I am a big believer that all young girl should gain experience in sales. Whether it’s their own lemonade stand, an organized activity or helping their Mom or Dad with their own business, there are key skills that your young daughter/mentee can gain which would make a HUGE difference in her eventual career path.
Check out my first article and then return to this page.
She’ll learn how to negotiate a higher salary
Ever read a report on the pay inequality between men and women in the workplace?
There are a ton of theories and reasons. Mind you – it doesn’t matter if you go to the best schools or work in female dominated industries. It is easy for women to wind up in this category.
One of the common reasons cited is that women don’t ask. They feel as long as they work their butt off and show their worth – they will be top of mind when it comes time for the promotion, opportunity and raises.
But that’s not how it works. You have put in both hard work AND have the ability to sell what value you’ve brought to the company. If you are not willing to risk having this conversation – you might get passed over. Again. And again.
Let me share an example:
I have taught many workshops on youth entrepreneurship. And it never fails – in a room with an even number of boys and girls – if I ask a question that no one knows the answer to, the boys will be the first to be willing to take the risk and answer it. Regardless of age.
Because they are not afraid to brainstorm out loud and even fall flat on their face and embarrass themselves in front of their peers.
Sure I might laugh at the response. Or worse their peers might laugh.
But generally, boys are willing to take that risk and answer to the best of their ability. It’s how our society conditions youn people – especially when they are in middle school. Girls often don’t feel comfortable taking the risk.
And while I see more and more girls playing team sports and being socialized to identify with both their male and female worldviews – it still is not the norm. Because put them in an environment where they don’t know everyone…and the tendency is that the boys will be willing to raise their hands first. The girls in the room will often hold back and wait to see what is said. They respond only after several wrong responses have been given. When they have had time to think about it.
Now I’m not saying that the first answer is always right. And I’m definitely not saying that boys have it figured and girls should be more like boys.
But you have to think about what happens when a guest speaker comes into this setting, asks a question, has only boys raise their hand…and has the opportunity to nominate someone for a prize.
Who do you think will be top of mind?
So I just want girls to start getting more comfortable with this concept . They need to be able to demonstrate you are willing to think quick on your feet and deal with the fire – even if you don’t get the right answer. With it comes top of mind remembrance.
And I’m sure you’ve seen this happen in professional environments. Organize a meeting and the men are often the first ones willing to share an answer or brainstorm out loud. Yes, there are risks for doing this. But there are also rewards. The leader often remembers your name and you will become top of mind. And yes, it definitely shows up when it’s time for promotions and advancements.
So just keep in mind that getting practice in selling will come with practice in negotiating, stepping out first, taking the risk and speaking up. These are key skills that young girls need to learn that can only aid their chances at promotions and higher salaries when they are in the work world.
Share your thoughts below!