Erika Tebbens is a kick-ass female business consultant who brings entrepreneurs to the next level.
We chat about networking, following through and how to sell with integrity.
The Importance of In-Person Networking
Erika says that there was a time that she felt she was at a deficit because many other businesses had been online for years. “But I realized now looking back that my In-person, real world business experience actually helped tremendously.”
Starting her first job at 15, Erika worked at a tuxedo sales and rental store in Phoenix, Arizona. Even though selling formal wear wasn’t her gig, she’s glad for the experience as it gave her good sales experience. “We really learned to upsell added value to the consumer.”
She then moved to become store manager for Calvin Klein. With the Seattle store being the fifth highest volume store in the country with a team of over 40 people, Erika was able to add to her original sales skills and take them to the next level. “Not only did I have to sell, I had to teach other people how to do it really, really well.”
Erika moved on running sales for an organic farm, teaching, hiring training. Through this experience, she met a friend who took her into becoming a strategic coach.
Selling as a Freelancer
“In entrepreneurship, my gateway drug was freelancing. And I used to have a weird relationship with it.” In direct sales, they give a realistic expectation of what is required of you, and there are more traditional sales building skills. “When you’re in a direct sales company, literally every other consultant is your competition. You sell the exact same things at the exact same price. You have the same promotional periods for sales and specials.”
Erika notes that the difference between you and other sales peeps is your unique experience with people. She became the bag lady, creating her brand, and doubled down on making sure that anyone she contacted would have a great client experience.
Making Connections to Make Sales
I noticed the most important aspect of coaching and online business, in general, is the lack of people making an effort to make connections. No one is teaching coaches how to sell.
I’m finding that although people have been trained on how to do inbound closing but nothing else. Do you know how to prospect, do you know how to fill your pipeline? Do you know how to handle objections? Do you know how to close? Do you know how to follow up? The answer is usually no. Then you’re not making sales; you’re taking orders. You need a product that you can sell every single damn day, regardless of what is going on, along with an automated marketing system.
Giving Value Away
Give value, but if you want to get paid and have a viable business, you must embrace the people you serve. You are amazing, and the people you are speaking to will value your service. This means allowing them to take advantage of an opportunity they are a good fit for and help them.
Coffee Chats to Talk Business
So many women enjoy live coffee chats because it’s an easy, low-key way to talk about business. I’ve been in lots of coffee chats where I take control of the situation to focus our talk on how to make money, get referrals, or whatever the topic is at hand for that session. So many women don’t focus on relationship building because many of them don’t want to be pushy or seen as high pressure.
Why You Want Feedback on Your Product
Erika is very adamant about doing what you do and getting feedback after your sale. Make sure to get concrete feedback from other people to take that and repurpose it to showcase to other new people. You can also highlight why you might be the perfect person for them.
Erika says, “One of the things you can do that builds confidence is if you do the things that you say you’re going to do, even outside of your business and outside of sales. If you say you’re going to do something, do it, because then that shows yourself that you can trust yourself.” The integrity piece is the secret sauce for anyone in business. Having integrity and congruence with yourself will build confidence. She comments on her level of confidence, “Everybody’s always asking, how did you get so confident? I do the shit I say, I’m going to do, that’s it. I just showed myself that I can trust myself. ”
Confidently show up and say, ‘When you learn from me, this will be the outcome. If you do the work or hire me to do the work, this will be the outcome and not try to sell people on like a million other things you have no control over the outcome.’