A visionary and an inspiration
“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” - Estée Lauder
This month, in South Africa, we celebrate women across the world, and we dedicate the month of August to reflect on, acknowledge and celebrate the influence and impact of women not only on our lives but also on business, medicine, education, art and so much more. No such conversation could then be complete without exploring the impact that women have had on sales. So here we go…
There is hardly a woman who has not heard of the world-famous Estée Lauder brand and their cosmetics ranges. What is a lot less known is the story of how Estée went from being a little girl with dreams to a world-leading businesswoman who created a brand and a business that would serve millions of customer with thousands of products over many decades.
The truth of the story of Estée is far more fascinating and inspiring than even the glossiest magazines would hint at....
This Women’s Month we want to introduce you to some awe-inspiring saleswomen, business owners and industry pioneers, women that left their indelible mark on The Story of Selling and made this profession one of the most enjoyable professions a woman can participate in today.
To add a bit of a feminine fire to our list of giants, Mary Kay Ash joins the list as one of the modern founders of sales, done with such style and elegance, that she remains one of the greats up until today! Her legacy has made many a wealthy and successful woman.
Born in Texas to a middle-class family Mary Kay (Born Mary Kathleen Wagner) completed school and got married to raise her family. During the war, while her husband was serving in the army, she had sold books door to door to make ends meet, and it was here that her sales skills began to be honed.
After the war, she worked for Stanley Home Products where she hosted demonstration ‘parties’ of the companies’...
Over the last few weeks we have chatted about the foundations of social selling, everything from how to position yourself as an expert in your industry, how to reach out to your potential leads in a friendly, yet professional manner and how to create content that engages your potential leads to create awareness and interest not only in you but your products and services as well. All this while still educating and offering solutions to your beloved customers at the same time.
If you have applied what we have taught you, then things should be ticking over nicely, but this is where the hard work begins - how do you maintain this momentum?
I thought I could, I thought I could
We all know The Little Tank Engine Who Could, right? Yup, that kiddie’s cartoon. There is so much we can learn from this little engine because not only did he have the self-belief, the pluck and the mettle to believe that he could get up the hill, even though he wasn’t very large in stature and had...
Your social media profiles have pretty much become your storefront – a digital storefront if you will. Time to spruce up your displays and maybe change your colour scheme for a new season, right?
As you know LinkedIn is my favourite B2B platform, so this will be the one that I focus on the most, however, many of these points are relevant to other platforms as well.
Why are these items so important? Simple, because this is one of the first things that anybody will see, for example when they are looking at connection requests that they have received - you see only three things – name, headline, and picture. This is the first step to making contact.
There is no magic formula to this – but as with most things in life, once we have embarked on a journey or something that you dedicate yourself to, it is the consistency that separates the dabblers from the professionals – be it a gym schedule or an attempt to read more books – setting time aside to dedicate to that task is one that will show you the greatest rewards and social selling is no different.
Not a Flash in The Pan
Success will not necessarily come overnight, and I feel that I need to share this point, as it can be easy to get disheartened when you try something new and the leads and sales do not come pouring in right away.
I encourage you to keep going and not to give up on sharing your content and reaching out to your potential leads. Set time aside every day to work on building your connections and finding new ways and solutions to your customer's challenges, whatever they may be. Over time you will see the results.
This is Not a Phase
Right, so you have selected your channel and created your content, you have been sharing it and commenting on others posts as well, you have sharpened up your image and tidied up your profile, now it is time to reach out and start those all-important conversations with your potential leads.
Targeting your Ideal Leads
This process is best begun by drawing up a list of your ideal leads. If you had to have a dream lead, who would they be? For example, they may be the CEO of a medium to a large locally-based technology company.
Great, now you can start filtering and looking for them, LinkedIn makes this so easy in the search function, and you can send them connection requests and then start the conversation with them in due course.
It does always help to have mutual connections, or possibly you went to the same school or university, or share mutual interests, those are great ways to gain credibility and have a...
There are many channels to use and ways out there to promote your skills and your business, that you can easily find a few that work for you. There is no need to be overwhelmed at all – and starting with just one is perfect, you can always add to it and expand to include other platforms over time.
Have a look at some of the brands or salespeople that you like – follow them on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram and have a look at what they are doing, to draw ideas for your own platforms. There is nothing wrong with emulating ideas or being inspired by a strategy, just do not take content or pictures for your own use!
If video is your preferred mode then focus on that, or perhaps you write really well, then that is for you. You will need to do more than just share inspirational quotes though, and although quotes do have their place, they can become quite monotonous, so mix them up with other things.
How often should I be posting?
In the beginning once or twice a week is...
For years we have been talking about being a student of your industry, I hope you were taking notes because now we are about to level up! Whereas in the past, being a student of your industry was widely accepted as doing enough, this next level of selling (social selling) will require you to participate in the conversation, or as Sean Roberts of Ensono said so well – we need to become stewards of our industry. This means that we move beyond merely studying our industry, to participating with our own observations and insights.
It has been said that our customers are drowning in information, but that they are starved of. Insight can be a tricky and misunderstood concept as many struggle to find the difference between the two. Insight is the result of your studies and your experience interacting with one another because your experience is unique to you, the insights that you share will be equally as unique. So, while the information that is available in your sector may not be...
Engage with, interact with and Educate your Customers
These days the sales process is designed around the needs of the client. Not only do they know how to do their research, to price check, to fact check and to see which brands offer them not only the best value for money, but also which brands provide a feeling of familiarity, or ‘family’ if you will.
In a time when many purchasing decisions are shaped, influenced and concluded online, and your potential customers are scouring the internet and looking for what they need – when they search, will they find you?
Stepping into The Void
According to HubSpot, 74% of B2B buyers B2B are doing more than half of their research online before buying something or even reaching out to a salesperson, and as social buying and online research are set to be the way of future – how do you position yourself in front of your potential customers view, so that they see you, not once, not twice, but over and over again, so that...
I can’t believe that we have reached the end of Part 10 in The Story of Selling – I have thoroughly enjoyed researching and creating this series. Up until now, we have been featuring many male figures in the Story of Selling, but we are not done yet and in August you can look forward to finding out more about Mary Kay Ash, Sarah Breedlove Walker, Estee Lauder (and more) as we celebrate Women’s Month here in South Africa.
We began The Story of Selling at its inception where we learned that salesmanship had its roots in farming, and it was then, as it is still is today, a means for people to not only improve their lives, travel the world and create an income that can support themselves and their families – but we also saw how breaking the mould and daring to be different saw some of the biggest names in sales today, risking it all at the time.
We have learnt about Dale Carnegie, we learnt about John Henry Patterson, and John Watson from IBM – from Snake...