What tips do you have to winning around suppliers and customers who are deterred by my age (I’m just 24)? Occasionally, attitudes can be quite frustrating. Is there anything I can do to not make it an issue?
I completely understand where you are coming from. When I started I was 22 and was one of the only women braving a male dominated industry.
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These two factors didn’t exactly make for an easy entrance into the industry.
To be completely honest with you, I think age is only as much of an issue as you make it. Age is not a barrier to your ability, nor a measure of it.
In my opinion it’s all about confidence. If you are able to confidently communicate your products or services to your customers then your age shouldn’t play a part in their decision to use your services.
Unfortunately there will always be a discouraging ageist or two who will try to make you feel uncomfortable.
In these situations it’s crucial that you remain confident in yourself and the product or service which you are offering. The first impression you give people is what they will take away from the situation.
When I first started none of my suppliers would take me seriously, it was very discouraging. But it made me realise the importance of building solid relationships.
I think as long as you can communicate what you want from your supplier and you continue to present yourself professionally, your age won’t play a factor.
Don’t shy away from your age. If you get the chance go and meet your key suppliers, introduce yourself and start building relationships.
In terms of winning around customers, if you have a quality product or service and you are able to sell it with conviction then you have nothing to worry about.
If you are afraid that your customer won’t be able to relate to you because of your age, then bring along an older colleague to soothe their concerns. If you don’t have staff yet then find an older mentor.
At least you are guaranteed that this problem will pass – you won’t be 24 forever so hang in there, be confident and don’t see it an obstacle because it’s definitely not.
Use it as a competitive advantage over some of your older less tech-savvy competitors.