How To Sell Like a Girl – Seattle Startup Week

I’ve learned to stop thinking of myself as a sales-woman — and I regularly work with clients that struggle with this idea of “closing”.  I’ve even heard things like, “If you want me to close something, ask me to close the door, close the lid on a jar… but a sale?”  For myself, my background in health care as a clinician has naturally changed my view on myself and on sales — I see myself now as a fixer, a listener — a putting things together kind of person.  These are things that I do intuitively.  Can that fit into sales?  Absolutely.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when I’m sitting at Startup Week Seattle last week (Day 2!) and the session I’m sitting in is titled, “How To Sell Like a Girl.”  This concept comes from Jill Konrath and her sales declaration of, “I sell like a girl.”  Unfortunately, in our society, doing anything “like a girl” is often derogatory in nature.  It means something is more emotional, more feminine, “weak,” or just not as cool or strong as anything done “like a guy” is.  For sales, though, this concept is about people.  Women are often great at people.  We’re great at relationships.  We can very naturally be care-givers, fixers, listeners.  We could have done it as a first career already!

This concept moves away from the traditional used car salesman view.  The focus on “selling like a girl” is about the customer — what is right for the person we are talking to?  Sometimes, that means it isn’t us or our product.  It’s about:

  • Asking Tons of Questions
  • Collaboration
  • Caring About Your Prospects (and making them feel that way…)
  • Not Being a Pushover

The presentation touched on listening carefully, paying attention to the details (not simply waiting for your turn to talk), developing relationships and being vulnerable.  People want to do business with folks that they like, relate to, and have something in common with.  Part of this includes sharing yourself and developing the relationship in the process.

This isn’t to say that everything is niceness, unicorns and rainbows.  Great relationships require balance and is partly why “not being a pushover” is an important step in selling like a girl.  While snagging the sale is great, once you have a customer — you must begin the balancing act of managing expectations.  You can’t sell the world and then only deliver Canada.  Or you can’t let your client believe they are getting the world for the cost of Canada.  Establishing those relationships allow you to establish better consumer expectations for the product and for the process.  You don’t want to have one without the other.

If you run into me here at Leantime, this is my sales philosophy.  I’m first a girl, biologically speaking, but this is innately who I am.  That’s how my first career got started.  If I sell to you, I’m going to sell like a girl.

How do you sell?  What are your go-tos for a sale?  Are you selling like a girl?

Gloria Folaron is the CEO and founder of Leantime. A Nurse first, she describes herself as an original non-project manager. Being diagnosed with ADHD later in life, she has hands on experience in navigating the world of project and product management and staying organized with ADHD.

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