After recently attending the Women Sales Pros Session, hosted by sales guru and trainer, Lori Richardson, I was inspired to write a blog post on the topic of Women in Sales.
When you picture most (or all) of the cult sales movies, the main character is always a sales guy. And the qualities most people attribute to salespeople are more typically associate with these leading male roles. Unfortunately these stereotypical characters aren’t normally what wins you deals, and probably are giving the sales guys out there a bad reputation.
Not only do we need to change these stereotypes, but we also need to recognize that many of the top performing salespeople are female. And there’s a reason for that. The qualities you need to close more sales, are gender neutral and all focus on relationship building. It’s not a man versus woman thing, but rather whomever is better at building genuine rapport and delivering what the customer needs.
So I thought about the women in sales that I know, and what makes them so successful. Here are the seven things the female sales leaders around me all have in common that are helping them crush their goals:
1. They Listen to their Customers’ Needs
Being a good listener is a crucial component to success in sales. If you spend all of your time talking, you’ll never know what your customer actually needs. According to research on the differences between male and female sales techniques, women in sales actually spend less time talking, and interrupt their prospects less than men. This is one thing that does seem divided by gender, and gives women the edge.
In fact, Barbara Giamanco, host of the Conversations with Women in Sales podcast, recently mentioned how the Salesforce’s State of Sales report noted that 83% of buyers want to work with salespeople “focused on helping achieve their company’s needs, not just making a quick sale.” She said that women often excel at sales because “they tend to be more naturally nurturing, collaborative and adept at listening and responding to buyers needs first.”
2. They’re Great at Building Relationships
If you are a good listener, than you are probably hearing what your customer needs and have an easier time at building relationships with your prospects. Salespeople hitting their goals often aim to make genuine connections with their prospects, and are interested in the details of a person’s life and story. People like the feeling of being cared about, and prospects are no exception.
3. They Understand the Benefits of Mentorship
Do you have a sales mentor? Well you should! When I asked most of females in sales roles that I know, they said that they either have a mentor or are one themselves. It’s important to not only have a external person you can learn, share and grow from, but also to have an internal champion that you know has your back, and vice versa.
4. They Have High Levels of Emotional Intelligence
Women generally score higher on tests of emotional intelligence, and particularly on “emotional empathy,” or feeling what the other person feels. The best salespeople are great at reading their audience, and know exactly how to tailor the conversation based on signals their prospect is giving off.
5. They are Able to Overcome Adversity
The sales floor can feel like a bit of an “Old-Boys Club.” Women in the sales are used to proving themselves, time and time again. So, when they get a prospect who is hesitant to buy, they aren’t afraid to keep trying. Persistence pays off in sales, and being able to push past the “no” and preserve are qualities that will make you successful.
6. They Embrace their Selling Style
Although I’m hesitant to categorize selling styles as male versus female, I will say that the women I know do sell differently. It’s good to have diverse selling styles on a sales team, so embrace your differences to give yourself an advantage. Focus on what you’re good at, trust yourself, and that confidence will shine through and help you close more prospects.
As stated by Lori Richardson herself, women “have been raised as nurturers we tend to (not always, but most often) have strong communication skills, great listening skills, and large amounts of empathy – all which make for a foundation as a great modern seller.”
7. They Close More Deals
Studies have found that women actually have a higher overall win-rate than men. For example, Gong.io found in a study of 30,469 sales calls that women actually were 11% more likely to close a deal. In sales, success is measured on the number of deals you close. And the women I know are kicking some serious butt! A few years ago we ran a competition for our Spiro users, and gave away $5,000 to the person who closed the most deals in a 6 month period. Our winner was legendary closer, Heidi Brown, who not won, but left her competition in the dust by closing 383 deals in ½ a year! Now that’s a great example for all successful women in sales!