Do you struggle internally with selling because you feel like you’re pushing people to buy things they don’t need? You want to improve your sales skills and feel like you’re advocating your offers out of service, not desperation.
You need sales confidence. And my guest today, Leslie Lyons, is a sales and leadership coach with a no BS approach who’s all about helping women embrace sales confidence. She just has a way of talking about sales and encouraging people to make more sales that’s so refreshing to hear.
In this episode of the Promote Yourself to CEO podcast, you’ll learn about how to get more confident at selling. You’ll also discover how to re-examine your relationship with sales and money so that you can truly step into your purpose and be of service to people you’re here to help through your business.
On this episode of Promote Yourself to CEO:
8:22 – Leslie describes the kind of household she grew up in and reveals why having money is key for women in relationships.
12:34 – How are women in the Western world conditioned when it comes to money? And how does white feminism tie into it?
17:52 – How did Leslie find out she was good at sales? She reveals her very first sales job and the foundational piece to having sales confidence.
26:54 – Leslie discusses how to build up sales confidence so you don’t feel so hesitant, uncomfortable, or awkward when advocating for your offer.
30:33 – Other than stereotypes about selling, here are a couple of other reasons why women hesitate to do it (and what we make them mean about ourselves as individuals).
34:30 – What lesson can Kanye teach you as an entrepreneur in sales situations?
38:27 – I learned an important sales lesson as a kid. And it demonstrates why Leslie focuses on sales confidence instead of sales strategy.41:40 – Here’s something else that can keep you attached to your business and make it personal.
Mentioned in How to Embrace Sales Confidence In Your Business with Leslie Lyons
- Leslie D. Lyons
- Leslie’s podcast: Pleasurable Profits: Sales & Leadership for Non-Traditional CEOs
- Leslie on Instagram and LinkedIn
Racheal Cook: Does the idea of sales make you squirm a little bit in your seat? You dread having another sales conversation because all you feel is like telling someone how they can work with you and what it's going to cost makes you feel like that slimy skeevy used car salesman who's just super, super pushy? This is actually the number one reason why so many women entrepreneurs struggle to bring in the revenue they could actually make in their business, this discomfort with sales.
Well, today, my friend is here to flip the script, Leslie Lyons, an amazing sales and leadership coach is going to share with us why we need to rethink our mindset and be more confident with sales. Let's get into it.
Are you ready to grow from stressed-out solopreneur to competent CEO? You're in the right place. I'm your host, Racheal Cook, and I've spent more than 15 years helping women entrepreneurs sustainably scale their businesses. If you're serious about building a sustainable business, it's time to put the strategy, systems, and support in place to make it happen. Join me each week for candid conversations about stepping into your role as CEO, the hard lessons learned along the way, and practical profitable strategies to grow a sustainable business without the hustle and burnout.
Hey there, CEOs. Welcome to another series here on the Promote Yourself to CEO Podcast. Now, if you have been listening to this podcast for a while, you've probably noticed that every month, I choose a different theme, something that I want to dive deep into, and these are all topics that are so crucially important for business owners, for CEOs.
You need to have a working knowledge of all of these different areas in your business and sales is hands down one of the most important areas in your business that you need to wrap your head around.
Not just understand a working knowledge of but you need to be confident in your ability to go out there and get clients and get more sales because at the end of the day, if your business can't close the deal, if the business can't actually make money because people are signing up to pay for your products, programs, and services, there will be a huge limit to not only how big your business can grow, which is one definition of success, how much revenue your business brings in, but if you're not able to make sales, it is going to really cap the number of people who your work is able to help.
It's going to cap the number of people that are going to get your solutions into their hands and change their life, their health, their relationships, their business, whatever the thing is that you do with your clients, if you feel uncomfortable with sales, if it makes you feel squirmy in your chair, if it makes you feel this lump in your throat, it feels hard to have the sales call, it feels hard to have the conversation about what it costs to work with you, you start to feel like, “Well, oh, this is so gross and icky if I'm pitching what I have to offer,” guess what, people can feel it on the other side.
