When I got uncomfortable with my previous job and together with my friends we started a business, my husband was very supportive and he even bought me my first sales book by Zig Ziglar ” The secret of closing a sale” the reason why he bought me the book is because we had to sell our services for the business to succeed. Unfortunately after the post election violence we closed the business in 2009 after going through a very difficult time in Mombasa. By then I had developed serious interest in sales. When I decided I was going to sell insurance, my husband did not like the idea but with time he allowed me to follow my passion. Am forever grateful to him because he is special, few men would let their women sell insurance.
Anyway, I started selling insurance and of course, you start by prospecting your close friends and existing clients if you had any. Some of your friends start disappearing from you because you have now become a “begger” not like the one on the streets but worse because you follow people to their offices and their homes. Now the challenge for us women is that, the perception of any woman who is in sales and especially selling insurance, is that they are loose and available. What surprised me is when I called one of my previous male clients, he was a website client and told him that I was now selling insurance. The reaction I got was very strange, this is a man who we had designed a website for and had a lot of respect for me. But now because I was selling insurance, respect automatically goes with the wind. He was very forthright, he told me that women who sell insurance are promiscuous and that I had decided to join the club. This caused me to take a few days retreat to think and evaluate if i still needed to sell insurance as a career.
The bible states that all things happen for good to all that love the Lord, but most of the time when things happen we do not know if it will turn out good or bad. It’s important to look at everything as for our good because that is the only way to keep your energies up even when things are very tough. If you look at it as bad, it will be really bad.
So, I decided this was going to be my motivation to succeed in selling insurance and remain faithful to my husband so that other married women will use me as an example when their spouses stop or discourage them from selling.
As i continued selling I learnt a few lessons as a married insurance sales woman:
- Sales can be done between 8 am to 5pm: Sales is an exciting, rewarding and challenging job but you can easily loose yourself because you want to sell at the convenient of the client. When I was very new, I would have meetings even late in the evening. One day I came home at around 9pm and found my husband was home. He did not say a word to me, I wished he could talk so that I know what he was feeling. He chose to keep quiet and never talked about the issue. I asked myself, if my mother would hear I get home after my husband and I have never seen her come home after my father, she would kill me. It is from that day that I decided that my job would be from 7am to 5pm. Believe me that is when I started doing well, I started topping in the branch and eventually I became among the top 10 in the company. I realized 8 hrs of focus is more productive and helps you live a balanced life, clients will also respect your time because you keep time and look focused.
- You don’t have to sell to everyone: sometimes you meet prospects who demand more than you are selling, let them go. You will attract customers who are like you. If you don’t agree with a particular client/prospect values, let them go. You can only do business with like minded and people who share your values.
- Your family is your support pillar; remember when all is said and done, when companies have made profits and losses, when you get sick or in a situation you cannot work any more. It is your family that will be closest to you. Value and cherish them as you succeed in your sales career. The temptation to be a workaholic and chase more and more is very high because sales can be very sweet especially when you are able to set goals and achieve them. You can easily loose your family without realizing that you lost them because your focus is targets and more targets. Set aside time for you and your family.
- Self discipline is key: my son and I define self discipline as doing what you must do especially when you don’t feel like doing it. Everyone can do what they feel like doing but only self disciplined people can do what they don’t feel like doing. In a sales job you are your own boss, no one follows you to ensure you are at work. It’s very easy to become a mediocre leaving a lot of your time for gossip. This mean you do not succeed
- If you are a woman of integrity, other women will trust you with their men: women are motivated by security, this can be inform of financial security, family health, children education in the event of death etc, this means they are the best buyers of insurance because Insurance is about security. Some of these women may not have the money to buy such products but their husbands do. There is no woman who can send you to their man if they don’t trust you. Therefore your integrity and trustworthiness determines your success. Your husband will also give you space to be the best you can be so long as you demonstrate trust.
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