Instant Impact Podcast Episode 12: Dancing on the Glass Ceiling with Cynthia Barnes
Welcome back to Instant Impact with Elyse Archer! Today, Elyse has a conversation with Cynthia Barnes, founder of the National Association of Women Sale Professionals (NAWSP). Cynthia has built an enormous community in an incredibly short amount of time. She grew her brand from a single meetup chapter in Detroit to over 13,000 members in just two years. She cut her daily sales calls from 125 a day to only 12 a day and quadrupled her revenue. She shares how she did this and gives us insight into the mentality it takes to foster a brand.
Cynthia first shares her story—she’s been in sales since Girl Scout cookies were only $1.50 a box. She remembers her father giving her some valuable advice: she already has two strikes against her—she’s black and she’s a woman. That meant she would have to work twice as hard to get half as recognized. Her father told her there are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who wait for things to happen, and those who wonder what happened. When Cynthia was given two sheets to fill selling cookies, she decided she then she would be someone who made things happen.
In 2016, Cynthia left her job to follow her passion for helping women reach the top. She explains that traditional sales training was made by men, for men. She wanted to change that. Cynthia talks to Elyse about some primary differences between men and women in sales. Women, she says, are inherently great at relationship building. Where they could use help, she continues, is building strength in their presence and confidence. Elyse mentions that there seemed to be an internalization of this negative language at a recent meet up she attended. At some point, these women were knocked down. Cynthia adds that part of what she does is helping women overcome imposter syndrome—they are there for a reason. Cynthia wanted to build a community that lifts women in a way that works for women. This meant following intuition and using the plethora of strengths women have to reach the top 1%.
Elyse and Cynthia discuss what it took to establish such a thriving community. Cynthia says sales training and coaching is secondary, what we need is someone who gets us—someone who understands. Many of NAWSP meetups are fireside chats where women can plug-in. She developed the NAWSP App so women can get the support they desire anytime, anywhere, and join a sisterhood of like-minded individuals. This happened, though, almost entirely through LinkedIn.
Cynthia is LinkedIn for Sales Blackbelt certified. This means she successfully completed a program on how to leverage LinkedIn for sales. This is when she was really able to boost her revenue and decrease the number of cold calls she was making. The first step, Cynthia shares, is having a business development profile. Most profiles on LinkedIn are job-seeking and occasionally a branding profile, but a business development profile allows you to attract a targeted market and close sales.
It’s important, Cynthia says, to include SEO keywords in your profile so you pop up on Google’s first page when the service you provide is searched for. After that, it's up to you to use the tools LinkedIn provides to target a market with granularity and specificity to connect with. Once a relationship is established, you can move the conversation off LinkedIn and move through the sales process.
Elyse mentions the different approaches to making relationships. There is a grinding mentality, where you play the number’s game, making hundreds of calls a day, and there is a relationship-driven mentality, which can sometimes be too passive. Cynthia mentions that time is precious—the goal is to be as effective and as efficient as possible. She suggests LinkedIn’s Sale Navigator, where you can search for specific roles, titles, etc. within companies. The program also sends you an email of targeted clients and tells you how many prospects you have. Cynthia says this is a massive help when it comes to narrowing down your focus.
Speaking of focus, Cynthia talks about how she brands herself. She wants to find what she can do that no one else in her field can. Finding a niche is essential, but more importantly, staying true and focused on that niche is vital. She explains that finding where your passion lies is key in keeping to your brand, you don’t want the water to get muddy.
What you’ll learn in this podcast
In today’s podcast, you’ll learn what it takes to build a brand effectively and efficiently. Cynthia offers key tips on how to stay true to your brand and stay the course. She tells us how to make LinkedIn work for you, and how she used it to fuel her passion for lifting women up to the highest possible degree. Cynthia is dedicated to helping women dance on the glass ceiling, and she shows us how she does it.
Connect with Cynthia on LinkedIn (but be sure to personalize the invitation!)
Check out NAWSP.org to join and for more information.