Although this blog generally refers to the masculine segment of the sales force, it’s only for the convenience of using a single pronoun. But today, it’s all about the feminine! Today’s blog is devoted to the ladies of the trenches. After all, according to various sources, 32% of working women are in sales, making the total percentage of women in the sales force 26%. I’m sure the percentage varies according to whom you talk to, but these numbers are probably in the ballpark. So when you consider the question of what makes a good salesman, don’t discount the notion that it just might be a woman!
In sales hiring, the field is pretty wide open according to gender, age, race, religion, and other personal attributes. Where a person comes from doesn’t matter; even her level of education can be immaterial. As long as she possesses the qualifications that define the sales personality, she can be successful in sales. That’s why sales hiring is open to all types—all sales types, that is.
Some managers seem to prefer to avoid considering women when they hire sales people. There’s some bias because women bring obvious differences and often some unique challenges to the table. Single moms especially may have more distractions in their lives than the average salesmen. But studies have shown that women can prove to be just as successful sales hires as their male counterparts. In fact, there is some data that show that women are actually stronger in sales, percentage-wise.
Side by side comparisons of salesmen and saleswomen in the same field have generated some interesting results. When strengths and weaknesses are measured, as they are in a pre employment assessment test that focuses on what makes a good salesman, men and women show similar results in the areas of weakness. However, men exhibit three times the severity of a weakness as women. This would indicate that a woman might have a better chance of correcting a weakness than a man does.
On the other hand, women, as a rule, have innate aspects of their personality that give them an advantage in sales. They have an intuitive, empathic nature which enables them to relate to customers more easily than males can. And, of course, women through the ages have been notorious for their laser-focus when the situation warranted.
Although women can sell trucks and tools, and many of them do, the majority gravitate to fields that complement the feminine nurturing instinct: health areas such as pharmaceutical sales, medical sales; domestic areas such as real estate and insurance sales; and of course advertising sales –it’s important for women to support shoppers everywhere.
Unfortunately, one of the greatest challenges many women face is their own low self-esteem. While this may not be a problem in promoting a product, it can definitely get in the way when there is a need for self-promotion, as in interviewing for a job or a promotion. That’s why women are the ideal candidates for salesperson profiles such as AHS uses to identify the combination of Values and Personality Styles that are essential elements in what makes a good salesman. When a woman won’t speak up for herself, these tests can pinpoint her skill set and identify whether she has sales ability in her DNA. If you’re going through the process of sales hiring anyway, don’t overlook the applicant in lipstick and stilettos.