The Mad Hatter: “What a regrettably large head you have. I would very much like to hat it. I used to hat The White Queen, you know. Her head was so small.“
The Red Queen: “It's tiny. It's a pimple of a head.”
(Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland)
The Mad Hatter then goes on to winning the possibility of hatting the Red Queen because he accurately accessed the Queens motivation. The Mad Hatter had great sales skills.
Learning basic selling skills is essential to every career woman’s success and advancement.
Most people, unless they are in sales, pay very little attention to sales skills. Most of us recognize good sales skills when we come across them but do not consciously assess them. Someone who has good sales skills will always leave a lasting impression or image on those whom they come into contact with. A man’s size and stature automatically aids him in creating this lasting image. Combine this with the workplaces’ tendency to be more male oriented, especially in management, means that men have a far easier time at leaving a lasting impression or image than women do. Having good sales skills are therefore essential for women no matter what position they are in, especially if they want to leave a lasting impression. Good sales skills can also make women more effective, I have observed this many times in my career. Here is one example.
I once had two project managers, both who were responsible for the reporting of critical projects and communicating them to the CEO in the form of tracking reports, project milestone reports, and critical open ticket reporting.
Their essential task was tracking projects to ensure we were moving the company forward. Their success was based upon the cooperation of the entire management staff that was providing them with status reports.
The first project manager was a young male 6, feet 2 inches in his late 20’s and who had a pleasant personality. We will call him Mike for the purposes of this story. As part of his job he used an open communication style utilizing both e-mail and personal contact. He never had any difficulty getting the needed information for his reports. His size and mare presence along with his communication style contributed to a working relationship where automatic cooperation from the staff was the result. His was an instant success, he did not have to sell the importance of his job to the staff.
When he moved on, a new project manager took over this position. She was highly qualified, overly efficient, and extremely smart women and in her early thirties. We will call her Sally for the purposes of this story. Although Sally had been in the company for some time, she had difficulties taking over Mike’s position because she approached the job in the same way Mike did.
Sally would send out thousands of e-mails asking people to provide her with the critical information needed to complete the reports. She would lock herself away in her office trying to put the information together, but people were not responding to her requests. She began to miss deadlines, critical tickets, and critical information because it was not being provided to her. So what went wrong? Why did people not behave the same way with Sally as they did with Mike?
Sally wrongly believed that since her job was basically only gathering and reporting information, she did not need to motivate people to do this. Mike’s, physical presence alone was able to motivate people but if Sally wanted to be successful, she would need basic selling skills to make people want to deliver that same information. She was not going to be successful without selling her job to the others.
Unfortunately this example is more the rule than the exception. In management we need to motivate people to deliver. Good sales skills help us learn how to motivate people. We sell them their own ideas so that they motivate themselves. This is good management and this is a sales. Use the example above to help you understand why sales skills are critical in almost every position for women.
Women want to achieve, move ahead and do their jobs but they do not live in an isolated world. Success often does not depend on your own skills alone but on the getting others to deliver what is necessary to do the job.
Good sales skills can help achieve this.
1. Good sales skills begin with understanding the needs and motivations of others, no matter if it is a customer, a colleagues or your boss. Open-ended questions, observation of the environment, body language and noticing other small aspects will help to determine the needs of others. As in the situation above, understanding the needs means understanding someone else’s job and priorities are. Sally was never going to be successful without understanding what the driving factor behind the others failure to deliver was.
2. Knowing and believing in the value of what you have to offer is essential in sales. You cannot sell without the belief in your product. Sally had to believe that her reports were critical to assessing how the company was moving forward. She needed to communicate that belief and e-mail was probably not the best way to do this. Her e-mails probably said, “I need your status reports because the boss wants them,” but it would have been more effective for her to say “I need your status reports because without them we cannot support you in achieving your targets and moving the company along.” This kind of passionate message brings more influence than a simple message. It is also brings more influence when done in person. Mike probably made the importance of delivery transparent through his position, as well as his presence, whereas Sally needed to communicate the importance to others.
3. Good listening skills are essential in the selling process. A good listening skill not only helps to understand the needs and motivation of others, but also helps one understand what the roadblocks and objections are. What is blocking the ability to reach fulfillment. For example in the true selling of products and services, price is often used as an objection, but it is seldom a real objection. The real objection is often value, or the relationship between product and needs. In our story, Sally’s colleagues often told Sally that they did not have time to do the reports. She was puzzled because this was not the case when Mike was in the same position. Had the workload changed? Probably not, Sally just had to use additional selling skills and understand that time was probably not the objection, perceived value was.