The people on the other side of the table, on the other side of the Zoom call, the other side of the phone, however you're making those sales or even on the other side of a sales page or your sales emails, they can tell, even if you're not explicitly telling them how uncomfortable you are, they can tell that you're uncomfortable.
That discomfort leads to people starting to believe that you are not confident in your abilities and owning your expertise. We need to shift this mindset. We can't talk about any sales strategies. We can't talk about any specific changes you need to make in your sales strategy right now. We can't talk about what you need to do to optimize your sales strategy. We can't talk about how you can get so good at sales that you create clients for life. All of those are topics coming up this month.
But we can't talk about it without first talking about your mindset around sales and really unpacking why this is such an uncomfortable topic for so many women entrepreneurs and how we can reframe how we look at sales so that we look at it not just as a necessary evil of doing business, like it really is a huge part of doing business, and if we have this energetic mismatch because we feel so negatively towards sales, we're always going to struggle.
We need to flip the script. We need to empower ourselves to feel confident in our expertise, our experience, and our products, programs, and services, and completely change our relationship with sales, which is exactly why I brought on today's amazing guest, my friend and client, Leslie Lyons.
I first met Leslie years ago when she attended a CEO Retreat and then she joined me for a year-long mastermind experience literally the year before the pandemic going into the first few months of the pandemic starting. This woman just blew me away with how confidently she is able to talk about sales, encourage people to make more sales, and her no-BS approach is just so incredibly refreshing. I think you're really going to love this conversation because Leslie is someone who comes from an incredible background owning multiple brick-and-mortar businesses.
She owns a pole dancing studio in Chicago. She also is a leadership and sales coach. She brings so much to the table, not just boots on the ground having done it in a brick-and-mortar studio face-to-face with people all the time for years and years but in a different business model doing coaching with people all around the country, really all around the world. I think there are so many great takeaways here. We had such an incredible conversation.
If you have ever felt that discomfort and you've struggled internally to feel like improving your sales skills is in alignment or doing sales in a way that feels more like it's of service instead of pushing people to buy things they don't need, which is what I know you aren't doing, I know you're here to be of service to your clients to create products, programs, and services that actually help people improve their life, their health, their well-being, etc. With that in mind, let's get right into the conversation. I know you are going to love it as much as I love talking to Leslie.
Hey, CEOs. I am so excited today. You are in for a treat because Leslie Lyons is here on the podcast with me to talk all about sales confidence. Welcome, Leslie.
Leslie Lyons: Racheal, thank you so much. It's so nice to be here with my first official coach. I love it, love it, love it. Thank you so much. I'm so honored for the invitation. I'm excited to talk to you.
Racheal Cook: Oh, my goodness, well, you are one of those just dynamic women entrepreneurs who have just this presence that oozes confidence. But I know that this is something you are super passionate about is helping women entrepreneurs embrace sales, be more confident in sales, and stop feeling like they are being icky, gross, pushy, or slimy if they are going after making more money. Let's get started with this conversation, I would love for you to share why you believe so strongly that women need to be more confident and embrace sales in their business.
Leslie Lyons: Absolutely. Well, it starts with so let me do a trigger warning just in case somebody needs to keep themselves in their hearts safe, I talk a lot about women's issues. That's domestic violence, that's sex trafficking, that sort of thing so don't go deep into it but just if the conversation bothers someone, I just want to put that out there. For me, it starts with my mother and my father and my mom being probably about 25 years old and my dad being 29 and my father being the most controlling man I've ever met in my life.
I'll never forget that my mom and I were in the house and at that point, it wasn't just my mom and I, it was my little brother too, we're in the house and my mother was like, “I'm getting ready to go across the street to our neighbor's house,” and I was like, “Okay.” But as opposed to going to the front door, she opened the window, our living room window and I was like, “What the heck? What's going on?” My mother had to crawl out the front window to go across the street to my neighbor's house.
Now little five-year-old me, six-year-old me, whatever I was at that age, I didn't realize that my dad had basically locked us in the house and this triggered when I bought this house that we're in about 10 years ago when they were showing us the house, it had a dead bolt lock on it so you need a key to unlock it.
