Guest post by Lindsay Melo, Outreach Account Executive, Supermom, Former Frappuccino Maker
Six years ago, I became a single mom who had her kids 100% of the time. I was 29 with 3 kids under the age of 10 years old. I needed a job that would complement my #1 job- being a mom. Just like most salespeople, I found my way into sales in an unconventional way. Through a road paved by making Frappuccinos, planning weddings, leasing apartments, and other random jobs, an obvious next step in my career would be software sales ;) However, I soon realized that the skills that I had that made me good at being a mom also helped me in my ability to sell.
As a single mom of 3,- I was always “busy” but I realized that I had to manage my time and effort extremely efficiently to succeed in sales.
Having a hectic schedule is a challenge most of us face– especially working parents. This is why schedule management is imperative. Taking care of my kids AND closing deals are both top priorities and my calendar reflects this. Of course, with schedule management comes prioritization. I am a firm believer in that we make time for what’s important–regardless of how “busy” we are. This can be easier said than done. I map out what my top priority tasks are for work and home alike. Trust me; I don’t always get it right. This is the work/life balance- visualized. Here’s how I get it all done, and even manage to fit in an hour lunch.
The old adage “You have two ears and one mouth so you can listen twice as much as you speak” is applicable to both parenting and selling. Good listening skills are imperative in order to understand emotions, identify problems, reduce the likelihood of misunderstanding, help to develop trust and rapport, and show that you care. Only after you truly listen are you able to understand what the problem is, the negative impact of such problems, and be able to present a solution. Kids /prospects often feel like parents/vendors don’t listen to their needs. Through active listening, you are demonstrating that you do care.
Patience is something that is tested in both parenting and sales- daily. Kids and prospects test the limits of what will be tolerated and how much flexibility they can get. Standing your ground is a necessity or you will be walked all over.
Whoever said that patience was a virtue, either had kids or had a quota (or both).
While there are tons of ups and downs in sales and parenting- the ups surely outweigh the downs. While it’s easy to be bummed when you realize that you have 6 loads of laundry to complete in one night or that you are 95% to quota with two days left in the quarter (and nothing left in upside), I remind myself often that it’s not always blue skies the whole way. It’s only after you’ve worked hard that you can fully appreciate a job well done. Fussy babies and complicated deals can keep you up at night, but with a positive mindset and lots of effort, you’ll be reaping the benefits tenfold in the future. There is no greater sense of accomplishment than to sit back in a clean house, with happy kids dreaming in their beds, and quota attained!
In short, the skills and habits I developed as a parent such as schedule management, prioritization, active listening, and demonstrating patience, positivity, hard work ,and effort, were and are skills that made me a good at sales.