Calling all men: Attending ‘She Means Business’ event is a must-do

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By Stephen Ross

Gentlemen,

There’s an event coming up on Monday, April 29, called “She Means Business.” It’s specifically geared toward women in sales. But gentlemen, I think we should also attend. Here’s why:

A few years ago, I was working as a sales trainer and consultant with Sandler Training.  One client was a Fortune 1000 company with 250 salespeople around the country. As I traveled around the country and rode with their sales team, I became aware of a unique challenge faced by the women. In addition to the standard objections on a sales call like “your price is higher” or “we’d like to think it over,” these professional saleswomen also had to deal with “I’ll buy from you if you’ll go out with me this weekend” and other comments not fit to print. It was discouraging and shocking, to say the least.

In response, the company with whom I was working did an outstanding job of creating women’s leadership and mentorship groups, educating sales managers on the issue, promoting women to leadership roles, and including it as part of their sales training. However, as #MeToo has clearly shown, there is an enormous cultural problem that exists across industries and regions.

I asked some professional saleswomen and business owners in the Upstate if they saw it as a problem here, too. The answer has been a resounding “Yes!” In fact, on a regular basis, I’ll see a post on LinkedIn along the lines of “LinkedIn is NOT a dating site.”

As a father of four daughters (and a son), I would love to shield them from that harsh reality indefinitely. However, they’ll grow up and enter the workforce in some capacity and have to deal with bad behavior at various times. I want to equip them with the skill set necessary to deal with whatever this world throws at them. To that end, I’ve been excited to help organize “She Means Business.”

Our two speakers, Lorraine Ferguson and Rebecca Heiss, travel the country speaking to business groups on related issues. I’ve heard them both and they are outstanding. Our panel discussion will tackle the challenge from the perspective of an attorney, a human resources consultant, and an entrepreneur. It’s the kind of event I’d want my daughters to attend. But as a father, a sales professional, a manager, and a sales trainer, it’s also the kind of event I want to attend. Gentlemen, I think you should join me, as well. We and our companies will be better for it.

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