Seven Habits of Highly Effective Women

Back in the stone ages … 1989, Stephen Covey wrote a book called, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and it had a profound impact on the world, selling 25 million copies in 40 different languages worldwide.  Covey coined the idea of having an abundance mentality, which means you believe there’s always enough resources, ideas, or paths to success for everyone.  Success and abundance will never run out or become scarce.

What are these 7 habits? Here’s the cliff notes if you haven’t read the book yet …

  1. Be proactive- achieve extraordinary results by consistently executing using resourcefulness and initiative to break through barriers
  2. Begin with the end in mind- develop an outcome-oriented mindset in every activity they engage in
  3. Put first things first- eliminate energy and time-wasting tendencies by focusing and executing on your team’s wildly important goals with a weekly planning
  4. Think win-win- lead teams that are motivated to perform superbly through shared expectation and accountability process
  5. Seek first to understand, then be understood- create an atmosphere of helpful give-and-take by taking time to fully understand issues, and give candid and accurate feedback
  6. Synergize- use teamwork to achieve your goals
  7. Sharpen the saw- continuous improvement

But back when this book was written … about 29 years ago … it was really meant for men in business.  Totally fine.  But what are the 7 habits of highly effective women today?

This week, we discuss our 7 Habits of Highly Effective Women, which include:

  1. Start with yourself
  2. Make a plan and work that plan
  3. Navigate the jungle gym
  4. Be courageous
  5. Work beyond obstacles
  6. Achieve happiness vs. balance
  7. Sharpen the saw  (I think every successful women needs to keep learning and focusing on continuous improvement.  The 7thHabit stays the same.)

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I’m super-passionate about leading and managing my hardworking team.  Check out my courses How To Hire A Rockstar Team and 5 Days to Time Freedom to keep developing your leadership skills.

3 Reasons Why the Future of Sales is Female … And Why Your Business Should Care

While women have made inroads towards more influence in management at many major companies, selling is still a male-dominated profession … until now.  With women making most if not all of the major purchasing decisions for both themselves and their families, women are the ones in control of spending.

And women want to buy from other women.  Why?  Because when women make purchasing decisions, they require a high level of trust.  And women trust other women … which means, the future of sales is female.

But, historically women haven’t always achieved top-seller status to out-perform their male co-workers.  Sure, there are many women that excel in selling, but for the most part, the cut-throat environment of traditional sales leaves women feeling unfulfilled and uninspired.  However, as selling evolves into a role of serving or problem-solving, and manipulating a customer gives way towards creating lasting relationships with clients, women are poised to lead the way for 3 reasons …

Women are natural influencers.  Let’s face it, women love to spread the word.  Whether it’s telling everyone about the best place to get a latte, or informing about where customer service was not up to their standards, women want to share these experiences with their friends, family, and … anyone they meet.  We want to help each other out.  We’re all trying to save time and money all while living our best lives and that takes communication and learning from others.  We, as busy women, simply don’t have time to process all of the information thrown at us each day.  If we can get recommendations or help from friends, then that makes it easier for us to decide where to shop or spend our hard-earned money.

What does this mean for your business?  Damn, well you better be f-cking awesome!  Since businesses are built on the support of existing clients and new prospects which include referrals from your raving fans, your business has to be relevant and most important—consistent in how it interacts with customers or clients.

Women listen.  Women are great listeners and listening leads to problem-solving.  We’ve all had the experience of wanting to buy something, and a salesperson not listening to us and trying to get us to buy something else—basically what we don’t want.  So frustrating!  And then you leave having wasted time and you still have to figure out how you’re going to find what you’re looking for in the first place.  Double frustrating!  Is it cocktail time yet?  I mean, because all I want to do is rant about this recent bad experience—so no one else has to go through what I just did—circling back to the natural influencer idea!

Since most purchases seek to solve a problem experienced by the buyer, listening is key to ensuring that your business will continue to grow.  The future of sales is all about creating lasting relationships and we all know the basis of a great relationship relies on trust, respect, and the ability to listen.  If you don’t already have great women employed at your business to listen to your clients and help solve their problems, you better start hiring some now.

