Empowerment for Women: A Discussion with Lee Mariano

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The Sales Warrior Within | Season 2 Episode 24 – Empowerment for Women: A Discussion with Lee Mariano

Andy Olen is a Sales & Leadership Trainer and High-Performance Coach. Andy works with talented salespeople, business teams, and leaders who seek empowerment, improvement, and insight. Andy’s clients strive to be the best in class.

“Good Selling, Good Leading, Good Living.” – Andy Olen

Empowerment for Women: A Discussion with Lee Mariano

  • Andy Olen welcomes coach, author, and business guru Lee Mariano to The Sales Warrior Within Podcast to discuss empowerment for women in business and in life
  • Empowerment is a clear and powerful theme throughout the episode
  • Lee shares the challenges women face in the workforce including how unconscious bias often results in the exclusion of women and women’s voices
  • Lee looks back on her experiences in the Marines and Human Resources Management and discusses the challenges women face in all roles and levels of leadership
  • Andy and Lee pivot to progress and the case for optimism and ways organizations and women can overcome the challenges faced in the professional world
  • Lee highlights the mindsets of “the best candidate wins” and “the best idea wins” which opens the aperture and levels the playing field
  • Lee’s storytelling, optimism, and passion will inspire and enrich you
  • Enjoy a wide-ranging and engaging conversation with Lee Mariano

Connect with Lee on Her Coaching Website and request Lee’s 8 Factors of Unshakable Confidence
Check Out Lee’s Facebook Page

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Speakers: Andy Olen & Lee Mariano

Speakers: Andy Olen & Lee Mariano

| 00:02 | There’s a sales warrior within each of us. My name is Andy Olen, and I’m here to help you discover and empower the Sales Warrior within. Hello, Sales Warriors. This is Andy Olen with another episode of the Sales Warrior Within podcast. Thanks so much for joining today. I’m super excited to welcome Lee Mariano to the podcast today.
| 00:30 | Lee. She’s an author, a speaker, a business guru, and CEO and founder of https://alexidomcoach.com/ Coaching. And Alexidom is a multifaceted coaching specialty centered around helping clients increase their self confidence, reclaim their personal power, and rediscover their identity so that they can successfully achieve their goals and attain the life they most deserve.
| 00:53 | And we’re going to focus our conversation today on women and women’s empowerment in the workplace, women’s empowerment in sales in their career, and the importance for women to say and believe that they belong at the table in front of customers in that promotion opportunity.
| 01:16 | And Lee is a wonderful and inspiring speaker and a coach business guru who helps women get to that place of wonderful confidence, tremendous empowerment, and she has a lot of great insights that I know the Sales Warrior community will enjoy. So without further ado, here’s my conversation with Lee Mariano. Lee Mariano, welcome to the Sales Warrior Within podcast. Thanks so much for joining today. Thank you so much for having me.
| 01:46 | I’m very happy to be here. That’s great. Well, I’m excited for all the topics that we’re going to talk about. You have a wonderful background, which I just shared with the listeners, and why don’t you fill that background in a little bit more? If you can talk to some of the big experiences you had, what you love to focus on, and what motivates you, that’d be a great place to start today. Absolutely. So as you’ve read or as we talked about previously, my background has centered around coaching, around empowerment, around helping women to understand who they truly are as leaders and powerful beings.
| 02:24 | Formerly, I was trained as human resources, so I have been in the coaching world in one way or another for more than 25 years. I’m also a former US. Marine, and I served in the Marine Corps for eight years. So I understand the challenges that happen when you are a woman in a male dominated environment and some of the leadership skills and some of the confidence that you have to have in yourself in order to succeed in that world.
| 02:55 | So I’ve been able to utilize some of those skills that I’ve gained in the military that I’ve gained in human resources and now use them to help other women as they are themselves climbing the corporate ladder or starting their own business or simply need more confidence in order to achieve their goals. Yeah, that’s great. And looking forward to diving into some of your experiences and the challenges women face in the professional setting, advice that you have for them.
| 03:26 | And I know the listeners are going to want to connect with you. What’s the best way for the Sales Warrior within podcast listeners to connect with you? Absolutely. So the primary way is through my website. It’s https://alexidomcoach.com/  Very simple, they can go there, they can contact me. There is a way to contact me and there also are a couple of freebies on my website that they can grab whether one is eight factors of unshakable confidence.
| 03:54 | And that’s a really good guide in order to help give eight tidbits of how you can take action today in order to build your confidence. So my website is really the primary method, but then I’m also on social media, so Facebook is away also I’m there at Alexidom coaching. Perfect. And you mentioned two topics that I want to double click and get more into. One, empowerment is a word that a lot of people use.
