I’d Rather Be The Lioness (The Lion V. Gazelle Redux)

The anecdote of the Lion and Gazelle has been published (http://bit.ly/1hV6plmnd) enough throughout my career that as I transitioned so has my perspective of its value. I began to feel that it would be ill applied if I merged it, as is, into my sales life. If you currently work in the maze of cubicles and are seeking to advance as a sales professional, there are several areas that I recommend using the technique of the Lioness rather than the Lion:

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1) Prospecting: The Lioness is the primary hunter of each pride. She wakes early to identify prey, patrol the perimeter and ultimately provide a meal for all, including the lion that is rarely known to proactively hunt. Becoming a sales leader requires active hunting, recognizing that the opportunities to take part in spoils that you have not won are limited. There is the belief that working harder not smarter but breaking a sweat is a necessity, particularly in the beginning.

2) Territory/Competitor Awareness: A lion’s mane is used to dissuade potential predators or enemies from engaging by adding size to his appearance, I relate it to the established salesperson that has come to rely on the power of inbound calls and relationships to generate revenue, maintain the reputation of his sales prowess, and intimidate his competitors (internally and externally).  A professional life with little challenge can lead to a sense of complacency and an imaginary comfort zone.  Conversely, the lioness is often tested by competitors.  While she is a part of the same family as the King of The Jungle, she is not immediately given the grace of perceived power and therefore must always be alert to any potential threat to her territory. Without a mane as an initial repellant she must command respect based on the work and effort that she puts in continuously.

3) Peer Relationships: A Lioness can seamlessly assimilate into a new pride while the lion is often thought of as “rogue” or threatening when he is forced to strike out alone. You can be the lioness with the proven and quantifiable skill set that is easily marketed to a new company when it’s necessary to move forward, if you’ve done the right things. A solid reputation based on skill and finesse combined with the art of ingratiation will compel your new pride to embrace you, push your development and increase your potential for competitive balance.

4) Practice Management: She is naturally territorial of her young and has learned to enlist others in the nurturing of her cubs only when it is necessary or they have reached an age that she is sure they will continue to thrive. Your prospects and clients are your cubs. If you behave like the lioness you will keep a close and protective eye on them until they have reached a level of maturity (revenue, consistency, rapport) that requires less hand feeding and occasional steering.  When you have to turn them over or receive assistance with them it will only be from a colleague or manager that is as fiercely protective of their own business and who understands the need to maintain your den. A lioness knows that leaving her young (clients/prospects) too soon could lead to their demise. Behave like the lion–killing young (potential or growing business) or forcing relationships within the pride (colleagues or even the industry)–and you could find yourself in the crosshairs.

While there is strategic value to being the visible and beautifully coiffed Lion there is both tactical and strategic advantage to being the lioness that has perfected the craft of eating well and feeding others.  The nature of a workplace environment doesn’t tolerate the behaviors of lions well.  Work ethic, commitment, and strength are more likely to propel you than the simple demonstration of dominance, perhaps a testament to the longevity of the lioness in the wild in comparison to her male counterpart.

 

As a consultative sales partner and brand developer for businesses and individuals, Stephanie Bryant is noted for 100 closed referrals in 30 days, demonstrated talent for taking companies beyond lead generation to overall success through cold prospecting, identification and coaching of trainable sales talent and strategic business development. @madsaleswoman

Stopping a Myth In It’s Tracks Pt. 1

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I remember working on a project for my son’s elementary school classroom with the thoughts of both assisting the teacher and being involved a bit more. As a working mother of two with a demanding career and entrepreneurial pursuits, I knew that I was taking on more than I could handle without muddling the project so I decided to engage other mothers for their assistance. Without a moment’s hesitation I pulled out the handy school manual (private school perk) with all of the children in each class, their parents, and contact information including email addresses, office and home numbers. After a long day of work, I sat down and did something that any successful sales executive would do, I began dialing.

One by one, I combed through the names of twenty-eight parents with the goal of reaching them or leaving a message before eight p.m. when it would be too invasive to call a home with school age kids. I also knew that many of the mothers were stay at home moms and if I left an introductory message that was succinct and well-crafted they would call me back. At the very least, I could make a call during the day time while their children were in school and get the task of roping in some volunteers completed. Since I was one of the few working moms in the classroom I wasn’t as well acquainted with the parents as they may have been with my son so I knew that it would require something well within my skill set: baseline cold calling techniques.

I had the names of the parents, their children’s names and enough due diligence to find a warm angle for an otherwise cold call in which I would be asking people to donate time and perhaps money so I began dialing. Within my goal time frame, I had spoken to about 40% of my list and left messages for the remaining 60%. Most parents were happy to speak with me or schedule a better time if I was running into their dinner hour, which I referenced as I introduced myself. A few parents were clear that they routinely donated time and money and were opting out this go round, so I thanked them and built enough rapport to ensure that we could catch up at the next event and certainly that any other calls would be welcome in the future.