 Women aren’t afraid to hustle.  That’s right—women aren’t concerned with putting in extra effort to create value.  We go above and beyond for what we care about … think work presentations, birthdays, special occasions, or even everyday meals and experiences for friends and family.  If it’s important to us, we do our best to ensure that every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed.  We’re always thinking about how to do more.

Translated into business, extra hustle means extra revenues.  If your business maintains a culture of going above and beyond for your clients, they’ll remain loyal and you’ll be able to forecast continued sales growth.

If you haven’t already started adapting your sales process to accommodate the ever-increasing purchasing power of women, you need to start now—including hiring a great team of women to take care of serving your clients.  Since women want to buy from other women … the future of sales is female and your business must be ready.

Check out my book, She’s On Her Toes, and learn how I created a hiring process to only attract the right candidates for my business.  I also have a 52-page workbook that you can use (even if you don’t read the book) to help you get started creating your own hiring process.  Download the workbook here.

Instead of Selling, Focus on Serving

Selling.  It’s kind of a dirty word.  What do you think of when you hear the word “sell” or you think of men and women who make a living in sales?  Does the image of the stereotypical sleazy salesman come to mind?  Some dude working at the used car lot wearing an unfortunate outfit.  Maybe a mustache.  Pressuring you into making a purchase or perhaps lying (or at least bending the truth) to try and close the sale.  None of us wants to be in that type of terrible sales situation.  We want to feel in control of our purchases and be confident that we spent our money wisely on something of the best value and highest quality.

It seems traditional sales strategies aren’t working because people have so much more information about what they’re buying before the sale is even made.  You can’t really “pull a fast one” or sell a product or service that doesn’t live up to the advertisement or expectation of the shopper.  In some cases, customers might have done such extensive research that they now know more about the product or service than the salesperson.

How much research do you do before making a purchase?  If you’re like me, at the very least, you do a Google search to locate the item you want to purchase and see how much it costs.  But for larger purchases, I’ll conduct a search on Amazon to compare features and prices, check out reviews, or even inquire on Facebook to get recommendations from friends.  That’s a lot of effort to research and no money has even exchanged hands!

But what if selling was approached in a radically different way?

Because here’s the twist … none of us wants to be sold to, but … we all want to buy!

What if instead of using traditional sales methods in business, we instead focused on serving the needs of customers or clients by listening to what their problems are and then solving those problems with the products or services available from our business.  Rather than selling, the focus shifts to serving your customers or clients to create lasting relationships and confidence in your business.  To build a better business, instead of selling, focus on serving.

This summer I was fortunate to attend a conference and hear Sharon Lechter speak.  Sharon co-authored Rich Dad, Poor Dad and writes for the Napoleon Hill Foundation as well as being an entrepreneur herself.  She spoke to us primarily about her book, Think and Grow Rich for Women, which is a more modern version of Napoleon Hill’s 1937 classic, Think and Grow Rich. Check out my book reviews at the end of this post!

During her presentation, she discussed the influence of women over making purchasing decisions.  In fact, …

Women account for 47% of all workers in the United States.

90% of women identify themselves as the principle household shopper.

Women make 62% of all car purchases.

1 in 5 home buyers is a single woman in the United States and single women have contributed more than 1/3 of the growth in real estate ownership since 1994.

And women control about 60% of all personal wealth in the United States.  Globally women control 30% of personal wealth—the rate at which women are increasing wealth is outpacing the rate at which men are increasing wealth. 

This brings up the question, if the overwhelming majority of women are the principle shoppers for their household, making the majority of car purchases, and increasingly likely to purchase a home without a man’s stamp of approval or his money, why aren’t more companies changing the way they do business by hiring more women in their salesforce and adopting sales strategies that focus on getting the approval of the female decision-maker?

In her presentation, Sharon also talked about how most sales training was geared towards men.  You know the whole, “if you don’t sell, you suck” philosophy.  While it might be true, it just doesn’t have the same motivational response with women that it does with men.  Hummm … wonder why?!

