When you think of the perfect salesperson, you probably picture a man. You know the one, he’s at your front door with a smarmy smile, darting eyes, and slick pitch about why you NEED to buy what he’s selling.
Is that just me?
Okay, so I know I’m stereotyping, but the fact is that selling has always been a male-dominated industry. After all, the term ‘salesman’ is still used far more frequently than ‘salesperson’.
But would it shock you to learn that women are actually far more suited for sales positions than men?
Well, it’s true.
Women only hold around 29% of rep positions, and 26% of sales management positions industrywide, yet still tend to outsell their male counterparts. In fact, a 2019 study by Xactly found that on average 86% of women achieved their sales quota, compared to 78% of men. All the signs point to women simply being better at selling than men – made even more obvious by the huge disparity between men and women in these positions.
Why is this? Aren’t they all trained the same way? And aren’t they all reading from the same branded company sales strategy?
The answer lies in personality traits and what differentiates men from women.
Selling is traditionally seen as a masculine role. To be a salesperson you need an unflappable confidence, the ability to think quickly, and the drive to succeed no matter what.To be a salesperson you need an unflappable confidence, the ability to think quickly, and the drive to succeed no matter what. #businesswomen Click To Tweet
And these traits are traditionally considered very masculine, so naturally a man would be far better at selling right?
While all of these traits are important in selling, they are not the only things that make a great seller. To be a successful salesperson you have to be able to nurture relationships and act with empathy and authenticity. And these are not traits that come naturally to most men – they are feminine in nature.
Women have different capabilities than men, and are more likely to move away from the sales script while selling, forming a real connection with their customers.
All the data points to one thing – Women are breaking the rules of conventional selling, and taking the risks and giving the attention necessary for really getting in touch with prospects.Women are breaking the rules of conventional selling, and taking the risks and giving the attention necessary for really getting in touch with prospects. #womeninbusiness Click To Tweet
Some Key Reasons Why Women Make Great Sellers
Nobody likes to be talked at, so the ability to listen is essential to selling. Some research suggests that when selling, women spend around 80 percent of the time listening and only 20 percent of the time talking. However, another study would suggest that men are actually more silent than women during sales calls.
So if men listen more, why do they have a harder time closing the deal?
Sure, women talk more, but it’s also a psychological fact that they can process what’s being said more efficiently and effectively than their male counterparts. Women are taught from a young age to pay attention to what others say, while men are taught to speak rather than listen. But you can’t just listen and respond, instead you need to listen to understand what they are really saying. This means that you absorb what the customer is saying, and can more readily respond with customised solutions.
It has also been suggested that women pay closer attention to body language than men. This can be a key asset when selling. Our words only make up part of our conversations, and you can learn a lot about how someone is feeling by studying their body language and non-verbal cues.
Women are better at picking up and understanding body language such as posture, vocal tone, hand gestures, and eye contact. Body language is an effective way to gain a deeper understanding of your customers interests and concerns. And these subtle signs can help you understand what they do and don’t like, and how receptive they are to your pitch.Body language is an effective way to gain a deeper understanding of your customers interests and concerns. #businesstips #femaleentrepreneurs Click To Tweet
Men are more prone to reply to a yes/no answer with trailing language that is unfocussed and unlikely to directly answer the original question. They are less likely to try and connect with their customers on a deeper level or puzzle out the emotions behind their actions. Women, on the other hand, are generally more empathetic than their male counterparts. They are more skilled at staying attentive to the question at hand, giving targeted answers, and effectively communicating with their customers.
Sure, it might take a woman a bit longer to close the sale, but that’s often because she’s keeping the customer on the line, making sure their needs are being met throughout the sales funnel, in order to eventually close that sale. Women in sales positions are on average about 11% more likely to close a sale than their male counterparts. Thanks to her natural likelihood of exercising a higher level of patience, she will experience a greater level of success.
Women are seen as less threatening than men. Call it prejudice, but this is the way our society has taught us to view the sexes. For this reason, women especially are more likely to hear out another woman. Maybe they had been bullied into a sale by a man in the past? Maybe they feel intimidated by men, even if there’s no reason to feel that way. No matter the reason, saleswomen have better success in breaking through barriers and opening minds.
Attention to Detail
When a customer drops a leading phrase, or when that same consumer uses an unconventional or unexpected word, or shows body language that is uncomfortable… a female salesperson will ask herself why and then gather more details to not only say the right things, but help that prospect overcome the misgivings he or she has just hinted to. These are things that the male mind is likely to overlook. Customers appreciate good attention to detail and will be more receptive to a well thought out, focused sales pitch.Customers appreciate good attention to detail and will be more receptive to a well thought out, focused sales pitch. #sellingtips #womeninbusiness #fempire Click To Tweet
People don’t hate being sold to – they hate being sold to poorly.
Success as a salesperson is an individual thing. Each person has natural strengths, and will put them to use for different results. The ability to sell is not something that you’re born with, it’s something you get better at with time and experience.
Women may be well suited to selling, but that doesn’t mean you’ll pick it up straightaway.
However, we can all learn from the gifts that women bring to our salesforces. No matter your gender, you can work to develop patience, listening skills and more.
Selling is an art form – it just takes practice.
If you’re interested in selling and want to learn more about selling not only your business but yourself, read our article How to Sell Yourself (in Order to Sell a Service).
If you liked this article, or have any tips on selling, please leave a comment below! xox
Marnie LeFevre is the Founder of Fempire. She is also a #1 bestselling author and marketing expert who has made it her mission to support women to achieve the success they deserve and to lead with confidence. She believes women can achieve anything with the right support and a sisterhood to back them up.