Women In Sales and What Men Can Learn From Them

I so love this topic! At 62 years young I grew up watching Ozzie & Harriet, Father Knows Best and a host of other 50’s sit-coms. And, of course, Pleasantville is one of my top 10 movies. Women’s transition from the kitchen to the boardroom has been painfully slow. Too slow! That trek has been influenced by the media, the gene pool, cost-of-living and the attitudes of many, many cantankerous, old, curmudgeons who just couldn’t stand seeing a female in any business environment. The poor schmucks just never really caught on to the fact that women have a lot to teach men about how to run a business, how to start a business and how to sell.

Let’s take a trip back in the Schaber time capsule. It was 1974 and I was selling pharmaceuticals. In the vernacular of the time I was a “detail man”. (I still hate that phrase!) I stopped off to eat some lunch and in front of me waiting was a woman with a detail bag. We had lunch together and talked about all the usual things-family, job, Mpls. etc. She said that she was a single mom with three kids. I’ll never forget the encounter because I thought at the time that here was a lady who was really breaking ground, to say nothing of the company that hired her. She was the first woman I had seen in sales.

That was only the first of many, many females I have met during my business career. As a sales manager I hired many sales women. During the time that I hired and worked with women I have found that they:

1. Are better listeners than men. (Men have what I call the “leaky faucet syndrome.” This means that when they see a problem they fix it. This transfers over to sales because when men hear a prospect state a problem they immediately want to fix the problem with features and benefits, ergo, they talk.)

2. Are better organized than men. This is evidenced by everything from paperwork to neatness of the car.

3. Are better at reading prospect’s body language and using this more effectively during sales calls.

4. Are generally better at observing their surroundings.

There are more but you get the idea. Women don’t just offer diversity to a sales organization; they add a different way of selling.

I believe that just about the same percentage of women close sales as do men. There are plenty of men who can’t close deals and I know there are women who can’t close deals either. Some people can and some people can’t so gender is not the issue.

Women can be as politically nasty as men can be. In fact, I could make a case that women play the game better then most men. I really believe that both genders use insight in different ways. Women “look” at things differently than men do  and I think they process information differently, relative to the business situation they are in.

Regardless of whether you believe me or not, one thing is true. Every sales organization needs both men and women!

The Final Thought: A woman is like a tea bag, you can not tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water. Nancy Reagan


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