Morning Lazziness has asked several women entrepreneurs from different backgrounds- what are the common sales obstacles they bear at the start of their business, and this is what they have to say:
Whether we admit it or not, gender inequality is rampant in the business world. This is especially true when it comes to sales. Everyone considers sales as a ‘man’s job’. Even the most tenured sales professionals have this bias against women when it comes to selling. When I started my business, I had to do a lot of personal selling. That’s when I realized how much gender bias actually exists in this field. And it wasn’t always subtle, either. Many people outrightly threw sexist remarks at me, saying that a woman has no place in the sales field. However, I didn’t let any of this deter me. Instead, I approached my work with even more passion. Eduarda dePaula
Not able to identify the target audience
The biggest challenge women entrepreneurs face is not being able to identify a target audience for their products. They might have the drive to make a difference but due to a lack of experience, end up making this mistake more than once. Due to this, these women start losing confidence in their skills, which becomes a major obstacle in the beginning. So, it’s best to surround yourself with people that motivate you and push you out of your comfort zone. This can help your business grow and prosper. Evelyn Smith
Competition In a Male-dominated society
My journey as an entrepreneur has been far from easy. I had to break through a lot of glass ceilings and prove my capabilities to a lot of people. Companies are usually male-dominated, and a lot of women continue to struggle to be taken seriously. I was able to secure funding and gain investors’ approval by being relentless in my pursuits and being consistent in my efforts. Big things come from small beginnings, and I am proud to say that I continue to set my eyes on bigger and better things ahead. Emily Cooper
Discrimination At Every Stage
One of the most saddening things women, especially early on in their entrepreneurial careers face is discrimination. Gender biases are still rife in all professional spheres despite active efforts to eradicate them. This is especially true in the sales sector. Wholesalers when approached by women, will have different ways of speaking to them as compared to men in the sales industry. They discriminate such that they deem women will not have sufficient know-how especially when they are new to set out with their firms and hence offer markedly greater wholesale prices as compared to the standard that a market follows. Men in wholesale also see this as an opportunity to exploit the tendency of women to be agreeable by taking an unreasonably dominant standpoint.
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This discrimination and the unethical assertion that follows, both lead to and reinforce a morally wrong power imbalance between women in sales and their male counterparts, which are both their wholesaler suppliers and end-users/consumers too. Similar to the above-mentioned idea that wholesalers do not offer flexibility in negotiation with women in sales, consumers or retailers who are next-in-line in the chain of distribution may likely also follow the same stance. Incorporating unfavorable rates at both ends by losing bargaining power becomes a problem as it reduces sales woman’s own profit margin. Kyle Kroege
Getting to know your customers
The key to successful selling is understanding buyer needs and presenting your product or service as the solution. If you don’t have a clear picture of who your customers are and what they need, it’s going to be difficult to position yourself accordingly.
To get to know your customers better, put yourself in their shoes: What would motivate you to buy?
Making initial contact with prospects
When making initial contact with prospects, use a third-party endorsement in the form of customer testimonials or case studies from experts in your field (such as journalists). This will make prospects more receptive to talking with you (and ultimately buying from you).
If you’re starting a business selling products or services that compete with those already on the market, you may run into consumers who don’t understand why they should buy from you instead of established companies. This is particularly true if your offering is similar to that of a large company.
