Women in sales
A balanced sales team = success
The presence of women in sales is growing. I am lucky enough to work alongside a diverse and successful sales team, of which 60% is female.
Research Runner puts its success down to the diversity of its team and the skills that each member brings to the business.
An all female or male team brings along its own problems, over competitiveness, gossip, ladish/ladette behaviour.
A productive team will work together and learn from each other, a good balance of the sexes is key to the success sales team.
The hot topic of the last twelve months raises issues and concerns over the equality of men and women within the workplace.
Highlighting the lack of representation of women in the SAS and armed forces and their ability to compete with male applicants has recently been up for debate.
The past couple of decades has seen an increase in women becoming more career focused. Breaking through the stereotypes that once governed their abilities to climb the ranks.
There is still a way to go and some sectors are still very male dominated.
A glimpse at the figures
A LinkedIn report suggest that women represent 41% of the workforce and increase of 4% between 2004-14. More alarmingly, the percentage of women in the sales industry has only increased by three percent, from 36% to 39% between 2004-14.
Moving on from stereo types
There is a need to eliminate negative, pre-conceived ideas about the sales industry so as to open the doors for women and make it a more attractive profession.
“I was attracted to the sales profession as I love to talk and feel comfortable on the phone. It is rewarding when you sell, the feeling once you have closed a sale is amazing.” – Natasha, Research Runner – Business Development Executive
The industry is desperately trying to move on from the old image of men in flash suits and fast cars, who say anything to seal a deal. Building trust, transparency and relationships with prospects is now the main focus for the industry, a skill women excel at.
Getting the balance right
Don’t worry guys, it’s not about putting you down, or taking over.
It’s just about getting the balance right and recognising the benefits of working in a more diverse environment and what skills each can bring to the table.
Men have been very successful in sales and still are, but we can’t ignore the shift, so we need to embrace it. Here’s why.
What makes women stand out?
Like it or not there are differences between the two sexes, but that is not to say that each cannot offer a variety different skills and attributes that could be a positive in any industry.
In order to understand your target audience it is important to be able to listen to what the prospect wants and pin point their needs.
It is reported that women have the ability to listen more than men and are less likely to interrupt the prospect.
The natural, nurturing nature that women exhibit, means that they are able to understand clients’ needs and are able to reassure hesitant prospects and distinguish any worries.
It is reported that women have a much higher level of emotional intelligence, making it easier to read their audience.
Working hand in hand with listening, building a relationship is all about listening to your partner/client, understanding what their needs are and getting to the route of the problem.
“Woman can come across more friendly and find it easier the strike up initial conversations than men. This helps to build the early rapport that is needed particularly when cold calling.” Nick – Research Runner, Global Sales Director
It is important to put the prospect at ease, making them feel safe and building a relationship based on transparency and trust.
“Women in sales tend to ask more about the prospect and show an interest in day-to-day issues on the phone, building a rapport, however men often have a more direct approach. – Natasha, Research Runner – Business Development Executive
When someone talks too much, it can often mean that they are not listening and that the focus is just on the end result – getting the lead.
Women are good at nurturing new members of staff and have a good ability of pin point struggling employees and will often, not always, offer help and advice.
Ability to adapt : Often women who work in sales are extremely determined and ooze confidence. Adverse to working in a very male dominated environment they are able to handle themselves.
“Drive, passion, owning my own success is what attracted me to sales.” Kay, Research Runner – Business Development Executive
The sales environment is no place for shrinking violets, male or female. A woman’s ability to adapt to this ladish environment whilst at the same time listen and exercise empathy with clients is key to their success.
Expelling the myths
Multi-tasking: It’s been a long-standing joke that men cannot multitask, but is there science behind the saying?
Research has shown that there is very little, if any, difference in the ability to multi-task activities of everyday life. Source: HBR 2018, https://hbr.org/2018/09/research-women-and-men-are-equally-bad-at-multitasking
It may be that women appear to be able to multi-task, because they have to in order to work, raise a family, look after the home etc.
Social conditioning over the centuries has become ingrained into the sexes and it may just be that men have never really had to tap into to their multi-tasking abilities until recently.
With the increase of more stay at home dads and women being the bread winners, is now starting to close the gap between the difference in ability to multi-task.
“I get the same response from both female and male prospects.”– Natasha, Research Runner – Business Development Executive
The sales industry welcomes the increase of women and celebrates their success. This shift in balance will assist the industry in loosing its tarred reputation and will increase trust within the profession.
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