In that moment, I froze because this was something I hadn't thought about in years, hadn't come up for me. I remember though being in that moment even as a little person saying, “I will never allow a man to control me.” My mom was a stay-at-home mother and my dad's not a tyrant, he was very immature.
My mother went on to glory a couple of years ago but they've been married as long as I've been alive, so 50 years. He was immature, she was immature. But it was still abusive and it was financially abusive because my mom had never worked. I saw a pattern of women who didn't have access to money and how it significantly limited their choices as it related to their own personal sovereignty. In that moment, I knew that I had to make my own money and they followed me from there.
Fast forward to selling, selling is the only way that you can control your life to be candid. You need options, money is nothing but options. That's how I describe it. That's how I feel, and so many women stay in abusive relationships because they don't have options. When I think about the sex trafficking work that I do with organizations, volunteering, and financial support to helping women who have been rescued out of that lifestyle, almost every time I get the opportunity to talk to a woman who was in those situations, the root of the conversation was “I didn't have access to money.”
These may seem like very extreme cases but this is happening next door to all of us. It's happening with the president of the PTA, it's happening with the young girls who you see down the street who look like they're functioning fine but they're actually being financially controlled. If we want women to be truly free, they must have access to money.
Racheal Cook: Yes, oh God. This is so huge and I feel like we could dive into this just alone, this topic and this is why one, I believe we need to really work on our money mindset because the way women are conditioned in the western world is very much don't talk about money. Talking about money is not okay. Talking about what you make is not okay. Women are taught to save and minimize how much money they're spending, whereas men are taught to invest and maximize how much money they're earning.
I also read another statistic that was like statistically, more women die in poverty than men because they, in general, outlive or divorce their spouses and so it's one of the fastest growing segments of people below the poverty line is women because lower access to money, lower access to opportunities, lower pay for the opportunities they do get. If we don't really embrace the fact that money is a tool to help us create opportunities for ourselves, we're going to continue to perpetuate these cycles of being able to be controlled by money.
Leslie Lyons: Yeah. For sure, for sure. It's interesting, I always say the problem with White feminism, that's what I call it because this energy behind some of this that we're talking about comes out of that movement and the focus on women saving money was not oppressive, it was a survival thing.
I always tell my clients, especially when they start doing shadow work, when they start looking at the darker parts of their life, their personality, and why they're there, to approach it with gentleness and remember that the thing that you now resent is the thing that kept you safe. When I hear things like that, like women have to focus on saving, yeah, because of what you just said, we outlive our spouses, oftentimes, we're underpaid, they're divorced later in life and so saving money was how you survived.
Especially if you weren't going to be given an opportunity to make more. I’ll never forget my grandmother used to tell me, now I don't subscribe to this now personally because it rubs against Christian values for me, but my grandmother used to always tell me, “Keep some money for yourself. Never tell your husband exactly how much money you have at any point in time. Always keep you a little kitty off to the side where you're putting money.” But it was a secret so the principle was a valid principle but it was a secret that's the part that I did not like.
I do have separate accounts for my husband that are only mine but he has access to see them. I [inaudible] have no access to get nothing but at least he could see it. Lord forbid if I were to pass away and that sort of thing, he has all the passwords to every debit card I have. I would want him to be able to get the money. It's those types of narratives though.
It kept us safe. Well, our nervous system doesn't know that we are not in 1950, 1960 anymore, that more women than ever, counter to that is starting their own businesses, there are more women in the c-suite than ever before. Do we need more? Absolutely. But we aren't the docile Stepford wife Leave it to Beaver of 1960, but our nervous systems I think sometimes are still responding in that way.
Racheal Cook: Oh, yes. I was primarily raised by my grandmother and she's depression era so for her, the thriftiness was so deep and it took a lot for me to reprogram that. Like you said, it's because when her nervous system is all like save every penny, use every coupon, don't throw anything away because you might need it, that's not necessary at this point and that's passed down through generations. Whatever your mom went through, whatever your grandmother went through, those mindsets, those lessons are very much passed down.
For modern women right now who have opportunities, our mothers and grandmothers just honestly did not. There's more available to us than any other time and we have to overcome the ingrained mindset challenges here so that we can truly embrace those opportunities, go after those opportunities, and not get in our own way, which it brings us to sales confidence because so many women struggle with this and you have always been, at least in my mind, as long as I've known you, someone who's very, very confident, but how did you find that confidence? How did you find out you were good at sales?
