Whenever we offer a session on sales, we get women coming out in droves, and this week’s breakfast in Toronto was no exception.

What is it about sales that scares us? Now not everyone granted is, but a good majority. Part of it I think is we have this vision of the sleazy used car salesman in our head, you know, the one selling you the car you don’t want.

I always remember Kim Duke – the Sales Diva – reassuring us that sales equated to a four-letter word –help and if we kept that in mind, it was less scary and we’d be better at it. After all, as women, we like to help people.

Speaker, Patti Pokorchak took a similar approach, explaining it is simply a conversation between two people, not a pitch. The key, she emphasized, is to know what makes you unique. Why should someone buy your product or service compared to another one that on the surface looks similar?

Spend time drilling down on what’s your value, as this helps to make and close the sale. It is back to the WIFM (what’s in it for me). You need to prove what benefits the potential customer will realize.

Patti asked someone who was struggling with sales to explain what she did. Very quickly she pointed out that what the woman was describing was a process, not how the person will feel afterwards. Giving job titles doesn’t do it either – coach, nurse, facilitator – that says nothing. “You have to sell the sizzle.”

Sales, according to Patti is an adventure. You could tell she loves what she does. It takes leadership to conduct a guided conversation with your potential client. Ask questions, get to know the person, get to know what they are looking for, rather than trying to sell what you have to offer.

Sales can be about rejection, but is it? challenged Patti. Perhaps it is more “no” for now. It is important to follow up, to keep in touch with the person and build that relationship. Down the road, you may well turn that “no” into a “yes”.  Persistence pays.

And it doesn’t have to be heavy duty pressure. That could totally turn some people right off. No, it is more sending an interesting article, enquiring about the family. Also, determine is email or phone contact the way to go. Everyone responds differently.

Patti’s goal was to turn our fear of sales into fun.  And she did.

Anne Day

Anne Day

Company of Women

I have had an eclectic career from running non-profit organizations and being editor of a national magazine, to working for government on women’s issues. In 2003 I launched Company of Women, an organization that supports women in business. A prolific blogger, I also write for the Huffington Post, and several other online publications. I am the author of five books on women and entrepreneurship, and co-author of Good Enough. Embrace who you are. Unleash your brilliance. which is available on amazon.ca In June, 2016 I launched Full Circle Publishing offering one-stop services to get your words out into the world.