With high-powered women out there like Oprah and Sheryl Sandberg, it’s quite obvious that the glass ceiling has shattered. However, looking at the list of CEO’s in the S&P 500, only 4.4% of CEO positions are held by women. Frankly, that number is shocking, and it made me look at the modern business landscape a whole lot differently. As a podcaster, I have done over 200 interviews, but with my new viewpoint, I checked my back catalogue and found that I have interviewed only 24 women. Yikes!
I wanted to find out just what makes a bad ass businesswoman, one able to rise, even when faced with odds that are still not quite in her favor. I sat down with Hungry for Happiness founder Samantha Skelly to find out what are her key skills are that have allowed her to pull away from the pack.
1. Going from Online Lead to the Phone: For many of us, the Internet is our sales funnel, but as for those online leads, what do you do with them? How do you take a prospect from lead to phone?
Being genuinely interested in their pain. With the clients I deal with, sometimes they have never shared with another human what they are struggling with. When someone is present and shows genuine interest in what they are going through, it makes people feel safe and heard. I get super curious at first, finding out as much as I can online. If I decide I can help them with what they are struggling with, I offer to jump on a quick 15 minute call with them. I always give the time and date I am available to avoid the back and forth.
2. High Ticket Sales From the phone: So much time can be wasted on a presentation, many times for nothing, but if you can make sales from the call, how do you go about that?
Listen. So often we focus on the sale and don’t take the time and patience to truly listen to what the person is saying. If you need to take notes during the call, do it – then circle back on the pain points they described. Don’t ever focus on the sale, it will show up in your energy. Right off the bat, I say, “I will share with you what The Society is all about, then you and I together can decide if it’s a fit.” This allows them to feel safe that they ultimately have the decision and you’re going to support them in making it. They want to feel like you understand them, therefore, I say, “I feel you completely.” This creates an emotional bond and mutual understanding.
3. Selling to Genders: Selling is selling, at least my mind it always has been. There’s a process that you take a prospect through, then you get ready for the close; coffee’s for closers. Is selling to men different than selling to women?
Women love to be massaged, touched and feel heard. When I am on the phone to a potential client, I speak to her like I’m speaking to a girlfriend, listening with the highest level of curiosity and care. Infusing your calls with love and understanding of where they are at is extremely beneficial. Being completely detached from the outcome is the place you need to come from. Complete the sales call from a place of pure service and understanding, if what you’re offering is the exact fit for their pain, invite them to take action but detach from the outcome. At the moment, I don’t sell to men.
4. Keys to Growth. Stagnancy, especially with a harder road ahead, can be a killer. With so much to focus on, what is the best to focus on?
Consistency is the greatest asset to exponential growth. I’m not successful by dabbling, I fully decide and commit to whatever I am doing, and I show up to do it each and every day.
Simplicity. We tend to over-complicate things in business. Simplify everything. When we are focused on one thing and one thing only, we can perfect it and move on. Stop chasing shiny balls. Get stuck in with the one thing that excites you most and then move on. You can’t do it all, nor should you—everything will be compromised.
Relationships. When people can viscerally feel you care about them, you win every time. Care more than your competitors. People want to feel taken care of when they are doing business with you. Don’t think of it as transactional, ever. Provide more value in terms of care, consideration and service and you’ll never have an empty bank account.
The above being true, I think it may be time to look into a few more female podcast guests. Kidding aside, the sexes don’t have the same routes to success no matter how society wants to look at it. For men and women, it’s about honing a skill set, but with only 4.4% of S&P 500 CEO’s women, two more to be added in March 2017, it seems that women have to focus even more on skills. It’s not to say that one is better than the other in a business sense, but statistically speaking, there’s a lot harder odds for a woman to beat in business. Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.