Leslie Lyons: Yeah. I shared a bad story about my dad but then I'm going to share a good story about my dad. One of the things that I think is the foundational piece to sales confidence is owning your voice, your voice and your values, the two Vs. The only more important V than voice and values is your vulva. No, I'm kidding, but I'm serious, but truthfully, my dad affirmed my voice so when I'm working with women who are typically hesitant about selling, these women are typically the same women who are hesitant about sharing their opinion on anything, they're hesitant about speaking up when someone has crossed a boundary or violated a value, these women often struggle to put voice to that violation.
I don't know what the Vs are with me today but I'm Black, I'm Baptist, alliterations are a thing so I'm like, “That's the fourth V, how did that even happen?”
Racheal Cook: You might have a whole new keynote coming out of this.
Leslie Lyons: Exactly. I’m like, “What’s the fourth V?” In all sincerity, that lack of being able to own what you stand for at the heart of sales confidence, the more that you can own what matters to you, values and principles that matter to you, the easier it is for you to voice it. It's like putting a battery in the back of the Energizer Bunny, your voice and your values fuel that.
When you think about selling to me, selling is basically just a transference of belief, the belief that you have in your product, you want your client to have the same level of belief, if not more. When I think about that, it's just me, again, advocating for the thing that I sell, speaking up for the thing that I sell, giving voice to it.
My very first sales job was when I was in seventh grade and we used to have these very cool right-on magazines and so like new addition would be in there and whatever little Black boy group, Prince was big back then too, Michael Jackson, and they were all in these magazines and the magazines would cost like a dollar and fifty cents, well, what I would do is because my favorite aunt, who's gone under glory now too, was an executive assistant at EF Hutton, remember EF Hutton?
Racheal Cook: Mm-hmm.
Leslie Lyons: He talks, everybody listens, well, she was an EA there and she had access to a lamination machine. What I started doing was buying those magazines, ripping out the pictures of Prince, New Edition, and Bobby Brown, and I would take them to her job on the weekends because she always works Saturday morning and she would take me with her and I would laminate those pictures and sell them at school for like 50 cents when the magazine cost me about a buck 25 kind of a thing.
That was my very first sales job was like, “Oh, people want these pictures. They want to put them on their wall.” But the problem was they got on crunkle and crinkly and put them on the wall, I'm like, “I solved that problem for you. It's laminated. It's ready to go for the low, low price of 50 cents you could have it.”
Racheal Cook: I love it.
Leslie Lyons: That was my first entree because, again, seeing my mother and knowing because my mother was always very open with me and she told me what my dad would do, she would be like, “Your dad then put this check on the table and he hasn't cashed it. It's on the table. It's on the kitchen table.” I grew up with a consciousness around money and how not having it was problematic. For me, I started looking for ways to make my own little money and so that was when I found out, “Okay, if I know how to sell, I will never be broke.”
I didn't know I was selling in that way when I was little but I knew it kept me not broke, it kept me with lunch money, it kept me with candy store money, it kept me with resources. Fast forward after undergrad, I went into HR. I stayed in HR for maybe 10 years, something like that, until I got recruited out. My very first sales job was a recruiter. I worked for Robert Half, which is one of the top staffing firms in the nation.
I was recruited out of HR into Robert Half and that was completely a sales job basically. I never looked back because I made more money there than I had ever made in my entire career. The very first year, I went from HR making about $40,000 as an HR generalist. My very first year selling there, I think I made like $105,000, something like that so that was a huge jump for me. But by the time I left there, I was making over $200,000. I went from $40,000 a year to $200,000 in three years' time.
I was like, “There's no way in hell I will ever go and sit back in somebody's HR department. That ain't happening,” and having that control over my income being like, “I want something. I want to buy something. I want to invest in something. I want to go somewhere,” I can give myself a raise today. How many options, careers do you have other than being an entrepreneur where you could literally say, “I'm going to give myself a raise today”? That type of freedom, that type of control over your life, that type of sovereignty only happens in selling.
