and connecting.
Sold will follow a seasonal schedule with breaks between the seasons.
The third podcast is Video Jungle. It’s an affiliate podcast that gives you an understanding of the video industry and helps you understand how you can make your brand stand out using video.
The fourth podcast is still in the works, and we’ll share more details about that later.
We are growing this podcasting space, and the whole network will relate to sales.
When I was a software sales rep, I met a guy during my lunch break to interview him. The guy was mentioned in Forbes magazine for the 30 Under 30 feature.
When I met with him, I discovered an opportunity for the company I was working with to help the company he was working with.
His company needed a secure place to store documents.
Although it didn’t turn into a sale, the podcast gave me a foot in the door of that company and it made it easy to connect with the decision-makers.
Another success story happened early on when I was trying to develop coaching. I created the sales page and a guy reached out to me from Tokyo. He was working with manufacturers because something changed and he needed to do sales despite the fact that he’s a tech guy.
The prospect Googled sales coaching and found my page, which led to a relationship as a coaching client. He did a world tour, and I was coaching him throughout his travels.
He’s out of the sales role and still in communication with us today, but we were able to help him get through the process.
When I discovered we had downloads all over the world, I started the semester approach to TSE Hustler’s League. As a result, I had people join from Europe and other places around the world.
It was cool enough to have people in this country join us, but it was especially cool to know that people were staying up late in different time zones to be part of the group.
It was humbling to know that our podcast was impacting people and their businesses all over the world. We were helping them with sales in different markets and different cultures.
I have multiple stories like that about our ability to impact people all over the world just because people listened to the podcast. It has been powerful to track their individual progress and see how they are improving.
Finally, I wanted to find speaking opportunities and I was contemplating leaving my regular job. About that time, the company I worked for changed their model so that it benefitted the company but not the sellers.
Basically, they were going to pay my commission over the course of several years instead of paying a lump sum, which benefitted the company but not me.
I realized that the house always wins, and I decided I needed to become the house.
After I left the company, I got my first paid speaking gig, and the fee was equivalent to the amount I lost when my company changed its model.
That convinced me that this was validated and I was headed in the right direction.
The podcast wasn’t working properly at one point, and it completely crashed.
I didn’t know what to do, and I was afraid no one would be listening to the podcast after this. I didn’t see how we could thrive after that.
A few weeks passed and I wondered if it was worth all the effort. I got comfortable not doing the podcast. I was anxious, and a month passed before the site was restored.
The thing that caused me to resume the podcast was the number of people who rely on the podcast and who have benefitted from it.
During that time, listeners contacted me to ask when it would resume. I still needed to provide for my family, so I needed to do something to revive the podcast.
That made me dig my heels in and focus on overcoming the challenges. We all have obstacles, but if we stop every time things get difficult, we’ll never accomplish anything.
I stayed up one night for 24 hours to get it up and running, and we were back better than ever.
As a natural byproduct of delegating some of the tasks, I was able to focus on things that mattered. As a result, the business continued to grow.
When I tell you to get rid of menial tasks, I tell you that because it has worked for me. As we’re growing and developing, I continually find more tasks that team members can help me with.
I don’t need to do it all, and it benefits my team when I ask them to help me with those tasks.
We’re 100 episodes away from number 1,000 and we’d love to hear what you’d like us to address on number 1,000.
It would be cool to interview some of you who have been around for a long time and hear how you’ve seen the podcast grow. I’d love to hear your feelings about the show and any ideas you might have.
The whole team at The Sales Evangelist wants to help you find more ideal customers, to help you build stronger value when you meet with those customers, and to give you the guidance and coaching you need to close more deals.
My challenge is to go out every day and do big things.
TSE Hustler’s League is a 10-week group coaching program that costs $150 a month. The program is designed to help sellers of all levels and all industries increase their sales performance. We have a new semester starting this fall, and we’d love to have you join us.
Check out The Sales Evangelizers on Facebook, where a community of people shares their struggles and their experiences with selling.
Check out the Video Jungle podcast, your source for marketing and selling your brand using video. Plan, create and share your way to better content and strategy.
