The Biggest Sales Challenge That Female Entrepreneurs Face and What You Can Do About It

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Do you HATE selling

Does the thought of selling make you feel like you ate a bad hotdog and then went on a roller-coaster ride? 

If you take a step back and do some honest reflection, I am willing to bet that the real reason that you dislike selling is fear.

Fear is the most common issue that comes up when I work with female entrepreneurs who want to level up their sales and marketing game. 

I ‘m sure you know this, but I am going to say it again anyway because it’s super important, and it’s easy to forget. 

Ladies, you are not alone. Fear of selling is super common.

We often convince ourselves that some people are born with the innate ability to sell, that they naturally have the courage and confidence that we lack. It can seem like selling is somehow in their DNA (and that we definitely didn’t get that gene). 

Can you relate?

I am here to tell you that this is a BIG FAT lie that our brains create in order to avoid facing the things that scare us.

If left unchecked, these fears can paralyze us. And prevent us from reaching our full potential. 

You can reign in your fear and dramatically increase your success by using the powerful four-step process below and completing the companion worksheet as you go. 

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It is the same process that I personally use every week and the one I suggest to my clients. 

The process rooted in proven psychology and behavioral science practices and based on years of experience. It will help you make a critical mindset shift from fear to confidence.

This new mindset will be the foundation of your success. Without it, you will never get past the limitations that fear places on you. 

If you consistently and systematically practice these four steps you will:

                        sell more. 

                        change.

                        have more fun doing it.  

Make an investment in yourself and your business now because the world needs more of what you’re serving up. 

You’re going to rock this – I know it. 

Step 1: Name That Fear

Ok, so fear is normal but where does it come from?

This is an important question because the more that we understand our fear and what drives it, the easier it will be to keep in check and overcome it. 

Fear is an automatic response, it just happens subconsciously. And we, as humans are hardwired to respond to this fear by avoiding situations that might make those fears come true. 

Fear also intensifies and builds up in us over time based on past experiences where we have been hurt, embarrassed or rejected. 

This is why many people dislike sales – they are unconsciously afraid that these powerful negative feelings will be pushed onto them again and cause them pain. It’s a protection mechanism. 

I have found that the three most common fears women have around selling are:

  • Fear of rejection. Scientifically speaking, the fear of rejection might just be the mother of all non-physical fears. We are hardwired to avoid rejection at all costs. Waaaay back in the day (I’m talking like prehistoric times), being rejected meant you were kicked out of the crew. You were left alone with no food, shelter, or protection. Your chances of survival were slim. 

Add on top of that all of the baggage that we acquire throughout our lives. School yard teasing, breakups, lost jobs and all of the other points in time that have left us feeling vulnerable and unsure of where we belong. 

  • Fear of failure.  Research indicates that women are especially prone to interpreting a “no” as a failure and often take these perceived failures as a sign that there is something wrong with us. This phenomenon if referred to as a “fixed mindset”.

A woman with a “fixed mindset” perceives failure as a criticism of who she is as personwhich can feel devastating. Women are both more likely to have a fixed mindset and be disproportionately impacted by one for a host of different reasons including how we are raised and how society differentiates feedback between boys and girls.

  •  Fear of not being liked. We all want to be liked and to fit in – it’s a normal and common human desire. But sometimes this desire swells into an actual fear. This becomes a problem when your fear causes you act in ways that are contrary to the real you, your desires and morals in an attempt to be liked and accepted. 

An excessive need to be liked is especially prevalent in women and can be traced back to a number of factors ranging from up bringing to society and biology. 

  • Fear of Success. Fear of success can be a complicated emotion arising from a number of different factors. For one, most of us have been conditioned that taking risks and beleiveing strongly in our abilities (which are necessary parts of growth and development) sets us up to get our hopes up resulting in a profound sense of disappointment if things don’t work out in our favor. 

When we see taking risks in this manner, its only natural that many women try to avoid this feeling at all costs. 

Additionally, many women don’t feel that they are worthy of success. Or they associate success with attributes that they find distasteful such as competitiveness or negative feelings such as loneliness. 

If you’re paralyzed by any of these, it’s costing you – big time, in obvious (think lost sales and deals) and not-so-obvious ways.

