If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 20-plus years in the sales profession it’s this: I don’t have all the answers. And I’ve learned how to be comfortable saying, “I don’t know.”
When I finally learned this lesson, it was liberating. I learned to realize that deals are not won or lost based on one person. It takes teamwork, innovation and, sometimes, a little art to close a sale or land a new client.
Admit You Don’t Have All the Answers
The best advice I can give a new seller is this: Acknowledge what you know and admit what you don’t know. And when you don’t know the answer, ask questions. Then ask more questions.
Collaborate with your colleagues, set up strategy sessions to discuss the ins and outs of the deals you’re working on, review your work often and get the support from your team. If bringing along an executive or a specific subject matter expert is appropriate and the customer is agreeable, bring them in. Just remember, your support team is rooting for you – they have a vested interest in your success.
One of the reasons I’ve been so successful in sales is that I seek out coaching. The entire company wins when we expand our customer base and prepare sellers for success. I had to overcome the idea that part of my job was knowing all of the answers and I know it can be difficult for women to expose any perceived weakness. Don’t confuse asking questions and seeking input as a weakness – realize it is a capability that helps you see many options.
Three Tips for Sales Success
For women to be successful in sales, remember three important facts:
- Competitiveness is gender neutral.
- Curiosity is one of the most important traits of a successful sales professional.
- Discovering the “why” to a challenge or pain point comes very naturally to many women. Keep digging.