Leave us a review wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode.
In this episode I share my personal thoughts on why I feel selling into LARGE accounts is better than smaller ones. I’ve had the privilege of working with both and the overwhelming conclusion came to me that large accounts were so much more worth it. Why? Because of the fact that large accounts and small accounts tend to take the same amount of time to close, large accounts tend to have a bigger budget, they also offer easier way to up sell and the commission far exceeds that of the smaller accounts.
But you are probably asking yourself, why are more people not taking advantage of large account selling? Well, the answer is simple. It’s because of the fear of failure or thinking it is harder to get into larger than the smaller accounts. Another reason that ties closely to fear, is not knowing how. But since I am the lab test, I have experiment with both and the results were astounding. Here are my thoughts why and how you need to get started on larger accounts.
1. Requires The Same Amount of Time
When I worked with large and small accounts, they took the same amount of time because I had to do the same work in both accounts. I had to identifying the challenges, meet with key decision makers, discuss budget, offer a demo, go through contract/negotiation and wait though the legal process (aka contract hell). When it was all said and done, both took about the same amount of time. I was so convinced that the smaller guys would take up less time to close and thus I could do more of those, but it was simply FALSE. Thinking they will close quicker than the big guys, is a deceptive concept that we tell ourselves as sellers.
2. Larger Budget to Spend
Larger accounts also tend to have a more decent size budget than smaller accounts and thus pricing never becomes an obstacle, especially when you clearly identify a solid solution to a challenge they are facing. When working with small accounts, their budgets are tighter and thus they are more willing to live with pain than to fix it. Larger accounts will also offer you the ability to do more up selling as you properly manage the account during the sales cycle and post sale.
3. Better Commission for You
Since the large accounts have a significantly bigger budget, (in my case the deal was 6 times greater than the smaller account), the commission will be much more favorable with the larger accounts. Understanding that they will take the same amount of time to close and the same amount of work, why would you do anything else? It’s a no brainer decision.
But how do you get into these lager accounts? The same way you get into any ideal company (small or larger). Start off in one department and grow from there. For instant, can you assist the HR department in phase one of your deal and then work your way into other departments for phase two and three. This will allow you to learn the account, key individuals and understand processes and challenges facing their business. Your champion will then be a able to introduce you to decision makers in other departments and thus have a warm introduction instead of cold calling.
Take it from me, large accounts offer the best bang for the buck. However, as I discuss in the episode, if your business model has been successful working with small accounts, keep working your plan. If you are just scared of starting, stop it and start hunting bigger accounts.
I would like to hear your thoughts. What’s your experience working with larger v.s. small accounts? Feel free to weigh in on the conversation in our private Facebook Group, “The Sales Evangelizers”.
Remember, DO BIG THINGS!
During this episode I had the honor of having one of my listeners and great friend, Shem Carlson on the show. Shem is an Account Manager for Hibu formerly “Yellowbook”. He is currently finding great success selling media advertising for small businesses.
Now, back in episode 6 Shem asked a question on how to deal with buyers who are too nice to tell you they are not interested. Shem was new to sales at the time and found himself dealing with a lot of these undecided buyers, who ultimately was wasting his time. I shared with him a principle that completely revolutionized the way I sold, when I faced similar challenges.
Since then, Shem has applied what I taught him and has seen a tremndous difference. This episode is our discussion about his story and how it can help others.
Here are some of the major take-ways from our discussion:
Stay In Contact with Shem:
So I wanted to start something new on the show. We have many listeners who are applying the things that we are sharing and are finding success. On today’s episode we share Jason’s success story.
Jason Tripp is a business-to-business sales professional working for Verizon Wireless. He has been working with them for about 15 months and is quickly rising to become one of the elite performers in the company.
One of the things that he has used specifically from one of our previous episodes (TSE Episode 028) is the calendar invite technique. During this episode Jason shares with us the challenge he was facing with scheduling an appointment with a prospect. He applied the concept that he learned from the show and was able to bring in a new client.
Come and listen to our discussion and learn how he was able to do this.
Stay In Contact with Jason here: