Women’s Unwarranted Worries About Generating Business

by admin 18. September 2013 07:39

By Renée Koufer 

You heard it first-hand from the Corner Office. In September's issue of the Legal Balance, Nicole Auerbach's article, "It's Never Too Early to Think About Generating Business," states, "There is one universally demonstrated trait that successful women in law firms share - the ability to generate business." While this may sound daunting, the good news is that each and every one of you has the ability to learn the skills and behavior required to develop your own book of business.

Even more good news is that as a female you likely possess several attributes that contribute to being a good salesperson. We tend to be good listeners, prefer not to talk about wonderful we are, like to be prepared and are good at building relationships. The best news of all? Selling does not have to be, moreover shouldn't be, an uncomfortable, awkward and painstaking effort. It's about asking the right questions and creating value for your prospects, which you can learn how to do. 

One other common female attribute, unfortunately, is that of a worrier. So now that you've been well advised to start thinking about generating business, the worry ensues.    

Worry #1: I don't have enough subject matter knowledge. 

Response #1: Yes you do. 

The knowledge you need to sell your services is the type of questions to ask and in what sequence to ask them (which you can learn). You can actually progress quite far in the sales cycle knowing very little about the subject matter. Prior to proposing a solution you can consult with others and do any necessary research. It may even make sense to have another lawyer join you in presenting the proposal.  

Worry #2: I am not extroverted.

Response #2: Neither am I.

It is a common misconception that the best salespeople are extroverted. In fact, a new study published in the journal Psychological Science (don't be impressed - I read about the study in Forbes) shows the personality type that excels in sales is an “Ambivert.” Ambiverts are those who are more or less equal parts extroverted and introverted. You are most likely an ambivert, as personality studies show that most people fall in this range.

Worry #3: I don't play golf.

Response #3: Not a problem. 

While generating business does sometimes take place on the golf course, I'm confident an investment in golf clubs, greens fees, and perhaps a club membership will produce a smaller ROI than an investment in learning how to develop leads, get appointments, and ask the right questions. Plus, once you know what questions to ask and what to do with the information you discover, you'll find you can generate business pretty much anywhere you can strike up a conversation. Keep in mind that if you do invest in golf and meet prospects on the golf course, you still need the skills to convert the prospects into clients.

Worry #4: I wasn't "born to sell". 

Response #4: Doesn't matter.

Some people were just "born to sell," so it seems, and the nature vs. nurture topic is much debated. Selling does come naturally to some, just as other skills come naturally to others. The point is that selling is a skill that can be learned and executed with practice. Yes, practice is required, but you can do so while having conversations with your kids, friends, anyone. The subject matter will be different, but the process and behaviors are the same. Thus, consultative selling skills will help you with all of your communications, not just those related to generating business.

Worry #5: I don't like to "self promote."

Response #5: This is a positive thing when it comes to sales!

When talking to a prospect, the conversation should be all about the prospect, not all about you. In fact, after briefly introducing yourself and your company, the conversation shouldn't be about you at all. So how does the prospect know you are smart, capable, and that they should use your services? Asking the right questions in the right sequence will establish and reveal your expertise. 

Hopefully I've made the thought of generating business at least a little less daunting for you. If you have worries I didn't address, questions or comments to share, or want to learn about Productive Strategies, Inc's consultative sales training program, please contact me at rkoufer@productivestrategies.com or 214.893.7698. I'd love to hear from you.         

Renée Koufer is a senior consultant at Productive Strategies, Inc., a management consulting and marketing firm based in Chicago. Her goal at Productive Strategies is to help professional women who aspire to advance their careers by teaching them the necessary skills for generating business. Renee’s background includes leadership positions at Arthur Andersen & Co, Sprint, RSM McGladrey, and H&R Block. She’s also consulted with small business owners, identifying ways to achieve growth and profitability goals.

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