Some women start writing their future stories very young. For Shawn Karol Sandy, her leadership and sales skills began to bloom in the third grade when she started wearing a suit to school one day a week and tried to hold meetings on the playground. “I didn’t know why I wanted a suit – just that I needed a suit. I had some important things to say and do. I wanted an audience to hear me and a group to lead.” Finding her voice and communicating her value has been a constant theme in her life; for this reason, it is clear that “selling” has always been her true calling.
Shawn founded The Selling Agency after thriving in a successful sales career where she created opportunities to work closely on building solutions for clients that quickly closed the gap on sales strategy and sales execution. The Selling Agency exists to help businesses and sales teams deeply differentiate their offers and go-to-market strategy so they can profoundly connect and compel customers to choose them—making SELLING their competitive advantage. “You can market until you’re blue in the face, but until you actually dedicate your time, resources, and talent to ‘selling’, you are at the mercy of your customers’ grip on the status quo and you’re vulnerable to your competitors out-selling you.”
Shawn’s NAWBO journey began shortly after she launched her firm and attended a meeting of the Memphis Chapter. After speaking at a luncheon and building relationships with many members, Shawn’s young business began to bloom, but there was a glaring hole in her client base. “The clients that gravitated to me, took a leap with me, and invested in building a sales program for their business were all MEN. I was struggling to get women to commit and invest in their business at the next level. This was incredibly frustrating, as promoting women and helping women find their voice has always been a driving force for me—even before I began my business. I needed to do something different to compel women to view ‘selling’ as non-negotiable in growing their business. I not only joined NAWBO, but I immediately took a seat on the Board as the Director of Programming. During my years as a NAWBO member, I have worked alongside some amazing women, and have given my time, talent, support, and resources. It has paid off for my business and NAWBO Memphis; our chapter’s membership has grown by 52% in the last year and a half, and in that same period of time, my business has grown tremendously. I credit much of that growth to clients I met through NAWBO Memphis.”
In 2015 the NAWBO Memphis Board unanimously voted to create the NAWBO Memphis Women’s Business Accelerator. Shawn paired with Past-President Kim Heathcott, of Clarion Security—Memphis’s largest woman-owned business employer—to lead the charge. The accelerator, a 6-month program structured for women to address the specific strategy, finance, sales, marketing, and leadership challenges attracted 20 women, including new and existing members. Participants gained strategic tools, resources, and support to scale their business, add jobs, and increase revenue. This year’s Accelerator registration is nearly full and drawing new members to NAWBO again as well.
As a woman consultant, advisor, and driver, Shawn places a high value on her relationships in WSP and NAWBO for counsel, support, guidance, or just to listen. “You can’t just join an organization, you have to find your tribe of advisors and be engaged, be present, be deeply connected to those people. Going it alone stinks and frankly, you only get as far as your own experiences and expertise can take you. That’s why I’m constantly serving my tribe and recruiting new members.”
To learn more about Shawn’s work and how The Selling Agency serves its clients, please visit www.TheSellingAgency.com.