If I could have a penny for every time a business woman has said to me ‘I was in sales when I was in corporate-world and I was a fabulous saleswoman, yet I find it so much harder to sell now I have my own business’. Sometimes, they have been as senior as National Sales Directors, but on the whole, the women who say this were Business Development Managers, or Account Managers, that type of role. They enjoyed status and success within their company and industry and so it seems a natural progression that they move into business ownership after they either get made redundant or have children.
However, when they’ve started off on their own they suddenly find that their wonderful sales skills have deserted them. How can this be?
I Could Sell When I Worked For Someone Else; What’s Gone Wrong?
Here’s the thing; when you work for a large organisation, your perception of yourself is based on the status and credibility to you ascribe to the organisation for which you work. Critically, you also think that the person you’re talking to (whoever that may be) gives that same status and credibility to you. You’re important because you’re not just Sarah Short, but you’re Sarah Short from Acme Corporation.
When you set up on your own, you don’t even think about this whole status and credibility thing, you just think about the fact that you’re a fabulous saleswoman. You know you are right? Then, when you find yourself in front of a potential customer, you suddenly feel this gaping hole at your back; the ‘status and credibility’ hole that used to be filled by the Acme Corporation. All of a sudden, you’re not Sarah Short from Acme, you’re just Sarah Short. From nowhere at all actually.
I Don’t Feel Credible As A Business Owner
It can cause a real crisis of confidence when you realise that you’re no longer the big fish in the pond, but now you’re a small fish. Plankton even. However, plankton can still make a living!
Just because your business is new, doesn’t make it rubbish. It’s a fledgling company and every company started that way at one time. Even the Acme Corporation started off as someone’s good idea.
If you’re a MLM (multi-level marketing or network marketing) business owner, you can have a double whammy of a crisis of confidence. You’re suddenly not selling to corporates; you’re selling to individuals. Worse yet, you’re selling to individuals that you think may have a negative view about what you’re selling, or the fact that you’re selling at all. Suddenly, this lovely little business that you started so that you could have flexibility, time for your family and still make a living feels like a horrible, sticky, discomfort-inducing burden.
How Can I Feel Like A Fabulous Saleswoman Again?
What you must remember is that all of those thoughts – all of them – are mind-monkeys. Those horrible little buggers that haunt you every single time you dare to step outside of your comfort zone (and make no mistake, starting your first business is WAY outside your comfort zone). They are not real concerns, they are mind-monkey generated concerns that are created for one reason, and one reason alone; to stop you doing anything different from what you’ve always done.
Your subconscious (this is where they live, those mind-monkeys) likes you to stay the same, always. It doesn’t like change. Change feels unsafe and your subconscious strives to always keep you safe. The way it stops you from embracing change is to fill your head with thoughts about what you can/can’t and should/shouldn’t do. These thoughts, in turn, create feelings. Specifically, they create feelings of a lack of confidence and self-esteem.
How To Quieten The Mind-Monkeys
The thing to remember when the mind-monkeys strike is that you are an ethical businesswoman. You sell great products/services that benefit your customers. Focus not on the feeling of dread that you can get when the monkeys roar, but on serving your customer. Focus on making sure that your customer understands how they can benefit from what you offer and why it is perfect for their needs. If you focus on your customer, the mind-monkeys are not as loud.
The other thing that they’re not, is enduring. Every time you do something that’s outside of your comfort zone, that zone stretches a little bit. Eventually, it will have stretched to encompass selling and this will all feel completely natural and as comfortable as it did when you worked for the Acme Corporation! You will realise that you are still a fabulous saleswoman!