Racheal Cook: Oh, my gosh. I love that you shared this story so much because I think if more women had this light bulb moment and realized that there's only so much you can scrimp, save, and budget to create what you want in life but when you realize that you can create income for yourself, you can go out and sell pretty much anything and unlock the ceiling on your income, that is so incredible to me.
The world is doing so many people a disservice by keeping us playing small, saying, “Cut your coupons, budget, budget, budget, stop having your latte.” I don't want to stop having my latte. I'm going to earn enough money so I can run through the Starbucks drive-through every day.
Leslie Lyons: Amen. That's that Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman kind of approach.
Racheal Cook: Not a fan. At the same time, the way they both made their wealth was by starting businesses and selling products, programs, and courses and licensing their intellectual property to everyone so that every church in the world now has Dave Ramsey's program. I believe he cashes in on all of that and it's not because he had a budget that said, “Cut out your favorite treat.” Leslie's laughing her head off over here.
Leslie Lyons: Yes, I'm like only because I like Dave Ramsey. Let's be clear, I'm not a Dave Ramsey hater, his energy is funny to me. I like Southern men, I think that's part of it because he reminds me of a cranky grandpa, but his financial advice is littered with privilege and I don't think that he realizes that in his conversation at all.
I think he very much so feels like he's pulled himself up by his bootstraps, hard work, he did all of the things. And I'm not denying that he did not but I think there's a huge blind spot with him around privilege that his financial advice doesn't work for the average person, so yeah, saving lattes, no, just go make more money.
Racheal Cook: Just go make more money. I feel like if we could package up your energy and confidence into a little pill that we could all take every day, then we would solve so many problems that women have selling their offers, their products, programs, and services. How do you think more women can build that confidence and stop feeling so hesitant, awkward, or uncomfortable when it comes to, “Hey, this is what I have,” and like you said, advocating for their offers?
Leslie Lyons: Yeah, first of all, before you can advocate for your offer, you have to advocate for yourself. Sales is an energetic game. People can feel your energy and so you have to think very highly of yourself first. Oftentimes, before we can advocate for a product, when you haven't been advocating for yourself, that's a very heavy lift.
One of the things that I feel like, specifically to women, people who identify as women, and really that feminine energy that we have, one of our God-given gifts is our intuition. It is a game changer. I really wish more women really leaned into that, especially in a sales capacity. Our ability to be empathetic, our ability to see things from multiple angles makes us very solution aware. When you're solution aware, the price for what you sell goes up significantly, like leaning into your intuition.
Once you know what you care about, why it matters to you, putting voice to it becomes a little bit more natural. For me, at a base level is we have to teach women to trust themselves, trust their bodies, trust their voices, trust their intuition, trust their intellect because we are living in a world that keeps women doubting if they're enough, do they know enough, but ultimately, if they are truly worthy of anything, we all live in that world as women, I really want women to trust themselves, trust their bodies.
For those who don't know, I've owned a pole dance studio for almost 20 years. At the heart of that, people see it on bad girls club or they see it on something and they're like, “Oh, that looks so fun,” but at the heart of my approach was getting women to trust their bodies again, that your bodies are capable of doing things that you never thought possible. You're stronger than you ever knew. You're able to push through obstacles.
Because one of the things that I tell people all the time, going back to the energy of a thing, if you can climb a 12-foot pole in a studio, your body doesn't know the difference of you climbing a 12-foot pole or you standing in front of your assh*le client who you need to fire because they've been abusing you. They've been doing scope creep. They've been doing all the stuff and you need to fire them. Your body doesn't know the difference. All your body knows is that it's felt fear and it's overcoming it.
It doesn't know that you're not climbing a 12-foot pole anymore. All it knows is that it felt fear and it overcame it. You're training your body that it can do hard stuff. A woman who trusts her body, because how many times, Racheal, have you been in a situation and you felt something somatically, something in your body that lets you know that this was off?
Racheal Cook: Oh, all the time.
Leslie Lyons: Shut that down, they ignore that because of conditioning like we should ignore pain, we should be small, we should be all those things. But when you actually lean into that, that trust like something's not right and I'm going to follow that, it opens the door.