| 04:25 | I think it can sometimes have a buzzy sort of feel to it, a buzzword. And it’s a word that I use a lot too when I’m working with teams and individuals. And I always keep the definition of empowerment nearby. And the definition that I use is the strengthening of one’s skills in order to better control your own destiny and shape your future. And I think that’s a wonderful way to sort of get the motivation to become empowered. And then the other topic you talked about was about building confidence for women.
| 04:58 | Let’s talk a little bit about the challenges that women face specifically in the business world today. Based on your experience, what you’re seeing and everyone that you’re talking with, what are some of the big challenges women face today in the professional world? So it’s interesting that that is what you focused on because what I’ll say is we have made such great progress but for however, as I said to say, however, in the business world, women still face the challenges of not being heard.
| 05:38 | And so part of what I talked to so many women about is being able to use the strength and power of your voice. You have a voice. Women in business have a voice. They have the skills, the knowledge, the ability, the training to excel and exceed. But what happens is their voices are silent.
| 06:02 | And so there is a, there is a pulling back of women from being in the front where by virtue of the circumstance, men are oftentimes put in front of them. I still hear from clients today where they will be around a boardroom table or a meeting table and they will say something, they will input an idea, they will give an opinion and no one will seem to hear them.
| 06:35 | What happens is their colleague, who happens to be male, will say that same comment and everyone says, oh, this is the greatest thing since life spread. So then the woman says, thinking to herself, well, I just said that maybe. Why is it that I’m not being heard. And there’s a couple of things that can go into that. And we can talk about that further if you want.
| 06:59 | But I think that really is still one of the primary challenges that women have is they continue to need validation from their colleagues, from their managers, their bosses, the leadership within a company. And so how do they break through? How do they get through that wall that they are facing?
| 07:26 | And when they can’t get through that wall, when they can’t get over that hump, they become dejected, they become demoralized and they stop thriving and striving for that next step. And maybe they leave the company or maybe they think they can’t get to that next level and that then plays a toll or takes a toll on their confidence in their role and their position and what they’re capable of doing. So it’s a bit of a vicious cycle.
| 07:55 | Yeah. And your words ring true to me. I’ve always tried to be as sensitive and thoughtful and as open as possible when I was a manager of big sales teams in corporate America throughout my 20 years there. And now that I work with clients who are often Fortune 500 companies, here are the things that I’ll see.
| 08:20 | And I want you to react to some of these because I think as people look into signals of where the environment may not be as progressive or as advanced as needed to empower everyone’s voice, these are some of the signals that women have to probably watch out for. An example I’ll share with you is it’s in the ways that people jump on a call, a team call, men and women on the call, and the male leaders will use words like hey guys, gang.
| 08:53 | And just those two words have more of a male connotation than a gender neutral connotation. Or what I notice is, and I love your reaction to both of these, is that the guys on the call, the men all seem to have nicknames, whereas the women are called by their first name. And these are very subtle things.
| 09:15 | But as I see these, as a parent of two teenage strong girls, young women, I see these things and I say, how would my daughters feel in this environment where they don’t have a nickname, but every one of the guys does? If you can react to that. Those are some of the subtle things that people just probably aren’t aware of, but are still very powerful signals that may cause this sort of dampening effect and the weakening of a voice within the room.
| 09:42 | Yes, as you were saying, the first one about when everyone comes on a call and it’s hey guys. Hey gang. Right. That is something that does send a subtle message and it is something that still happens, of course, to this very day. I see it as well. So that’s very interesting. And it’s also one where when you mentioned the nicknames. Right?
| 10:09 | There can be a perception that women leaders, women in the workforce, women business leaders aren’t able to effectively communicate with their male colleagues. Well, Lee doesn’t understand. Well, Lee, she’s a woman, she’s a wife, she’s a mother. We’re not going to have her in this conversation.
| 10:36 | So then what happens is the conversation that the male colleagues have had, it permeates into everything. And so then the perception is that there is this click summer in, summer out. And it’s not necessarily that it was an intentional negative slight, but it is the unconscious bias that is happening. Right?
| 11:04 | It’s the unconscious bias that is happening that results in exclusion of women from some of these circles within the corporate environment or within the business field. That then to the woman leader, to the woman business leader, the perception is that I am being excluded because I am different, because I am a woman, because I am not in the in crowd.
