Jill Konrath Bernadette McClellandTen years ago, I made the conscious decision to leave the corporate world where I held a very senior sales role for a company I was extremely proud to work for, a company I had progressed up the ladder over a 15 year period and a company I felt was home.

It was definitely a blokes world and the women who lasted did so because they were able to adapt to a man’s way of thinking, reacting and behaving. It had its great times and for a woman, it also had it’s not so great times. And it was in those latter moments I decided it was time for me to leave and do my own thing.

Doing my own thing lasted for two years until the routine life of certainty beckoned and I settled for a job again. However, in those two years, I connected with a woman who was in a similar stage of her career as myself – we were both Xerox girls – me in Australia and her in the USA.  We subscribed to each other’s newsletters and corresponded fleetingly with the advent of the Internet.

Not long after I backed away from the entrepreneurial world and through a series of life events, found myself some ten years later back at this same point. Wanting to do my own thing again – however this time I had a little more leverage, a real reason to stick at it through thick and thin.

And in making this decision, it seemed appropriate to revisit some of those old names ‘to see what they were doing now’ and wow! this one woman was certainly rocking the world of B2B sales. Ten years can make a big difference when we either decide to hang in there or when we decide to give up.

That woman was, and is, Jill Konrath – author of ‘Selling to Big Companies, SNAP Selling and now the latest release AGILE Selling – a real role model and mentor.

Jill and I reconnected 3 years ago and the first words on her email to me after a ten year break were ‘What ever happened to you?’  She echoed that message over dinner one night also, validating my lack of self-confidence by sharing how she use to think my  ‘stuff was good’.

After that reconnect, she promptly invited me to a conference that the female leaders in the B2B sales field were having in Boston. I attended with around 22 woman from Canada and North America. The following year it was Minneapolis, St Paul where slightly more women attended and this year it is in Seattle where around 32 women will congregate and share ideas on how to make the sales profession a more authentic, real and results focussed environment. Balancing that masculine energy (which is necessary), with that feminine energy (which is equally so necessary), is an important differentiator for businesses today.

The Sales Shebang®, as we are called, is a community of women who specialize in helping businesses grow their revenues, by speaking on conference stages, training  in organisations classrooms and coaching sales leaders and salespeople in confidence, because we believe a balance is necessary to achieve the results that matter the most.

My mission is to lift the profile of the sales profession here in Australia with the businesses, teams and individuals I work with. Because as I see it – salespeople are the good guys – and girls!

So my message here is to never, ever give up on something you feel passionate about. When you do what you were meant to do, you are on purpose and when you are on purpose you will give it your all – that is the value you provide and the missing piece many of your clients do not see from your competition, yet expect to see.

If you are someone working for yourself,  ‘doing your own thing’ can be extremely challenging in those moments where there may be big gaps between pay packets, lonely if you are a social butterfly like myself, uncertain when you don’t have a manager to run something past or a colleague sitting next to you – yet at the same time it is extremely rewarding, financially lucrative and the best personal development program on the planet so, to you personally – continue to dream big.

Be Bold and Brilliant!

Bernadette McClelland is a leader in B2B sales approaches that work, conversations that drive value and outcomes that deliver the results that matter the most. Visit bernadettemcclelland.com

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