Here are just a few ways that sales fear manifests itself in your business:

  • Perfectionism. Fear keeps you from having enough confidence to know when something is good enough to be valuable and robs you of the confidence to move forward. Being a perfectionist is like running on a hamster wheel – you never really get anywhere. 
  • Lack of action. Fear will stop you dead in your tracks and cause you to procrastinate and worse avoid doing the things that you know are most important. Many times, we disguise this lack of real action with busy work – this makes us feel like we are moving forward. In reality, the things that would have the biggest impact on our businesses, such as talking to potential clients or checking in with current ones gets put off again and again. 
  • Lack of joy, anxiety and unhappiness. This one is a real killer. It can cause you to burn out, lose your passion and even make you reconsider your dreams.A lack of joy can be felt by everyone around you including current and future clients and because of this, business and sales often suffer. 

 Do you connect with any of these? I sure do.  

As I am writing this, I am struggling with perfectionism. Trying to tweak this article so that its perfect. Asking myself, “Is it too long?”, “Too short? “, “Will anyone find any of this valuable?”, “I really can’t publish this yet….” 

My perfectionism is camouflaging a fear of rejection. But because I am aware of it happening, I can control it. No awareness – no control. 

Do you know what is driving your sales fear and how it manifests itself? 

YOU SHOULD DO THIS NOW: Get familiar with your fear. Give it a name. You can use the Soulful Sales Mindset Workbook to quickly identify and name your own fears.

The real issue with fear is that it can stop you from taking action.It can stop you from doing what you know you need to do to maximize your success.  

It’s time to stop giving the fear so much power. Let’s talk about how to punch fear in the face.

Maybe a bit aggressive but I’m serious about kicking fear to the curb.

Step 2: Face That Fear (Many Times)

When we are afraid of something, we naturally try to avoid it. Avoidance causes a sense of failure which then makes the sales anxiety and fear to grow stronger.  This makes us want to avoid anything related to sales even more and the hamster wheel continues...

But we can take control over our sales fears. To do that, we need to face them.

The opposite of avoidance is exposure. Psychologists have known for years that repeatedly doing the things that you are afraid of has big time benefits.First, it dulls the anxiety because oftentimes familiar things get boring. 

But that’s not all kids. Repeatedly facing that fear also builds your confidence. And confidence increases the likelihood of mastery. Mastery means more success. 

In psychology this is referred to as the “Competence, Confidence Loop”. The more you face your fear, the less scary it becomes and the more willing you are to engage in that activity. Which allows you to develop more skill in that area which then leads to more confidence. 

Confidence (and the resulting success) is built by doing the stuff that scares us! 

Start with ONE new small sales behavior that you can infuse in your daily business routine every day for one week. Here are some ideas:

  • Proactively reach out to potential and current clients
  • Ask for a testimonial after an interaction that you have with a client
  • Ask for a referral after an interaction that you have with a client 
  • Send a client success case study out to x number of current clients and prospects with a sales call to action

Set yourself up for success here. 

You don’t want to start with something that you find super intimidating like “cold calling” your list of dream clients (for the record I don’t think anyone should be “cold calling” but that’s for another article) or upselling 50% of your current clients. 

Start in a place that makes sense for you.

If your goal is to be able to upsell 50% of your client base start with that end in mind and ask yourself what are all of the steps that you need to master to get to that place. First you would need to develop the confidence to effectively talk about your new product line – how could you develop that?

The idea is to build your confidence while minimizing the fear little by little. And at the same time, you’re developing strong sales habits. 

BONUS! It’s like a sales BOGO. And who doesn’t love a deal? 

YOU SHOULD DO THIS NOW: Grab your Soulful Sales Mindset Workbook and write down the targeted behaviors. Then pick a goal that is no less than 10 attempts to make sure you are getting plenty of exposure to the new behavior. The more experiences you have the quicker you conquer the fear. Practice. Practice. Practice. 

Break your big goal down into a daily goal.

Then ask yourself what additional support might increase my success rate? Would developing a quick script help you prepare? What about role playing a conversation? 

Invest a small amount of time preparing. I want to emphasize the small part. Don’t get sucked into over preparing and never doing. Fear can make you do that sometimes. 

The trick is to spend just enough time so that you feel like you have a loose plan, but the real importance is in the actual doing.

Set time aside each day to complete your new sales behavior daily goal. Literally block off the time on your calendar. Put your phone on DND. Warn the world that you cannot and will not miss that appointment with yourself. 

Then keep track of your progress for the week right there in your guide, making note of how many attempts you make and the results of each attempt. 

Make sure that you finish the challenge – no matter what happens. I can’t stress this enough. Even if the results are less than great, you must keep going. The exposure alone will help you overcome any fear that you have and prepare you for your future sales success. 

At the end of every week, reflect on your sales experiences and write down a minimum of three accomplihments that you are proud of. 

A win could be anything from "I proactively found and spoke to a new prospect." to "I won a huge new account.". You define what it means to you according to where you are starting from. 