There are typically 7 steps in the traditional sales process including:

  1. Prospecting for leads
  2. Setting an appointment
  3. Qualifying the prospect
  4. Making a presentation
  5. Addressing the prospect’s objections
  6. Closing the sale
  7. Asking for referrals from the prospect

Unfortunately, this process is too limiting for today’s retail climate because it creates an environment where the salesperson is primarily focused on maintaining control over or even manipulating the buyer’s decision.  The salesperson creates the need and then tries to get the buyer to purchase.  In traditional sales, it is also assumed that all buyers are on the same path to making a final purchasing decision—in today’s marketplace, there is no one path to closing the sale.

The concept of serving, however, involves a completely different process and philosophy to execute—this is a more client-oriented approach that includes extensive discovery and discussion.  When serving clients, the process looks more like this:

  1. Identifying a prospect
  2. Allowing the prospect to experience value
  3. Building rapport and explaining value
  4. Determining whether your product/service is the right solution for the prospect
  5. Offering the prospect the right value for his or her needs
  6. Gaining trust to complete the purchase
  7. Building a lasting client relationship

When a business focuses on serving its clients, there is no control or manipulation of the buyer.  The business and the buyer have to work with each other throughout steps 2-5 to determine if a purchase is made.

Completion of the sale is only possible if the business has done 3 things:

  1. Shown value to the buyer
  2. Determined that there is a fit with both the business and buyer
  3. Trust has been established

The advantage of focusing on serving rather than selling to build a business is that you’re ultimately building long-term, lasting relationships rather than one-off sales that might result in referrals.  By implementing a process of serving, you flip the traditional sales model on its head and instead of creating a need to buy, you are offering a solution that is valued for purchase.

I think you can see how a business built on serving would appeal to a woman consumer—and even a male consumer!  But what’s really interesting is that a process of serving is ideal for the woman salesperson to execute.  If working in an environment focused on serving, women win—whether they’re selling or buying.  On Thursday, I’ll share with you “3 Reasons the Future of Sales Is Female and Why Your Business Should Care.”

Until then, stay on your toes!

In the meantime, check out the links to the books mentioned in this post.

Think and Grow Rich for Women ($12.20):  I really enjoyed hearing Sharon Lechter speak and her book was just as insightful.  When Napoleon Hill wrote Think and Grow Rich in 1937, he included 13 Steps to Success—but at that time all the major business minds and heads of companies were men.  Sharon goes through each of the 13 Steps and applies them to the lives of modern women.  I love her concept of living “one big life” instead of trying to find the elusive “work-life balance” that never quite seems attainable.  A must-read!

Think and Grow Rich ($15.25):  While you might be tempted to skip this book and just read the newer, more women-focused Think and Grow Rich for Women, you’d really miss out.  This is a classic business book that almost every successful business mind has read.  I think it really emphasizes the point that the fundamentals are long-lasting and always the first place to start when looking to build or grow any business—whether it was back in 1937 or at the present in 2017.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad ($7.99): I actually haven’t read this yet—it’s on my list!

Planning for Big Things in 2018

It’s hard to imagine bigger things happening in 2018 than what have already happened in the last few weeks

I bought a house and moved.

Celebrated 5 years of being in business at Pure Barre Winston-Salem and 3 years of being in business at Pure Barre Clemmons.

Had my first book signing for She’s On Her Toes.

And spoke to several hundred women about my best hiring practices outlined in my book.

But … the beginning of the last quarter of the year signals that it’s time to plan for big things for my businesses in 2018.  That’s right, it’s that magical time of year when I start to do the following:

  1. Set monthly sales goals
  2. Plan marketing events to drive traffic and create leads
  3. Evaluate all spending and create next year’s budget
  4. Set management and leadership goals
  5. Develop my next book idea

The first step … getting organized.

I’ve mentioned before that one of the best tools that I have in my business owner organization arsenal is my Day Designer Planner.  I decided on the Mint Lizard design for 2018, but it was a tough choice stacked up against, Black Spotty (which I had this year), Black Stripe (which I had last year) and White Marble.

I love The Day Designer.  You can get a version of it at Target, but if you’re serious about keeping your schedule, goals and “to-dos” organized, you’ll want to spring for the Flagship Edition ($59).  If you amortize that across the year, that’s less than $5.00/month to keep your schedule together—totally worth it, if you’re as busy as I am!