4. Without proper communication one cannot sell. While Mike used e-mails in his communication, he also made sure to use one on one communication. His mare presence when he walked into someone’s office would help to motivate people to act. Sally, on the other hand, used very little one on one communication which was a big mistake when trying to sell. Sally needed to do more one on one communication to help establish her role and be more effective. She also needed more frequent communication because she did not have the lingering presence that Mike had.
5. Begin with a good impression and the rest is easy. Good sales skills begin with a good presence and introduction. Looking and communicating the part will open doors. Mike’s being male (and automatically part of the club), as well as his size, automatically opened the doors for him. To be successful Sally had to make up for both of these characteristics by giving a different impression. She needed to be more professional in her communication, better dressed and demand control in her first meeting or she would begin at a disadvantage.
6. Good negotiation and argument skills are part of successful sales. One’s ability to turn objections into questions and give solutions are an essential part of selling and cannot be done by e-mail; sally probably failed on this point.
7. Closing at the buying signal and leaving with a lasting impression makes the sales process successful. The sale is only complete when the product, service or the awaited delivery is agreed upon and that all parties have a lasting good impression. Mike always closed the deal and left a lasting impression, one that would make people cooperate each and every time. Sally would need to use good sales skills to accomplish the same thing.
The moral of the story is that sales skills are not just for sales people.
Some people like the Mad Hatter are just born with intuition and good sales skills. If you are not fortunate to be one of those people, sales skills can be learned. Sales skills are the necessary skills that can help one be successful in their job. The degree, to which they will be needed, depends on the particular job. Not everyone has to have super sales skills in every job although anyone managing projects and people need good sales skills to an extent. Sales skills are also more necessary for women then they are for men.
It is easy to become aware of what skills are related to sales and how these skills can help you be more successful. There are plenty of books about developing basic sales skills and how to use them. Check out the bookstore, the Internet or look for a sales skill workshop near you or just ask The Mad Hatter for his advice!
In the last 10 years the classic definition of branding has taken a new turn, it gained a human dimension. Business people have learned to brand themselves, something that Hollywood Stars have always done. Branding has always had a human aspect as seen in the two quotes from Alice in Wonderland. Alice had certain brand recognition, among those who were looking for “The Alice”. Alice also had another brand perception, from those who did not know her; she was the enormous girl with a big head.
If someone were to ask you what the brand recognition or brand perception surrounding yourself is, what would you say? If you have not given it a lot of thought, maybe it is time to do so.
During a discussion with the new CRO (Chief Reconstruction Officer), I was informed that I was known for complete and serious marketing plans, detailed follow through, cooperative but direct team work with headquarters, as well creativity and timeliness. I saw these qualities as necessities of my position, but I never actually thought about these qualities as part of my brand. This interesting experience made it clear to me that someone else had branded me with these qualities, I was branded.
When we attempt to market ourselves, we often forget the obvious.
The qualities that make brands strong are not the colors and the design; it is the identity and promise behind the brand. When branding ourselves we often concentrate on external brand qualities like style, personality and standing out but these are only the qualities that enhance brands; they do not make them. The real branding lies in the competencies, deliveries, and promises delivered. To create your own personal brand you need to reflect on personal qualities that you want to be known for. Where you can show all your qualities? At first, in your resume that must be created by professional resume writing service like a Craftresumes Platform. Resume is the first thing that your employer sees.
Branding yourself is important step in today’s competitive environment since it helps you deliver a clear message to your work colleagues, your customers, your family and friends. Branding gives you a voice among the many competing for attention. Branding not only helps to get the attention of others, but also helps you remain in their hearts and minds, giving you an advantage in a competitive market. Although caution must be taken when developing your brand label since there are several levels and brand qualities; a recognized brand, a premium brand, and a signature brand.
My suggestions for branding yourself are:
Develop your personal competencies - As in the example I gave with my CRO, I ensure that my team demonstrates their competencies. The team produces quality ready to go to market plans, tight project management and successful product launches. My competency here is getting a team together and producing quality with them together. Which competencies do you possess? Choose one or two of the competencies that you feel comfortable with and tailor them into your own signature brand.
Consistency - Once you have developed a competency and want to be recognized for it, you will need to be consistent. A sign of a good brand is that people know what to expect. In human branding that means consistency.
Deliver results - If you want to be recognized as a human premium brand then delivering results is essential. Although this means different things in different business, it is essential that obligations and promises are met. In the marketing world good brands do this!
Be recognized but do not stand out for the wrong reasons- Being recognized for the right reasons, not the wrong ones, is critical brand perception. If you are young, please watch what you put on Facebook and social networks, it could come back to you someday.
Deliver your message and be clear- Decide what you stand for and what your message and then clear delivery is essential. Clear delivery will let people know what you stand for and help you find your position among the crowds.
Develop a style that is part of the brand packaging- In marketing, style can be in the color or form of the brand. The way you dress, the way you speak, the way you write and speak are all parts of your human brand. Your style should be recognizable and consistent with your own brand.