| 11:29 | And those things again, whether intentional or not, are very clear signs that she may not talk about, she may not mention in a meeting, it may not come up in the topic of conversation in a mixed crowd. But I can guarantee you that her female colleagues are singing and they’re watching and they are talking amongst each other.
| 11:58 | And that then also tells them where can they succeed in the company? Are their contributions valuable, valid, understood, heard? Or are they being placed in a bucket off to the side in this box that they can’t get out of? So it’s very important. Yes, those things that you mentioned, they are happening still. Absolutely. I see it a lot. It makes me cringe when I hear it.
| 12:28 | It also makes me reflect that I do that when I was managing teams. How is my language and I’m training a salesforce gender neutral or not off putting to anybody? How is it inclusive and maybe not somewhat restrictive, either consciously or subconsciously? Because that would erode team, it would erode confidence, it would erode your sense of belonging. And that is not good for any business and it’s certainly not good for the people within that business.
| 12:59 | Right? Yes, I agree. And it also when you think about sales leaders in an organization so I’ve happened to work with many sales leaders, both male and female in the space that I’ve worked in is the government contracting space. So in that space you need very strong sales leaders who understand whether it’s defense, national security, healthcare system software.
| 13:30 | That was the sales team, that was the sales force in those organizations. And what I have observed over the years is that it is extremely lopsided between the male and the female within that sales organization, in that cell structure. There were some female sales leaders, sales managers within those organizations, but it is primarily dominated by males.
| 13:59 | And so then there is also there then becomes a perception that women are not as strong in these sales, especially when you’re in a $2 billion organization and you have 100 sales people and there’s maybe five women, right, it sends a message.
| 14:18 | And so then the women in that sales team or on that sales team have to be smarter, stronger, bolder, braver, more confident in order to be seen and perceived as equal to their male colleagues, which shouldn’t be the case that not only do you get to that more senior position, then you have to be head and shoulders above your colleagues, your male colleagues, in order just to sort of break even.
| 14:47 | That’s not the meritocracy, that’s not the rewards for great performance. That’s just almost staying afloat. And that’s not a healthy place to be for employees and for companies long term, honestly, I don’t think that’s competitive either. I don’t think a company can thrive if you don’t allow your talent to thrive and to have an opportunity to empower their voice and to break through some of these things.
| 15:15 | So we have made progress, as you mentioned earlier. However, there is a long way to go. Where do you think the biggest progress has been made? What are you hearing that gives you optimism? What I’m hearing, really, from the most senior leaders, C suite executives, is that their perception of who is the right fit for the role is taking a best candidate wins type approach. Right?
| 15:44 | So in organizations where I’ve been in, ideas come from, wherever in the organization best idea wins, no matter where it comes from. There has now been a shift. When you look at candidates, whether it’s sales leaders, sales managers, product managers, product owners, where it’s taken on a best candidate wins no matter where the candidate is from, no matter what school the candidate went to, no matter the candidates gender, it’s all about the experience that they can bring into the organization, into the role, into the company, into the vision of where that sales team is going.
| 16:27 | So I can say that has truly been an evolution and a change over the years that I have seen. It is truly moving to a best candidate. When you take that approach, it opens up the aperture of who you can actually bring to the company, where is the best talent? And recognizing that talent comes in all different shapes and sizes and backgrounds and experience.
| 16:54 | It gives everyone a more level playing field when they’re coming into an organization, especially on the sales team. Great. And that’s good to hear, and I do see progress as well. But I am very much in agreement with you.
| 17:09 | We have a long way to go on both the overt things that happen to women in the workplace that are there to suppress an opinion or for an establishment to maintain control or power, and then also the subtle, maybe subconscious things that, if you’re not very thoughtful about this, you can easily slip into habits that probably formed a long time ago and are not healthy habits for building a team and bringing the best out of everybody in the group.
| 17:42 | One of the things that I know you talk about and coach to is helping women overcome imposter syndrome. And I wanted to ask you about that a little bit because I spend a lot of time on negotiation skills and sales skills training and a lot of podcast time on cognitive biases and trying to overcome and be aware of your own cognitive biases, these shortcuts that help us make decisions because we don’t have infinite amount of time to look through everything. But if not aware of your cognitive bias can really be a blocker in terms of making good decisions.
| 18:15 | Can you define what imposter syndrome is and how talented women and women in general may run into this, and then how to overcome imposter syndrome? So from my perspective, the easiest way to define Imposter Syndrome is the feeling that simply you do not belong where you are.
| 18:37 | That is the simplest way to approach it, is that in any situation, you feel that you are the wrong person, you are in the wrong place, you do not have the skills that everyone else is better than you, and you don’t belong in the space that you’re in at that moment.