Small businesses often struggle to compete against larger companies because they lack name recognition and credibility. To overcome this obstacle, emphasize that your product or service offers something unique or different. If possible, demonstrate how what you offer is superior to that sold by other companies in terms of cost savings or quality. Janet Coleman
Managing The Business Operations
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The biggest obstacle I faced at the start was not being able to manage this big operation. That’s because I lacked the experience and connections to find the right people for the job. As a result, it became difficult for me to create a work-life balance, which was badly reflected in my sales. I was always confused about allocating a good enough budget that’ll generate substantial leads. Due to this, my company didn’t start with the right foot forward, and I lost money in the process. Sonia Navarro
Establishing Market Access
This is the issue that any entrepreneur has. Still, it is more accurate for women entrepreneurs, whose connections are often narrower, and as a result, they do not get as much access to the common market when they first begin. Unfortunately, many women who wish to pursue a business career are not affiliated with corporate or business networks. This weak network access is a big gap, especially if they want their business to succeed in its first year. Lily Wili
No proper Time Management
Time management as a woman has always been a fundamental problem in business life: While it may seem like money is always tight, time is the only thing that will always be limited. Entrepreneurs need to make sure their time is focused on what matters most, which can be very difficult for women just starting in entrepreneurship. Trying to balance wife and mother duties before embarking on the business is difficult. Avoid wasting time on tasks that team members can handle. By buying this time, they can focus on larger issues, such as how to move the company in a growth direction. Lorie Carson
Fear of Failure
As a woman entrepreneur, one of the common sales obstacles I faced at the start of my business was fear of failure. The fear of failure resulted from the inability to convince people to believe in me and buy into my business idea. Many clients who saw the potential in my business couldn’t come on board because a woman owns it. Some potential clients told me explicitly that they believed in my ideas and would have come on board if it was man-managed. The many ‘No’ I had to take because I am a woman managing a business made me develop an intense fear of failure, which was one of the most significant obstacles I faced as a woman entrepreneur. Maria A. McDowell
Balancing Work and Family life
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One of the significant responsibilities for a woman entrepreneur starting out in the industry is that they have to balance out both personal responsibilities and work life. Many women are tasked with managing the household, so these two contrasting aspects of life can often clash together when they start working. It can have a negative impact on the business and distance us away from our families. The stereotypical roles that are defined for us women can be a huge hindrance if our partners are not supportive. The inadequate support system can make life hard and proceed to harm the business side as well. Women entrepreneurs must have partners that understand them and chime in to take care of the family. Irene McConnel
Spending More Money, But Not Getting Enough Sales
Ranking really has to do with conversion, search relevance, and customer satisfaction. More sales=higher rankings and a higher ranking=more sales. To rank higher on Amazon, you need to optimize your listing, by doing this you can increase visibility and sales. If you also drive traffic from outside of Amazon to your product, it greatly affects the conversion rate and Amazon will boost visibility and page rank. Amazon wants to maximize revenue per customer so if your product exceeds performance metrics, they rank it higher than competitors and feature it higher in the search results. Lisa Lane
Getting Confused Between Multiple Things
I am an inventor and brought my product, the Rinseroo, from concept to fruition. My goal, initially, was to sell on Amazon. I quickly found that you can’t just list a product on the platform and expect the sales to start rolling in. Like any good product launch, it takes planning and strategy. If you don’t do it right the first time, you could easily end up with a dud that just sits in a black hole somewhere with no sales. Competition is fierce and the key to winning is to work smarter than the other gals. Coming up with a great keyword strategy and listing like a pro is the key to success. Building rank online takes time but it can be a shorter uptick time if you do it right.
The next problem is controlling workflow once you’ve found the right personnel to make the magic happen. You want to make sure your team has the methods and tools they need to do good work quickly. At the same time, as a corporate leader, you can’t be everywhere at once. So, how can you stay focused on the business while still ensuring that everyone in the company has what they require? As a result, one of the most prevalent challenges for small firms is successfully managing workflow, especially as the company grows. The good news is that, when done correctly, marketing automation can result in a 400 percent increase in income.
Creating avenues for your team to submit feedback is the most effective technique to diagnose barriers and boost productivity. Understanding how your staff feels and any potential hurdles can help you find places where automation could be beneficial. As previously said, using time-saving measures can help you improve your performance and achieve overall business success. Kathryn McDavid
Proving Yourself At Every Point
I think a common sales obstacle for reaching full potential as a female entrepreneur is simply charging your worth and knowing your value. Even though I had a proven track record in the field of marketing when I began my business, I really felt like I had to prove myself as a consultant to be able to secure big clients. Now that I am two years in, and I do have a proven track record, I can see that my skills learned prior to owning a business absolutely translate and it’s important to incorporate that into service offerings and charge your worth for your time. Carrie Horn
This is the most common obstacle a woman entrepreneur faces – lacking confidence during the sales process. They lack the business-building tools, techniques, and strategies to work smarter not harder and many fail in their first year as a result. In addition, I see that many women are not confident in themselves, they question themselves simply because they are new to the market, despite having an amazing product or service. There is often a cycle of negative self-talk which ultimately causes them to not succeed on their journey. It is important as a new business owner to start with the basics of what you want out of this business. I don’t see many women writing down what they want or a plan to get there. Is it more money, freedom, joy, time with family, time to travel? What are your goals and then how do you align your offerings to support that goal? You need clarity to get results, I would suggest women business owners start there and determine clearly what they are hoping to achieve. Courtney Zentz
Poor product education.
If your product doesn’t clearly tell the prospect the problem your product solves for them, and why they need it …. you are going to struggle to sell! We have to clearly articulate our value proposition and what it would feel like to have this problem solved.
Education is critical in serving your customer before a sale AND serving your customer post-sale. It’s easy to forget the customer and keep your eyes focused on prospecting, but this is dangerous. To have success you need to create raving fans and build up a happy clientele of returning customers who help you grow! Raving fans need to be nurtured through education, support, and rewards. Polly