Communicate yourself and your brand to others- communicating your brand is easy in this day of technology, but may either support or harm your brand. If you are serious about branding yourself, you need to be careful with the various forms of communication today. Communication platforms such as Facebook can be great for developing your brand, but they can also be dangerous if your wander from your goal. Whether you want to brand yourself or not, you should be careful about the use of social media. Careers can be built or destroyed by saying the wrong things on social media. Think about how you want to communicate and focus on building your brand.
Branding yourself can certainly help you find your places within the work environment, by helping you to stand out, or get recognized. Branding may also be dangerous because if you do a good job, then your brand will stick. If you do not brand yourself seriously and correctly the first time, you may find it difficult to change your brand perception. Changing brand perception is one of the most difficult marketing tasks companies face, and with people - because perception deals with human emotions - it is even more difficult. If you want to brand yourself be serious, and reflect on what you want.
Why is a raven like a writing desk? (Chapter 7, Alice in Wonderland)
The Mad Hatter is famous for having riddles that really do not have a lot of meaning and in our world today we are sometimes surrounded with headlines that really have no meaning.
On September 15th, the front page of USA Today was ornamented with the heading “Gender pay gap smallest on record!” At first glance this headline will make you want to pull a Champagne bottle out and celebrate. The message the headline gives is “Hey girls, we finally made it, we have closed the gap!” From the headline you think “great job, we are making progress, we are finally closing the gap” but as you read on the ugly truth comes out. Almost nothing has really changed in the gender gap of pay.
The article declares in triumph that women have finally earned 82.8% of the median weekly wage of men.
Excuse me, USA Today, that is a triumph?!? In my view anything under 100% is not even worth celebrating about. For those of us running companies it would be like going to our boards and saying: “Hey guess what guys, we made 82.8 % of the budget, isn’t that great!” We all know what happens when we come in at 82.8% of a budget or target, so why the double standards? Why should we celebrate when women make 82.8% of the median weekly wage of men?
USA Today goes on to tell us why we should be happy.
The median has gone up from 76.1% for the same period a decade ago. Now come on folks, a whopping 6.7% in a decade? Lets get with reality. It has taken us ten years to gain 6.7% points. If we continue down this road, I will be long retired by the time women and men actually earn the same median weekly wage. If my nieces and Godchildren are lucky they may just earn the same as men before they hit middle age. This for me is not something to celebrate.
As you continue to read the article, it gets even worse and you put the Champagne away and take out the schnapps. The truth is, there is no real change in equal pay for women. USA Today explains that the bad news is why the gap has closed. It has nothing to do with fair pay for performance; it has to do with the shifting work force in this recession.
Economist Robert Dragon, Research Director for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, explains men have been losing jobs faster than women in the recession and because of the decreases in manufacturing and construction - primarily men’s positions - the gap is closing.
This is also being offset by less erosion in industries like health and government, which are primarily more female oriented. What does this mean? Well, essentially there has been no change in actually moving women’s pay closer to the median of men. The market forces such with women moving into more higher paid jobs like lawyers and doctors, combined with men moving into lower paid job has influenced these figures.
So what’s the bottom line here?
Although women are moving into higher paid jobs, it does not mean that they are getting equal paid for them. Although the gender mix among jobs in the market place is also changing, it does not necessarily mean that women are making progress and getting closer to meeting the median wage of men. If we look at these numbers and compare apples and apples and not apples and oranges, then we really do not see any progress. Even if we compare apples and oranges like the newspaper article in USA Today does, then I do not consider 6.7% gain in one decade as progress. That is a little more than one half a percent per year and for me this is nothing to celebrate about.
So, ladies, lets thank USA Today for the great headlines, and since a man wrote the article I can understand why these kinds of numbers may be perceived as progress. For women these numbers have no more meaning than “Why is a raven like a writing desk”.
Minimum two years work or army experience
Capability to lift and/or lug 75 pounds
Have to have a valid driver's certificate as well as acceptable Motor Vehicle Record
No Immigration Sponsorship readily available
Previous company to business value-add sales experience
Sector related experience in food solution, washing, home cleaning, hospitality, and/or pool and spa
Mechanical capacity (e.g. plumbing, electrical and/or mechanical experience) and trouble addressing abilities to fix and fix equipment and dispensing systems
Exactly what remains in it For You:
Delight in a durable paid training program permitting you to learn from subject matter experts with proven success
Obtain a decaled business vehicle for organisation use
Carve out a long term, progressed profession course in sales, company accounts, or monitoring
Plan as well as manage your routine in a flexible, independent workplace that allows you to excel
Accessibility to finest in course resources, devices, as well as technology
After your training is complete, expand your earnings as you drive sales in your market