| 18:54 | And I think it happens to so many of us because there are a couple of things historical and also cultural and societal, where, for example, women over the years, young girls over the years have been told they don’t do well in Stem, in the Stem, science, technology, engineering, and math, right?
| 19:22 | They do not do well in those areas. And so it starts at a very young age. It starts at an age where you’re in grade school, 4th, 5th grade, whatever that age is, 9th and eleven, where you have situations where maybe you need a little bit of extra help in an area, whether it’s math. Let’s pick on math. And children. Those young girls are told, well, you know, girls just aren’t good at math.
| 19:51 | You should do more with reading or literature, right? And so that message continues throughout the years, whether they’re teen years or adult years, more women do not go into the Stem, get a Stem degree, they get more business, they get liberal arts degrees, things such as that, right?
| 20:16 | And so then when you’re then in a workforce, when you’re then in a workplace, and you have to project your expertise into a meeting, into a situation, whether you’re a salesperson, business person, so on and so forth, there’s this immediate judgment, this fear that can overcome the person that says, am I the right person? Am I in the right space? Well, I don’t do well at I don’t do well at math. I don’t do well at business.
| 20:44 | I’m not a natural born salesperson. And so that Imposter syndrome hits, and it basically sends a message to your brain that you do not belong. Right? And it’s a self serving prediction. Basically, we tell ourselves we don’t belong. Women then get uncomfortable in those situations. Their confidence wanes. Their confidence goes away because they don’t know how they’re going to be received in that situation.
| 21:15 | They then don’t project themselves with the confidence and authority that they need in order to leverage and keep that room activated, listening to what they have to say. And then they don’t feel that they can do it again. They back away from opportunities in order to get in front of a room. They back away from the opportunities to lead a team or to go out and sell to an attempt to get a $2 billion contract.
| 21:44 | They say, Well, I’m not the right person. Let’s have John do it. It’s okay. I don’t need to be the one in there. Let’s have Andy do it. Because that confidence and that imposter syndrome has taken over. So how do they get over that? What I coach women on is first they have to understand who they are.
| 22:07 | They have to understand when you take away all of the negative labels, all of the things that they’ve encountered, all of the challenges that they have overcome, I want them to get back to who they are as a person, as an individual, and what makes them engaged? What are they passionate about, right? Because the core of a woman’s power, I believe, comes from their absolute knowledge that they belong in any space where they are.
| 22:41 | Any space. It doesn’t matter if it’s at work. It doesn’t matter if it’s in their private life. It doesn’t matter if it’s a relationship. Women belong in any place, any space where they are at that moment because they bring absolute value to that situation. And so it’s first getting a woman to really understand the power that she brings, her experiences, her life, her education, all of that, she can bring that to bear in any situation, right?
| 23:14 | And so it’s first recognizing that her voice is powerful and strong, that her expertise is equal to anyone else in that room, and she is valid. Her opinions are valid, her experience is valid. And she would not have been invited into that space unless she was worthy, right. She is worthy of being in that space. And so then once you have that foundation, then the thought is, okay, no one can take that away.
| 23:47 | So, for example, for me, I’m a former Marine, right? I say former Marine, not ex Marine. But one thing we always say is no matter what has happened after that, that title always remains because I earned it. I earned that title. So I always have the right to call myself a Marine. And yes, it’s a little different, but it’s also similar.
| 24:13 | We earn our place and therefore no one should make us feel unworthy or invalidated by being in that space. It is a process. It is something that women have to go through. And whether you’re an attorney working in a large corporate organization or whether you’re a receptionist working in that same organization, you still have the absolute right and valid reason for being in the space that you are and no one should take you out of it.
| 24:46 | Yeah. And going back to what you said at the top of the podcast, that the empowerment piece. You belong in this moment, at this table with your voice making this decision, charting out the path that we’re going to go down. You belong. That is empowerment. And there’s a part of it that’s that self confidence. It’s overcoming the imposter syndrome, which is absolutely critical.
| 25:12 | It is then also recognizing that as I get stronger as a woman, as a business person, as a leader, then I can and I need to shape and control my own destiny, which is a paraphrase version of the definition of empowerment. So, yeah, you can start to see how all these things come together, where you’re increasing empowerment, you’re increasing confidence, increasing voice.
| 25:36 | And I’m sure there’s a snowball effect with that as well, that once women see that they do belong and should exercise disempowerment, that, hey, this feels good, let’s keep going, let’s do more. And then probably many become role models to others that are looking for that same pathway as well. I would absolutely say that there was a colleague I had many years ago who was a sales leader. She was the vice president of sales.