I think one of the things that makes women hesitant about selling other than the stereotypes of selling is so many women are like, “Well, what if the client asked me something I don't know, or what if I get embarrassed because I'm talking to this CFO? You're selling B2B and now you're talking to this powerful guy, what if he catches me on something, what if I say the wrong thing, or what if it doesn't come out right?” So f*ck*ng what? What if it doesn't?
Racheal Cook: I love this, agreed.
Leslie Lyons: Do you trust yourself enough to know that I will have the answer that I need to have and if I don't have the answer, if I'm caught off guard, I can come back to center?
Training your physical body through a movement modality, my choice is obviously pole but there are several movement modalities that will teach you to trust your body, build trust in the fact that you can rebound, build trust in the fact that you can stand 10 toes. It starts in your body first.
Racheal Cook: This is so important because this nervous system conversation is one that I feel like is becoming a little bit more mainstream. You have been so ahead of the curve on this and I think anybody who's done any sort of movement or mindfulness practice, the more you can drop into your body, the easier it becomes to access that intuition, it tells you when something's off.
I think this is one piece that a lot of women are very in their heads, they're very analytical, they want to overthink it to death instead of just doing something, just getting into action because I find the action is what creates the clarity, is what helps you move through, and helps you figure things out.
I feel like one of my strengths has always been I have this unshakable belief that I can figure out pretty much anything. That's a dangerous belief because I will take risks that other people won't necessarily take but I'm pretty sure, if I'm in any conversation, and like you said, I don't know the answer, I'm like, “You know what, I'm not sure right this moment. Let me do some research and get back to you,” and be totally fine with that. I think a piece of that, what I'm hearing from you is we have to let go of the “you have to be perfect all the time” in order to take that action.
Leslie Lyons: Absolutely. I'm not making that mean anything other than I don't have that information. What I see a lot of women is that they make that mean that they're stupid, it makes them mean that they're fraud or there's something inherently wrong with them because they didn't have the answer to this complex question that a customer had. It's all about what you make things mean in sales conversations.
The second thing that women don't want to sell is because they don't want to be rejected, they don't want to be told no. Because what do we make the no mean? I spend so much time with women like, “What are you making that mean about you? You are not your business. You are not your product. It is a separate entity from you. If you sell this thing or if you don't sell this thing, your worth remains the same.”
If I make $2 million, if I make $20,000, my worth remains the same. I'm priceless. Jesus Christ died for you. You are priceless, child. There is nothing that can assign your worth or take it from you. When you can separate your worth from the sales process, rejection don't mean that much to you because you're not rejecting me, you're rejecting what I'm selling.
Then this is where my Kanye energy comes in and I feel like all women, yes, he's crazy, I need a better example because every year he gets worse and worse, but one thing I love about old Kanye is nobody loves Kanye more than Kanye. That's the energy you need to have when you go into sales situations. I remember, going back to Robert Half, we sat in one of those big bullpens just like you see on Wolf of Wall Street, those sorts of things, that is a true sales environment where it's competitive.
You can hear everybody, it's loud, it's noisy. It's just like you see it in the movies. I was one of the few women in the office, and I definitely was, I think there were only two Black people in the office at that time, I'll never forget one of the guys who was sitting next to me heard me talking to a CFO because Robert Half does accounting, I'm talking to a CFO and when I got off the phone, he was like, “Oh, my God, you didn't care if he bought from you or not. Did you?”
I was like, “No, I sure didn't. I don't care. I'm not kissing his ass. I have something he needs and if he chooses to forego this person because it was a great candidate, who's hurt here, him or me? Because I'm going to find this candidate a job, he's losing out.”
Translate this to your bookkeeping business, translate this to your tattoo shop, translate this to your dispensary, you have what someone needs and do you really believe that the thing that you are selling will change their life and if they don't take you up on it, they're lost? If you really believe, because we talk a lot about being in service to people like, “Oh, selling is serving,” well, I want you to raise your cocky up, I want you to get into your Kanye energy and be like, “No, seriously?”
