For three years I worked in direct sales and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned so much not only about selling, marketing, leadership and business building, but also about myself and what I was truly capable of achieving.
These lessons I learned can be applied to any dream you are reaching to achieve.
Lesson#1- Be afraid and do it anyway. Starting out in direct sales I experienced a combination of excitement and fear. I was so energized by the opportunity to not only have a profitable business but also to be able to help other women make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. I had to do many things that were new to me (i.e recruiting ). The idea of walking up to strangers, introducing myself and my products was at best terrifying for someone who is naturally quiet. But I learned that it was normal to be afraid, but to do it anyway. By looking at my fears as companions on my journey to business success and not letting them stop me, I was able to achieve many of my sales and leadership goals.
Lesson #2- A tribe is vital to your success. When I started my business I was taken under the wings of two women who were in my selling district. They will forever stand out in my mind because of the time, support and encouragement they gave to me. These women talked and listened to me and taught me everything they knew. They had owned their businesses longer and were more experienced. Their success and achievements inspired me to work harder to achieve my own. Having positive people in your corner, who support you and your dreams are critical to success. No matter what it is you are trying to accomplish, establish a support system of people who will be there in the good and challenging times as you make your God- inspired dreams reality.
Lesson #3 - Be Yourself. Sales can be a difficult business. When you are trying to start or grow a business there is a lot of information out there about what you should and shouldn't do. An example of this can be seen in the marketing of a business.There are a ton of ways to market your business and not every way works for everyone. What I learned is to listen to my inner voice and make decisions based on what was a natural fit for me, my values and my intentions. An example of this was creating monthly newsletters for my customers and members of my team. Many of the business owners I knew were not using newsletters, but because I enjoyed writing I saw it as a good way to connect with my team and customers. Some of the marketing ideas they were using, I knew were not a good fit for me. I learned early on that it was important that I did not try to be like anyone else, but to just be myself and to use my strengths to grow my business.
Lesson #4- Sales is about people, not the product or service you are selling.
People will buy from you when they like you. Potential customers have to feel some type of connection to you. Once they know you care about them and the problem they have that you are trying to solve with your products or services, they will buy from you. Some of my best customers were those who I had developed relationships with. The business I was in allowed for me to know people in a personal way. I would talk to customers not only about the products but also about them and things going on in their lives. I would ask about the trip they had recently returned from or how their child was doing in baseball. The simple acts of kindness, genuineness and care made a difference to my customers and team.
Lesson #5- Do more than you think you can. Being in direct sales grew me in ways I never knew possible. I not only learned about business but also, I saw my confidence grow. The more you do the things you think you can't do, the more realize that you can. By being willing to challenge myself, I was able to do some great things like win prizes and awards for my sales. Stepping out of your comfort zone, allows you to experience new opportunities and new ways of succeeding. Each opportunity is a building block to greater confidence and faith in yourself to do the things you want to do.
What top five lessons have you learned from a past experience? Send me an email, I would love to hear from you.
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