Let Me Sell You a Feminine Napkin, Please
After leading a group of Girl Scouts recently in a half day marathon of leadership and communication exercises I realized even more than I was already aware, that it’s often not what you say, it’s how you say it that matters. A group of 10-12 year old girls will do that for you, give you that wake up reminder that communication is key in any situation.
As we wrapped up the day this was made even more obvious when I asked each of the girls to tell me one thing they had learned. Our wittiest and yet least confident converser when forced to answer last out of the nine present responded with, “I learned y’all eat Chick-fil-A here because you have packets of their ketchup in your drawers.” Yes, the little sneak had been perusing our kitchen drawers while she was waiting her turn for one of the many exercises conducted and versus answer with something relevant she instead turned to the absurd, however, she did answer the question I asked, my mistake was in the delivery.
When I was asked to “host” this group the organizer said that many of the girls were struggling with self- confidence, and she specifically wanted a day that would help boost their image of themselves and teach them some tricks to be more confident young ladies. So a tall order! I had forgotten how wishy washy a 12 year old girl can be. “Yeah I think I can do that maybe,” was a popular sentence for about a half hour that day before the words were forever banished less they risk making my head spin around like in Poltergeist. And at one point I actually had one of the little darlings convinced that the sky is indeed purple and not blue during one of my attempts to instill that confident speech is often more important than what you say (it wasn’t actually purple but I’m betting you just looked out your window to see!).
Anyway all of this confidence building got me to thinking, speaking confidently is the key to sales (duh) and can often be more important than what you are selling in getting the consumer to buy said item. At least if you sound like you know what you’re talking about people will be more likely to purchase, even if your line is a complete load of poo (or not). This lesson is also something I try to teach the folks who work for me. While it is important to be accurate and give out correct information we honestly get some of the weirdest and most random phone calls that can require a level of creative interpretation and digestion that speaking with confidence, even in the face of “Do you know where I can buy some dove huntin’ dogs” you are able to march forward and find the right thing to say to #1 appease the caller and #2 not feel like a complete idiot when you’re done.
And then there are the feminine napkin sellers. No, no don’t scroll away, continue reading and enjoy. As mentioned we get some of the more unique questions and requests here in our office, to date one of our more interesting ones was a gentleman, yes a man, who has packaged feminine napkins along with feminine cleansing cloths in an attempt to sell the “packages” to women for their home/office use and/or to restaurants and other businesses to have on hand for female customers.
While he was perfectly nice and very confident in this product and able to speak about it with a high degree of assurance I am sorry to say that without the requisite female problems to accompany his product pitch there was no way even our office full of women was going to purchase his packages (like that alliteration huh?). And that’s when I recalled that no matter how certain you are of your product and no matter how much you might indeed like the speaker that some people just create true crap to sell and all they really want is for you to listen, not talk, listen to how they came up with the idea, how they will market the idea and how they will make mega-millions off the idea. At that point you learn the second best sales tip ever……let the ranter rant, nod your head and pray that you will have done such a good job listening that he never comes back to try and sell you any more truly doubly absorbent pads packaged with refreshing, PH balanced cleansing cloths for your nether regions.
-Leah Poole, CEO of the Liberty County Chamber & CVB