| 26:05 | And she was one that so many of the junior sales, women sales managers and others within the organization, they’ve looked to her because they viewed her as a strong, powerful, capable business leader. Not just a sales leader, but she was a business leader because she had a direct impact on the revenue coming into the company, on whether or not we met our sales goals, whether or not the company succeeded.
| 26:36 | And she was in charge of one of the most profitable sales pipelines within that organization. It was in the national security pipeline, all of the military agencies, three letter agencies, and you had this woman sales leader kicking butt every single day. That is empowerment. That is a vision, right? That is where others within the company wanted to be.
| 27:06 | And she was helped. But the important part is she was confident when she walked in a room, whether or not her knees were knocking and she was scared and palms were sweaty, no one saw it. No one saw it because when she walked in the room, she owned the room, she owned her presence, she owned why she was there. And she gave the younger generation, those who may not have achieved what she had achieved, someone that they could point to and say, I want to be like her.
| 27:39 | I want to do that. I want to be successful like her. And when she had a conversation and she walked into the room, people listened. People listened because she was able to exude that level of confidence and power and strength that everyone responded to, male or female. And that’s what I think is really when you’re looking at business leaders, women leaders within an organization, sales organizations especially, that can be a very difficult field.
| 28:15 | In order to get to the top level, you have to not only be confident in your sales knowledge and your ability to facilitate that deal with the client, but you have to also be able to recover. Right? There is a saying that if they fail fast, recover faster. You’ve probably heard a similar way of doing that in sales. You probably know this better than I do. Sales. You are failing succeeding, failing, succeeding over and over again.
| 28:46 | And it’s how you recover from that. How do you come back from that? And that can take potentially a hit, your confidence can take a hit on that. But it’s the personality of that salesperson that of their ability to recover and come back even stronger that continues to build their confidence and allows them to achieve even more and get succeed even greater. Completely agree with that.
| 29:12 | And having your story on selling to the government and how difficult that is, having sold to the US federal government, myself and the Department of Defense and PA hospitals and the visions and through the procurement apparatus, success there is hard to achieve. And for a woman to be able to do that and become the role model and to be that shining light within the organization is an incredibly motivating story.
| 29:39 | Having gone through some successes and many failures selling to the federal government as well, I think it’s a good segue to turn now to some advice. And we mapped out the challenges from the inyourface challenges that women have and some very old sort of systemic challenges to the subtle ones as well and sort of the implications of that. And there are two areas of advice I’d ask you to share with the audience.
| 30:08 | You started to touch on what women can do as they jump into business, as they progress in business. And my guess is as well that the advice that you’ll give is not only just for business pursuits, but it’s also throughout life’s journey because these things are applicable usually in all aspects of one’s life. So what can women do to navigate this business environment with some of these challenges we talked about? And what can women do if knocked down, show the resilience to get back up and get to that place of I belong?
| 30:42 | Well, the first thing I can think of is that for women, we have to trust and believe in ourselves. We have to have an infinite belief in what we can accomplish, whatever your industry, whatever your field, whatever your level within the corporate engine. Because without that belief in ourselves, we won’t show the confidence to other people and if we don’t believe in ourselves, then who will?
| 31:14 | If we can’t show confidence in our skills, why would we expect someone else to do it for us? And that’s where I think we have to start there. Women have to believe in themselves and what they are capable of doing. That’s number one. And I think number two is we have to stop apologizing for our success. Women sometimes can feel bad if they succeed to a certain level, right?
| 31:49 | Whether it’s I should be spending more time at home or should my family be home with my children if they have children, or I’m surpassing other family members. Sometimes women feel guilty for their success and they apologize for it. They minimize their accomplishments when they shouldn’t. Oh, I just sold a million dollar contract. It’s not a big deal.
| 32:18 | Well, yes, I was recognized as the best sales person in the Washington DC area, but it’s just a small thing, right? So it’s minimizing our accomplishments. It’s apologizing and making ourselves smaller when we should be shouting it out to the world what we’ve done, what we’ve accomplished, how amazing we are. But we don’t do that.
| 32:42 | And so I would say for the women out there listening, the young girls, the teenagers, shout out your accomplishments every opportunity you can. There is no just when you’ve accomplished something, because if you accomplished it, then no one else did what you did. So be proud of it. Showcase it.
| 33:05 | Tell everyone, even if you came in number one for an essay, shout it out to the world that you came in number one for writing an essay because you came in number one and there could have been hundreds of other people in there, but you were selected. So I think that’s a key component as well is really to stop apologizing for who we are and what we accomplish and be proud of those accomplishments.