I see you over there asking, “Do I really need to write this down?”. 

Yes. You ABSOLUTELY need to write this down. 

Writing things down has an amazingly powerful impact on your future thoughts and behaviors.

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This quick exercise will cement the positive experiences in your brain, eventually eliminating the fear and giving you something to refer back to when you encounter a negative experiences or results. 

Step 3: Find Motivation In Others

When we know that others need us to perform we are far more likely to engage in the behaviors that will drive success despite our fear because there is extrinsic motivation. Others are counting on us. 

Start by looking at your business value proposition. 

Why do you do what you do? Who do you help? What impact will that make on people and the world?

So many women underestimate the awesome impact that they can have on their client’s businesses and lives. 

Ladies let me get real clear on this because its super important– you are in the business of helping people with your offering.

Can I get an alleluia? 

You are doing important work. You are changing the world. 

When you know and accept this as fact, you realize your audience needs to hear from you.

They need to know that your awesome life-changing product/service/offering exists. You actually want to show them how much different things could be for themand how to get there. 

Not giving them that opportunity would be doing them a disservice. 

If that’s not motivation – I don’t know what is, sister!

In addition to all of the people who can be helped by your flipping amazing offering, there are likely others you might consider as motivation. Your family, employees, and mentees would all qualify. 

YOU SHOULD DO THIS NOW: Hop back into your Soulful Sales Mindset Workbook and fill in the People Who Need Me section. 

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The habit of thinking about your why and your motivation on a regular basis will give you the fuel that you need to push through the most daunting and fearful tasks, opening you up to a whole new world of potential. 

Step 4: Surround Yourself With Positivity

I often say to my kids, “Think good, feel good.” And this is the same concept.

Build a strong foundation and a reserve of positivity that you can pull from when you need to. 

Let’s be real. 

There are going to be some tough moments. It’s not all smooth sailing in sales or entrepreneurship. There will be rough days and no’s.

But if you make a habit of regularly reminding yourself of the impact that you have in the world you will never get lost in those moments of fear and anxiety. 

You will rebound more quickly and be more capable of handling disappointment.  

One of the most powerful ways that you can do this is by talking to your clients and gathering positive feedback. Again, documenting these testimonials will help imprint the positive impact of your offering on your brain, help to build your confidence and give you something to be able to refer back to when things aren’t exactly peachy.   

It also super to find your tribe and to be a part of a positive, supportive community with shared goals and challenges. We all need a hug, some advice  and a kick in the ass once in a while. 

YOU SHOULD DO THIS NOW: If you have been in business for a hot minute and have some clients, solicit a minimum of 3 client testimonials and write them down in your Soulful Sales Mindset Workbook. If you need a script you use with clients, you can find one here.

If you’re new to business and don’t have a client base to pull from yet, you can still benefit from this. Outline three very clear, measurable benefits that your ideal clients will get from working with you. 

Find your tribe in our free, closed Facebook community Selling With Soul Tribe where you can receive the support and positivity that you need to be your most awesome-ist self. (totally made up that word)

Woah!

WOAH (as my 17-month-old would say)! You’ve read this ENTIRE article, it was a long one. 

I am so proud of you for investing this time in yourself and in your business.

But don’t stop here. 

The right mindset is the springboard for success. It will enable you to go to the next level. 

It will make the journey more enjoyable.

It will bring you more joy.

Will you be a part of the minority who takes action?

Bring Out Your Sales Superpower

You owe it to yourself to commit to completing the challenges that you have outlined in your Soulful Sales Mindset Workbook for the next week. 

You can do it. 

Block off that calendar. Recognize that fear. And get it done anyway. 

But this isn’t a “once and done” exercise. You’ll need to keep practicing this. 

After you’ve got the routine down, participate in our free 30-day challenge designed to help you build your positive habits, smack your fears in the face and improve your sales results like the boss lady that you are! 

Each week you will focus on developing one sales habit designed to quickly and dramatically improve your outlook and success in sales.

To participate, join our free Facebook tribe and let us know that you’re down for the challenge. We will hook you up with the structure, the encouragement, free coaching and of course, happy dancing to CELEBRATE THOSE WINS!

I can’t wait to see how you do…

CUE – “I’m On Top Of The World” by Imagine Dragons ….

Remember….

Every action that you take brings you #onestepcloser to accomplishing your biggest dreams. 

You’re going to do big things because you’re amazing.

I’m cheering for you. 

Much Love -

Mer

 P.S. I case you still need it here's the weekly mindset workbook. Download it. Use it. Be successful. Have fun.