In many ways, the challenges that men and women in sales face are the same. Difficulty getting through to buyers. Not enough qualified opportunities in the pipeline. Too much admin work and not enough selling time. Competitive challenges. Keeping sales skills sharp. Staying on top of trends or changes happening in your industry. And more.
Though there are certainly generic challenges that both genders face, there are behaviors specific to women that can sabotage their success.
In a NEW Master Class for women launching on January 31st, 2019, I’ll be talking about the top 5 behaviors that may be sabotaging your sales and career efforts. Though I created the class with women in sales in mind, the class and content apply to those in other roles too.
These are the 5 common behaviors that get women in trouble:
- Being Seen Not Heard
- Leveraging Relationships vs. Building Them
- The TMI Trap
- People Pleasing and the Perfection Trap
Today, I want to talk about the TMI trap.
This is one behavior that routinely gets in the way of women’s success. Known as too much information, women can cause confusion in conversations or easily talk themselves out of a sale because they have difficulty getting to the point.
Too much information can take the form of prefacing the solution, a suggestion, new idea or a question with a backstory intended to provide additional context up front for what comes next. To the ears of others involved in the conversation, it feels like unnecessary over explaining that often causes the listener(s) to check out.
Though there is plenty of solid research and evidence to back me up, I’ve witnessed this behavior in action time and time again.
Take for example the young woman who had a question for one of our speakers at a networking event I hosted earlier this year.
At close to 40 seconds in without a question being asked, I had to politely interrupt her to say… “and your question is?”
She fell into the trap of giving us a backstory, that, let’s be honest, no one cared about and wasn’t needed, but I assume was justification – in her mind – for her question. The moment I interrupted her, she realized what she was doing.
TMI is a counterproductive behavior that may happen because women are typically relationship builders.
We are wired to want to know and understand others, and we want others to know and understand us. Aside from potentially putting others to sleep, in some situations going overboard with a backstory may not be such a big deal. As it relates to sales conversations, suggesting new business ideas or asking for that promotion in the interest of advancing your career, TMI can be a killer.
Because when a strength is overdone it becomes a liability. A liability that keeps you from getting what you want.
If you find yourself wondering why sales opportunities are not progressing, deals aren’t being closed, your ideas are overlooked, or you often find yourself feeling misunderstood, TMI is the likely culprit.
Though there is an urban myth floating around the internet that says on average women speak 20,000 words in a day while men speak 7,000, a 2007 study debunked that myth. The study showed that women and men use roughly the same number of words in a day. As it turns out, the real insight in that research is NOT in the number of words women or men use when talking to others but in HOW those words are used.
Though I’ve observed countless times how men, as well as women, can talk too much in sales conversations, men seem to be more focused on winning the business versus forging a friendly bond for life. Men aren’t usually telling you their life story before getting to the heart of what it is that they want.
There is nothing wrong with spending a few minutes being friendly and getting to know people ahead of jumping into your sales chat. I certainly do. Just keep in mind that buyers are giving you the gift of their time, and in business today time is a precious resource that no one wants to waste.
When your prospect agrees to meet with you, you owe it to them to get to the point. Avoid the TMI trap by learning to speak in bullets not paragraphs! And leave all that background information where it belongs. In the background because most of the time it isn’t needed at all.