| 33:34 | Because the more we believe in ourselves, number one, the more we stop apologizing for our success, number two. It then gets us to a point where we can step out into this world knowing as we go back to what I talked about before, knowing that we belong in the space that we’re in, we’re letting go of the baggage, we’re letting go of the negativity, we’re letting go of the expectations that others have placed on us, and we’re following through on our own expectations that we have for ourselves.
| 34:12 | And the more we can do that, the more we can encourage our own confidence and encourage our own belief and use that strength and power to propel us forward, then the better off we’re going to be. And so it may seem like fluff, it may seem like the soft things may seem like, but it’s not. Because no matter where you are, those three things will help you succeed in life.
| 34:41 | It will help you get to the next level. It will help you know that for example, if you’re going for that next level position, a woman is more likely to say, well, I’m not a fit. I only fit eight out of the ten parameters for this role. I’m not a good fit, I’m going to wait for something else. On the other hand, her male colleague will say, well, I fit eight out of ten.
| 35:11 | That’s good enough. I can learn the rest. Right? And so there is a very distinct difference between how women view themselves as successful and whether or not they’re ready to move to the next level and potentially their male colleagues. And so I say for women also is be bold. Take a step out on faith.
| 35:37 | Sometimes, if you don’t feel that you are 100% fit for something, really look at yourself and think about, can I learn it? Can I learn the rest? And you’re smart, you’re powerful, you’re strong, you’re capable, yeah, you can learn the rest. So go out for that job that maybe you’re not 100% fit for it. You’re only an 80% fit. Go for it because you don’t know until you try.
| 36:07 | And so be a little brave, be a little bold. And that experience also will increase your confidence because then you have to sell yourself, you have to sell your skills, you have to talk about what you’ve accomplished, you have to talk about what you’ve done. So the more you repeat it to yourself, the more you believe it, and it circles right back to number one, belief in yourself. And so those would be my highlights of where women can really start in order to progress themselves along that path.
| 36:40 | Yeah, it’s great advice and as you were talking, you mentioned it, but I was actually thinking of experiences I’ve had and my wife, who is a sales manager, hiring salespeople and having been through a lot of situations herself, and HR colleagues of mine in the past who have said to me that women will openly call out in promotional job interviews where they’re getting promoted, these are the things I’ve done.
| 37:10 | I haven’t done this, I haven’t done that, I haven’t done that. Maybe I need another year of experience and give me another year and then I’ll be ready. Whereas a male counterpart with less experience, less track record, who’s done even less than the woman, will say, I’ve done these things, and here’s how I would get after doing these other things. And so my advice to women is if you put your hand up for a job, one, you’re never going to meet all the requirements in any job description. There’s no one that fits everything perfectly.
| 37:40 | That person doesn’t exist, so don’t worry about that. Second, if someone approaches you with a challenge or an opportunity that you haven’t faced, be excited about that and share with them how you would approach solving that problem. Get yourself in the game. Don’t exclude yourself. That’s not your decision to make an interview it’s the manager’s decision. Either if they want to bring you forward to the next interview or if they want to hire you. But don’t deselect yourself. It’s the opposite. Empower yourself.
| 38:10 | Know that your competition for that job. They’re going to talk about how they’re going to figure out how to do those things they haven’t done before. So just talk about that and have a plan and do it better than them and you’re going to get that job. And people managers are wanting to hear how someone will step into an experience they haven’t had rather than step away and say, I just need more time. And women, I’ve seen this happen in interviews. I’ve done. And so I think your advice is so sound. You belong there. You’re talented enough to figure it out.
| 38:41 | Just paint that picture and have the confidence that you’re going to be heard. And if you’re not the right person for the job, don’t deselect yourself. Let them do it. And most likely you’re going to get that promotion, that next opportunity. I think that’s perfect. I think that’s perfect advice and guidance and I think that’s absolutely spot on. We have to it’s the confidence that really is the foundation for so much. And we have to take that lead sometimes.
| 39:10 | And sometimes women, as you say, we do, we self select royal week. We self select out of those opportunities. And I think we have to change that. We have to change that narrative. We have to change that approach. Our mindset needs to shift into a I can do this, I am qualified, I am talented, I can make this happen.
| 39:33 | Whether you’re in a corporate environment or whether you’re working for yourself in a separate business, we all have a little bit of that focus on how do we sell not only ourselves, but our skillset, our resources, our talent, and how do we bring that all to bear. And that confidence in ourselves is really what’s going to get us over the threshold. Absolutely. Last and final area of advice. We talked about advice for individual women.