But it’s the layout of the planner that is what I like best about it.  Each day gets its own page starting at 5:00 AM and finishing up at 9:00 PM—perfect for me because sometimes I have to teach an early class.  The appointments are on the left and the “to dos” are on the right, so your whole day is right there on one page.  There is also a spot to prioritize your top three “to dos” which is always helpful when you have lots to accomplish in limited time.

Another great thing about The Day Designer, is the free printable pages that allow you to either try out The Day Designer format and/or work on specific planning opportunities.  If you’ve never used The Day Designer, I’d start with the Free Daily Planning Page and How to Design Your Week pages and see if you like them.  For the more advanced, check out Fall Bucket List, Packing Checklist, Brain Dump, and Books to Read.

Check out the free printable pages here. 

Ok … but back to planning big.  Each week, I’ll create a list of all the steps I’ll take to complete each of these 5 tasks to start business off strong in 2018.  The first 3 are all kind of interrelated, so I’ll tackle them together.  First, I’ll schedule some time to develop our monthly sales goals based on historical information and what I think will happen in the future.  I’ll be working on that this week to set myself up for creating our marketing and event calendar either next week or the week after.  It’s all about doing one thing at a time to get all this work complete.  With a little planning and time management, it shouldn’t be too difficult—which is why it’s important to take the time for your business planning for next year … NOW.

If I’m being honest, I’ll probably save #4 for the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  I usually have some time to think when I’m driving home to see my family and setting management and leadership goals is definitely a “thinking in the car” activity.  I get some of my best ideas driving!

Leaving … #5.  I had the opportunity to hear an amazing speaker at a conference in Vancouver, Sharon Lechter.  Sharon co-authored Rich Dad, Poor Dad and writes for the Napoleon Hill Institute as well as being an entrepreneur herself.  During her presentation, she discussed how influential women are at making purchasing decisions.  She also talked about how most sales training was geared towards men.  You know the whole, “if you don’t sell, you suck” philosophy.  While it might be true, it just doesn’t have the same motivational response with women that it does with men. Hummm…wonder why?!

Anyways, Sharon’s message was that as women in business, we either sell or we serve.  As in taking the time to understand our clients and serve them to the best that we can.  I’m working on developing a whole customer service training for my team around this philosophy and I thought … wouldn’t this make a great topic for my next book?!

I still have to develop the topic further, but I think it’s so interesting to ponder the sales paradox and how women can actually overcome it.  What is the sales paradox you might ask?  Well, it’s simply this …

No one wants to be sold, yet we all want to buy.

But we don’t want to buy just any old thing.  We want to make purchases that are meaningful and make us feel good about parting with that money.  With each purchase, we aren’t just acquiring stuff or receiving a service.  We’re expressing confidence that we’re using our money to support a great business or that we really value the item we’re taking home.

And because clients are increasingly savoy about what research they’re doing before parting with their money, businesses will have to adapt and shift their sales training to one that emphasizes better serving their clients—it’s all about serving and earning the repeat business of your client base.

And who better to lead the way?  Women of course!  The future of sales is female because women naturally want to help each other out and provide whatever service they can to their friends and community to do so.

I mean, take a look at your social media feed.  How many of the posts are about places people have eaten and had a great time, or products they’ve been using and want to share because they are life-changing or helpful life hacks?  We don’t have to tell the world about our favorite things, but we do … because if it helps someone out, that’s pretty great.  So yeah … I’ll be refining this topic and getting to work writing book #2.  Good times!

Well, I have a lot of work to get done.  So, I’ll leave you with this … what can you do to improve your business next year?  Take some time in the last quarter to set your goals for 2018 and create a budget.  When you have a direction mapped out for your business, you might just make it all happen!  Crazy!

I know I’ve been a little delinquent in my posting, but I’m feeling inspired and refreshed from my break.  On Thursday, look out for 10 Things to Avoid When Budgeting for Your Business.  I think you’ll get some great ideas about how to use your time in the last quarter to set yourself up for good things next year.

Until then, stay on your toes!