This is so good that if you pass it up, I pity the fool. I feel bad because you're going to be stuck or you're not going to achieve the thing that I could have helped you accelerate and get to faster. It takes you from the subservient position, this one down position that I think a lot of women feel in selling situations to [we peers in this book]. As a matter of fact, I have the upper hand because I have the thing that could change your life. Do women believe that? I don't know but I'm out here trying to help you to get that type of energy around what you do.
Racheal Cook: So huge to hear you share this because yeah, the confidence and the separation between your worth as a human being, separating that from the worth of product, program, service, offer, whatever it is, this is a conversation I had with my friend Jacquette Timmons and she said straight up, “I hate when people say charge your worth” because, like you said, you are priceless, there is no dollar amount we can put on your value as a person, as a human.
When we enmesh these feelings between letting things mean something about ourselves personally, then we take it all personally, then we feel that rejection personally. It brings up all the abandonment issues you might have, speaking for myself, and it just becomes this thing where it's really hard to overcome that because you're making it mean something about who you are instead of looking at just the value of the thing you're trying to offer them and the solution you're trying to provide.
One of my favorite memories growing up, and again, I feel like there are some unfair advantages I have, I worked behind the scenes in my dad's office from the time being a little kid and one of my first jobs was setting appointments and I had a little tick sheet where I had to make a hundred dials a day. It wasn't even about getting a yes, it was like just keep going because statistically, out of those 100 dials a day, 20 people would pick up and I could set 12 appointments and 4 to 6 would show up.
I had it so drilled in that it had nothing to do with me personally, it was about “Here's the process that we follow, if they say no, next, got a whole nother list of people to call.” Now this is back in the 90s, y'all, when you would open up the Yellow Pages and then just start calling, just start calling the Yellow Pages like, “Do you need a review of your commercial insurance?” But it taught me very early on that whatever they said didn't really matter. It had nothing to do with me. All I had to do was follow this process and know that this is just part of how we go out there and help people.
Those lessons I think are invaluable and I wish more people had those before they jumped into business. But regardless, you're going to learn the lesson. Either you're learning it on someone else's dime because you're working for someone or you're going to learn it on your own dime because you got to learn it yourself now.
Leslie Lyons: Yeah, or you won't eat, that's really that simple. People ask me, “Why did you sell?” I'm like, “Because I've gotten accustomed to eating. I enjoy food. What the heck?” But the truth of the matter is even in that regard of the 100 dials a day, it was also teaching your body this was a somatic thing that was happening that I can just do this. The beauty of sales is that sales is the numbers game when people say that, but I love the fact that you can figure it out.
You figured that out in your early 20s as a kid. You figured that out like if I make a 100 dials, I'll get 20 people on the phone. From those 20 people, I'll give 10 appointments and 4 of them will show up so all I need to do is make the 100 dials. You figured out the system that unlocked it. But the thing, the energy to make the 100 dials, which is why I focus on sales confidence and not sales strategy, is that the energy behind the picking up the phone to make a 100 dials is what so many women lack.
If I had a dollar for every time a woman told me that sales drained her, that's her least favorite thing, or she needs to take four hours to recover from a sales call to recalibrate, I'm like, “Sis, what is actually going on that is taking so much out of you?”
Racheal Cook: It's the fear.
Leslie Lyons: It's the fear of it all. They haven't figured out what you figured out as a young adult. They haven't figured out the system. To go to Jacquette's point about the charging what you're worth, there are other things that keep us attached to our business and making it so personal. Things like, “Oh, your business is your baby,” no, it's not. As a mother of 13-year-old twins, is The CEO Collective the same as your twins?
Racheal Cook: Oh, no. Nowhere near.
Leslie Lyons: Nowhere near and it's nowhere near that important. This is the last thing I'm going to say that will hopefully give your listeners some freedom around this: who you are innately, your personality, your gifts, the things you care about, your values, your principles, those things are the constant in your life, your business is not. Your business may be here today and you may decide to sell it tomorrow. It is a container for your gifting. Your gifts don't ever change. Your gifts never leave but the container can shift and that gives you so much permission and freedom to do other things.