| 40:03 | I belong have that confidence. Step out there and put all your cards on the table as well. Don’t think about yourself as needing more time. You are ready. That’s why you’ve been invited to the interview. You are ready. Talk about how you’re going to make it happen. In addition to that, male managers, business managers also need some advice. What would you advise? Male managers and also female managers, people, leaders in companies, what can they do?
| 40:33 | We’ll start with male managers. We’ll move over to female managers next. What can male managers do to become more attuned to and aware of the tone of the language, of the approach they take to promoting women, to empowering women? What would be your advice to the male management community out there in the business world? First bit of advice, and maybe this is the most important, is to take on the approach of best Idea wins.
| 41:05 | Best candidate wins. Remove the biases. Take away the labels that we often place on people. We place labels on people. People place labels on themselves, right? So let’s remove some of those labels that we place on people and look at the true essence of the value they bring to the organization. And sometimes it is a scenario where the mail manager may not realize that they have this bias.
| 41:38 | And so sometimes you have to take steps to shock your system. Maybe it’s taking out the names and only looking at the sales results and the numbers. Maybe it’s a rotational assignment that you can do for your team. Give everyone the same assignment, the same resources, the same access, and then you gauge the results simply based on the results, not on the person.
| 42:10 | And there’s a situation that I came across years ago that highlights this to the best way I can explain it. There was an employee who was trying to close a sales deal, and it was taken a long time. She wasn’t having good luck. The manager started to question whether or not she was going to be successful.
| 42:41 | It was a challenge. And that employee went out on I can’t recall the reason. I want to say she was out for a while and the manager took over her email and her account, right? But because of the structure, he could send on her behalf or he could send on his behalf. Okay. And he started sending emails to the client, and he was like, why am I not getting the response that I expected?
| 43:11 | Why is this so hard? Okay, you know what I realized? I’m actually sending it under her name. Let me send it under my name. Because you can change the from to himself or to the employee. So he changed the name to himself. And as soon as the email started coming from him, the entire tone changed.
| 43:37 | We were on the path of maybe helping that individual salesperson be successful someplace else because we weren’t understanding what was going on. Why wasn’t she selling that one change in the manager? And that gave him a perspective. But it wasn’t her sales skills that were the problem.
| 44:01 | It was the client perception of who they were getting the message from, when they were getting it from the woman’s sales manager. Everything was a problem. As soon as he stepped in as the manager, a male name came across that email. It was a totally different conversation. Now when you look at that and you say, well, the manager, he’s going into it and he’s like, well, my salesperson isn’t performing. Why aren’t they performing?
| 44:30 | And he’s judging based on the factors that make sense to him. But that perspective, that one situation changed his entire view of how to manage his team, how clients perceive salespeople, how they perceive women salespeople. And so he changed his entire management style so that clients actually knew. Right.
| 44:59 | It came to the point where, yes, he was involved to a certain degree, but he knew he had to give support to that female sales leader. And then we started to have more diversity in our not only in the sales team, but in the client base, because when you’re only dealing with male clients, they may not be as responsive to female sales leaders.
| 45:26 | And so as a part of our initiative, when this really started coming out, we asked also what were the diversity make ups of the clients that we were going after, who was at the table? Because then it gave him insight into maybe the challenges that the female sales leader was coming up against. And so that was an AHA moment for that manager. That was an AHA moment. Yeah. And it’s a great story for me as well.
| 45:57 | I never thought about performance being connected. Yes. And then serendipitously it was the ability to change the email allowed for this manager to see it. So how do you uncover that if you don’t have that moment? But that’s a part of it. And that’s, I think, for managers who are men managing diverse teams, men and women, take that next step. Ask that next question.
| 46:25 | Are there any other factors that might be leading to this underperformance? Let’s look into that. And I think your story is a great one to illustrate that it could be just the receptivity of male customers to a female sales leader. And that explains a lot. And, oh, by the way, as a business, as a team, we can coach and develop people to overcome that fantastic. That’s great. Yeah, that’s exactly right. That’s exactly right.
| 46:52 | It’s the understanding that not everything is going to to be a straight line between A to Z. As a male manager, you have to look at the diversity of your team and understand that if you bring on the right talent, if you go with the best candidate wins. Best idea wins. You train your folks to do the best that they can. You train your team, you know, they have the skill set to sell. If they’re still having challenges, don’t necessarily automatically think it’s because the person isn’t a good salesperson.