Within two days of activating my plan, I had spoken to my entire list of families, made new acquaintances, and scored a pair of tickets to the Florida State vs. Miami (that’s another story). I did all of that and continue to experience career success today because I refuse to believe the annually perpetuated myth that “The cold call is dead”.

If you are a new salesperson, entrepreneur focused on growing your business or a salesperson that has experienced success but is now at a plateau, I would encourage you to reach out to me or a seasoned professional in your network, before you succumb to the irrational fear of or disbelief in the cold call. In the meantime, I will be writing several posts within this series and hope that you visit again as I stop the myth in its tracks by dissecting articles and methodologies.

Happy Holidays…Don’t Screw This Up

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I continue to contribute to Femme and Fortune Magazine. While most of you are prepping for the holiday party season with anticipation and some a mix of dread, here’s a few pointers to managing your office party experience: http://femmeandfortune.com/when-is-a-party-not-a-party/.

Please comment and add your own tips for surviving the party season with your career in tact!

Check Out My Contributions to Femme & Fortune

If you are looking for more mad advice and Gotivation, please check out my recent contribution to Femme & Fortune magazine:  One Degree, Two Lattes Later:  http://femmeandfortune.com/one-degree-two-lattes-later/

My goal is to get the message of personal motivation and career success out to a variety of demographics that are working to develop their professional profiles.  Femme and Fortune is labeled as the “Kick Ass Magazine for the Modern Woman”.  If you’re not a woman but still like good advice, don’t be afraid to click the link above!  My latest article here at the Mad Saleswoman will be posted today (find out what’s been going on as I celebrate the First Anniversary of leaving my last job!)

 

 

Identifying The Silly Rabbit….Waking Up From My Blogging Stupor

So, I took a mini sabbatical from blogging because of the balance I needed to strike in my professional life.  I’m a working entrepreneur. I build someones brand while pursuing my career mission of sales consulting, training, seminars and book writing.  So far, so good.  When people ask me how I get it all in, I have one simple reply:  “I don’t sleep.”  I’m not a part of the Cullen clan and I don’t use a caffeine IV drip although my Yelp check-ins at Starbucks would allude to something different, I just choose to make sleep optional until I’m in a position that allows me the comfort of rest.

All of that being disclosed, I decided to rise from blogger sleep mode thanks to a recent experience.  Nothing will spark the writing juices like a “nasty gram”, which I received from someone, assuming that I intentionally spelled their name wrong.  This was silly to me for so many reasons.  First, those of you who have read my blog know that I believe that a name is important for some pretty in-depth reasons.  Secondly, the misspelling was unintentional and more specifically an error (yes, I make occasional mistakes) committed because I was rushing and not paying attention.  Third, because it was smoke and mirrors allowing this person to “get back at me” (funny but sad), for addressing previous bad behavior.

Referring to a previous post, I spent three months in an environment where my name was incorrectly labeled as “Stacy” on my phone display, which had been programmed before my start date.  It took me a significant period of time and several instances of actually being called Stacy, as well as incidents that made me question my value before I addressed it in the form of a blog post.  Had someone misspelled my actual name wrong on an internal note, I may have noticed it but would have assumed it was an unintentional error that didn’t need to be addressed.

I didn’t have to dig far into my mental Rolodex to understand the situation.  I have ZERO internal rapport with the person whose name I misspelled and her usual demeanor is pretty harsh so it wouldn’t be hard for her to believe the worst of other people–particularly one that she doesn’t like for some created reason.  The lesson in all of this for me: 1) You will judge people based on your own behavior so it’s smart to be introspective and 2) Petty workplace behavior is limiting.

If you think you are a conduit for negative work culture, Ask yourself a few questions so that you can determine IF or WHAT you need to change:

1) Do I give people a reason to have a poor perception of who I am professionally and personally?

2) Have I ever and am I currently referenced as someone who has a bad attitude?

3) Do I make excuses for my behavior or justifying my behavior?

4)  Is there a known “time of day” that I am most approachable? (i.e., you have to know when to approach Mary, she’s definitely not a morning person”)

5) Am I the source for gossip?  Do I routinely engage in negative conversation about my colleagues?  Could I be used as the face of the company to welcome new peers?

6) Have I been confronted by someone regarding my behavior or about something that I have directed toward them?  How did I react?

7) Do I have different work policies and practices depending on who I am supporting? Is my internal customer support as high as my external, lower, or the same?

8) Have I ever been embarrassed about my behavior but refused to apologize? Do I refuse to acknowledge my poor judgment?

9) Have I had poor interaction with more than one person with my behavior being questionable?

10) Do I ever think about being better? (Yes, would be a good thing.  No, is usually a sign of disillusionment).

While the title includes the cliché of “silly rabbit” and you know the ending, the correct term for someone carrying out personal vendettas by using a small amount of workplace power is “playing reindeer games”.  Remember that reindeer live on a harness and dirty behavior will provide the same limited movement in your career.  This is a lesson that we could ALL learn from.