How a fear of sales is leaving female business owners short-changed

There’s no doubt that the tides are turning in the modern business environment regarding recommended practices about approaching and generating sales. The overwhelming feedback from the market is that people no longer want to be ‘sold to’ or subjected to the ‘hard sell’ that once personified successful sales people around the globe.

From something as simple as being ‘forced’ to opt onto someone’s email marketing list to access content they described as being ‘free’ and subsequently spammed to death, all the way through to deep concerns about being ‘tricked’, ‘fooled’ or inappropriately ‘convinced’ into a buying decision that ultimately doesn’t deliver the results it promises. We’ve all heard the horror stories. The buying market is on high alert and who can blame people?

Women in business often recognise this problem and strive to separate themselves from it. They want to build a relationship of trust with their buying market to ultimately ‘convince’ them that they are not like everyone else. Sales and selling yourself have become words to be avoided and we see this often. People who pre-empt their call to actions with, “I’m not trying to hard sell you, but just so you know, I have this on offer if you’re interested. I don’t want you to get the wrong impression!” through to networks and communities of business owners who have upfront disclaimers that their relationships are built on support and subsequently, sales are not allowed. There are examples of business owners being asked to share their value for free and told they are not allowed to include a call to action at the end, because it’s assumed that a call to action automatically equates to a hard sell.

We’ve reached a point where women are frowned upon for marketing, making sales and building profitable businesses in favour of being liked and accepted by their business communities. What happens in this scenario is that there ends up being large groups of women expending their energy trying to convince others of their worth, without achieving any quantifiable results.

Let’s be clear that the days of hard sell are done for a reason and it’s a period of sales that’s best left in past tense. That said, the notion that trust and sales don’t go hand-in-hand, that support and sales don’t either, that it’s not possible to build meaningful relationships and sell or that if you quote a fee in exchange for work, you care more about benefitting yourself, than your buyer, are all common misconceptions that stifle the growth of businesses.

The result is that far too many women are doing far too much work for free instead of charging what they are worth. Their business is suffering, they are personally suffering, overwhelmed and burnt out trying to understand when anyone will decide what they offer is worth paying for. The point is, it’s not up to our market to decide what they are going to pay for. It’s up to us as business owners to set standards about what helpful content we are happy to share for free and what requires payment.

As business owners, we need to let go of this idea that to be a decent business owner we should give everything away for free and start paying each other what we are worth. After all, when you break it down, a sale is merely the exchange of value between buyer and seller for a product or service that solves a problem. An exchange that fundamentally must be built on a foundation of trust and one that is the life blood of business.

Sales and scamming or spamming are not automatically lumped into the same bucket and it’s important to make the distinction here. We’re talking about the difference between a legitimate exchange of value in the best interests of both parties and fraud. It is possible to build a successful business making sales with integrity, that helps your buyer to make the best buying decision. In fact, it’s essential for success.

If you’re a female entrepreneur who is committed and ready to overcome the problems you’re experiencing with valuing your worth, pricing your services, designing your business model or effectively making sales, please feel free to get in touch so we can discuss how together we are able to overcome it.

Shevonne Joyce