| 47:23 | Look at the other factors that may be coming into play and have conversations. Talk with your team, talk with the individuals to understand what their real challenges are and then help get them over that, help coach them. Or peel back the onion layers and see that maybe there’s a client issue, then maybe there’s something that’s out of that person’s hands. Absolutely.
| 47:48 | And then you mentioned earlier that women in business sometimes have to prove reprove and always almost outperform their male peer group in order to just stay even, which is diabolically unfair. And hopefully we make continued progress to overcome that together. What additional opportunities do women leaders have to promote the voices and increase the empowerment of their female colleagues or female teammates.
| 48:20 | So one thing that I’ve noticed over the years is be a mentor. It’s not that you’re showing favoritism, it’s not that you’re giving women an unfair advantage, but give them someone that can mentor them, someone that they can go to advice for, because there are times where maybe the woman sales leader or business leader doesn’t feel comfortable going to a male colleague to ask the hard questions, they don’t feel comfortable.
| 48:52 | But giving them an avenue where they can come to another woman who has made it, who has succeeded, where they can have a safe space to ask the hard questions about how they can better succeed in that industry, in that field, in that company. Be a mentor, have an open door, have an open ear, and be willing to give back, be willing to share, because, yes, you as a business leader, as a sales leader, may have had a little bit harder than someone else who’s coming up now, but let’s open the door.
| 49:26 | Let’s open the door wider for more women to walk through. Give them an avenue so that more of them can get over that threshold rather than serve as a blocker. And so that mentorship is actually key. I’ve seen that work very successfully in large and small organizations. And I think if more women were able to do that, it would actually keep and maintain more women within the sales field and the sales organization because they see a path for themselves.
| 49:58 | Great last and finally, I’d love to get you just to sort of think about the future, think about the art of the possible, what can be. And if you were to come back on the Sales Warrior Within podcast in ten years from now, where do you hope or where does your aspiration lead? What does the world look like for women, for empowerment, women in business, women in life? And what type of big, grand ideas and hopes do you have that hopefully will become truer sooner rather than later?
| 50:31 | But if you were to look forward ten years, what do you hope we accomplish? So what I hope to see is that there is less conversation of why women aren’t at the table, why they aren’t on more boards, why they aren’t in the C suite positions. I want less of that. I want it to be the norm. I want it to be again, I love the idea of the best idea wins, best candidate wins because you judge people based on their qualifications.
| 51:01 | And so for me, that’s where I want my ideal state would be is that more women are just naturally in those spaces, that it’s not uncommon when you look at the stats, that it’s not 3% of women in certain positions, it’s 40% of women, because it just has become the norm. Women are in spaces and places where they never have been before, and it’s no big deal no one questions it. No one pushes back.
| 51:31 | No one says, Why are they here? No one silences them at that table when they’re trying to share their ideas. That’s what I want. And it’s the numbers game, right? It’s a numbers game. I want the stats to reflect the progress. That’s what I want to see. Well, I’m going to have my two daughters. I’m going to ensure that they listen to this episode of The Sales Warrior Within. I’m motivated. They’re going to be motivated. They’re 17 and 16, and we talked about Stem earlier.
| 52:01 | My oldest daughter is a proud Stem young woman and is very proud of her math skills and is used to being one of the few women in the room. And so I’m going to tell her and remind her, you belong. Keep doing it. You belong. My other daughter is a competitive swimmer in high school and is starting her recruiting process for colleges. And I was just thinking about it, and I’ve seen it recently, I think on the anniversary of Title IX recently, that she will have an opportunity to swim at the next level because of all the hard work that women leaders did to open up college athletics and scholarships to more young women.
| 52:39 | And so you have a responsibility to make the most of that and then continue to open that door for future generations as well. So to your point that we see it in the statistics that the results are equal to the experience and that all women have an opportunity to flourish and to not be held back by some of these forces that we talked about. Lee Mariano, it’s been a treat to talk with you today to be inspired by you again.
| 53:08 | You can find Lee at https://alexidomcoach.com/ and also make sure you go and get her free guide, the Eight Factors for Unshakable Confidence on her Facebook page, and I will produce and share all of those links on the show notes to this episode. It’s been great having you. Thanks so much for joining the Sales Warrior Within podcast, lee thank you so much, Andy, for having me. I appreciate it. Thank you again to Lee Mariano for joining the Sales Warrior Within podcast. I’m inspired. I hope you are as well.
| 53:38 | Always remember you’re belong. My name is Andy Olen. This has been another episode of The Sales Warrior Within podcast, and as always, good selling, good leading, and good living.