“You’re a tour guide on the process, not trying to pull a cat on a leash.” I laughed out loud when sales coach and author Kim Orlesky said that to me.
Orlesky was talking about closing a sale in the business world, but she just as easily could have been talking about being a mom. Being a mother and an entrepreneur are not dissimilar, it turns out. A mompreneur's purpose is aligned with being a parent.
For mompreneurs—who balance business, parenting, trying to make money and staying genuine—the above statement is spot on. Many women struggle with the balancing act of authenticity and sales, especially now that so much of their business takes place online. With the proliferation of social media, the lines between parenting, posting, and profits have become crossed. Now, a mompreneur’s Facebook might be equal parts pictures of her children, chatting with her own friends, and establishing herself as a wellness expert with a company like USANA or Rodan + Fields.
The Untapped Power of Empathy
Mompreneurs, however, already have a huge asset for their business and sales success! They just need to tap into it and practice.
Empathy should be on the top of every mom entrepreneur’s list. With children, yes. And also with work.
The other day I logged on to my own Facebook and had to roll my eyes at how nearly half of my notifications came from mompreneurs attempting to connect with me or a group as prospective clients. I cannot fault them! Each woman seems to genuinely care about the people she’s connecting to; she obviously is putting in hard work to have her career; and I know she is balancing the pressures of home life. Still, scrolling through the posts they all turned into a wash of the same direct sales technique.
It struck me that what might be missing is exactly what Orlesky was talking about, and the same thing we often discuss here at Heartmanity—empathy, a vital piece of emotional intelligence.
Mothers get empathy, for the most part.
As writer Laura Goode wrote in The Unwanted Empathy of Motherhood:
“The scope of maternal empathy can feel almost impossibly wide: As a new traveler on one of the most universal highways of the human experience, I am now equipped with the ability to relate not just to my child, but to a near-infinite network of fellow parents. Like parenthood itself, this uninvited empathy is beautiful, revelatory, overwhelming, and inconvenient.”
I would add that a mother’s empathy is also an asset in her work and career.
Empathy largely means the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes; to feel with them.
When a mompreneur approaches sales—especially online—with a direct sales pitch right off the bat, essentially a social media cold call, it feels like a “cat on a leash.”
Instead, what happens when we apply authentic empathy to the same situation. Instead of focusing too hard on a post that will pull people in, an empathetic mompreneur’s focus can shift to actually connecting with her prospect. Authenticity, unconditional positive regard, empathy, and reflection are components of emotional intelligence needed by every mompreneur and business owner.
What is your potential client thinking? Feeling? What are her dreams, goals, and ambitions?
Download The Top Focuses of Successful Mompreneurs here.
Listen to your prospective clients
Active listening, whether with a client or a child, relies on all the senses: breathing, emotional connection, and listening to what's not being said. This is definitely harder on the internet, where most mompreneurs are positioning themselves, but the good news is they already have practice being a mom.
Women who work from home tend to have a lot of experience with people and relationships, all the empathy (or noticeable lack of) that comes with them.
From a 2018 study, Entrepreneur Magazine wrote that fifty-seven percent of the mompreneurs are 40 years old or older. Most are married, with 79 percent of female respondents saying they have a spouse. Seventy-one percent of them are the primary childcare provider.
That averages out to a lot of personal experience to pull from.
Increase Authenticity to Boost Sales
Coming back to the idea that “you’re a tour guide on the process, not trying to pull a cat on a leash,” empathy seems like the perfect answer to my Facebook feed. For mompreneurs trying to build a following and a career, yelling sales pitches into the echo-chamber of the internet gets old fast. The solution here, like with home life, may be a big dose of feeling into the experience of another.
Tapping into maternal emotional intelligence is not counterproductive to business. Feeling is not separate from success. In fact, empathy may just be the solution that a mompreneur needs for her balancing act of business, authentic sales and family life. Finding a life-work balance is a daily focus.