There are so many women who are doing businesses and you don't want to sell it anymore because you really ain't fired up about it anymore because you feel like “I've given 20 years to my life,” that's how I felt with my pole dance studio. I've done this for 20 years. What am I going to do with it? What will I be without it? These types of questions.
I had to remind myself, I'm not confident every day either but I have to remind myself that you have skills outside of this, your skills you've been helping women before you open the pole dance studio, you've been helping women in ministry, you've been helping women in volunteering.
Guess what you're going to help women after that. What are your gifts? What are your values? What are your principles? The more that you focus on those things and the more rooted you are in those things, the more confident you'll be.
Racheal Cook: I love this. I can't even add on to that. That was such a perfect way to wrap up this conversation, Leslie, I appreciate you so very much and all of just the energy you bring to the world and all of the energy you bring to women who follow you. Where can people get more of your sales confidence pep talks? Because I know you're out here talking about sales confidence and leadership all over the internet.
Leslie Lyons: Yeah, I always tell people, because sales and leadership are the same to me, there’s a lot that goes on there because again, it's the transference of belief, it's the transference of vision that's what a good leader does as well. One of the latest things that I'm so excited about is this free quiz that we had developed on my website and it really helps you learn your unique sales and leadership style and how you can sell more and lead better. If you go to my website, it's lesliedlyons.com, you can also find me on IG @lesliedlyons, and Linkedin Leslie D. Lyons, you're going to see the link for this quiz everywhere.
The cool thing about it is it's only two questions, Racheal, so it literally takes like 30 seconds to fill it out and what you're going to get back is based off of your unique personality, how you can lead better, and sell more. Super excited. You get some tips that you can put some teeth into and make a difference that day with the results.
Racheal Cook: Love it. Everyone, the link will be in the show notes so make sure you go grab that quiz. Of course, if you love this episode, come connect with us on Instagram, Leslie's on there all the time, I'm on there all the time. Just add us and let us know your thoughts, your takeaways, and what you're going to now put into action, what are you going to do differently after hearing this conversation.
Leslie Lyons: They're going to go take a pole dance class.
Racheal Cook: They're going to go take a pole dance class and get in their bodies so you can trust yourself more.
Leslie Lyons: That's right. Trust yourself more, you sell more.
Racheal Cook: I love it. Thank you so much, Leslie.
Leslie Lyons: Thank you, Racheal. Thank you for all that you’re doing in our world. Thank you for what you’ve done for me personally over the years, and may your tribe increase. That's what I always say.
Racheal Cook: There you have it. Isn't Leslie just an amazing, amazing voice to have in your ear about embracing sales confidence, really re-examining the relationship you may have had with sales, that you may have had with money, and thinking differently so that you can truly step into your purpose, you can truly be of service to the people that you're here to help in this world through your business?
I love everything that Leslie talks about. She also has an amazing podcast, which I highly encourage everyone to go check out. I'm going to be putting all of the links in the show notes so that you can go listen in.
I want you to make sure that if you liked this episode, if you like this conversation, one, make sure you have gone over to Instagram, do a quick screenshot of your podcast player, tag me @racheal.cook, tag Leslie @lesliedlyons, and let us know what were your ahas, what were your insights, what are your big takeaways, and things you're going to start thinking about how you can step into being more confident in your sales.
Second, if you know this is an area you need to work on, if you know this is an area that you've struggled in your business, you haven't felt like you can truly go out in the world and tell people more about what you do and how you can help them, then I want you to keep on listening because the next few episodes in this series are going to be a game changer for how sales is changing, what you need to know about how sales is going to continue to change as the world is changing, as the economy is changing, as buyer needs and buyer preferences are changing, as markets and industries get more sophisticated.
There are so many little nuanced things here that we need to look at when it comes to continuing to bring in more sales in a changing world like this. Marketing is something that you need to be able to adapt and adjust based on the needs of your community. If you're not on top of it, you will discover, as your sales start to slow down, that you aren't communicating in a way that people really need to hear in order to continue to say yes to working with you.
We have an entire month of talking about sales here on Promote Yourself to CEO so make sure you are subscribed to the podcast so that you do not miss a single conversation. Alright, thanks so much for listening and I'll talk to you in the next episode.