What No One Tells you about a Career in Sales
- Back to Work, Career Development
- 26 Nov 2018
For the longest time now, we have been discussing gender balance in the workplace. And it is reassuring to see companies waking up to the problem and putting policies in place for a work culture that celebrates diversity.
But, it's time to take a step back, and ask yourself these questions:
"What am I doing to ensure a powerful career restart"?
"What's holding me back from getting what I want"?
Have you ever said, "I want to be a Salesperson when I grow up?"
It's time we ditched the misconceptions surrounding a career in Sales!
*Now, I know what you are thinking. "Another blog, another piece of advice!". Far from it.
This is your wake-up call. This is the time to assess your situation, plan wisely, and restart your career in a job that you love, and one that will give you a Return on Investment.
Why are There so Few Women in Sales?
Traditionally, Sales has been viewed as a man's job. But an interesting way to look at it is through this article published in The Conversation.
"Gender bias doesn’t merely disadvantage women, it also can disadvantage men. The reason? We don’t just stereotype men and women. We stereotype jobs," say authors Sarah Thebaud- Associate Professor, Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Laura Doering- Assistant Professor of Strategy and Organization, McGill University.
This could not be truer!
They go on to talk about a study they conducted on a job that is "ambiguously related to gender: a microfinance loan manager in Central America."
"When men stepped in to work with a client who had initially worked with another male loan manager, the client was highly compliant with his directives. But when men stepped in to work with a client who had initially worked with a female loan manager, the client afforded them much less authority. They were much less compliant than they would have been if they had initially worked with a male loan manager."
So, going back to our question: Why is the road to a career in Sales far less traveled by women?
Here are a few common stereotypes/myths that came forth when I asked a few women on a career break what they thought of a career in Sales:
1) You need to be well-spoken
Only someone who is eloquent and a clear communicator can be a good salesperson. This is one of the biggest stereotypes attached to a career in Sales. There are plenty of other roles within the Sales gamut that require analytical/technical skills for which you don't really need to be a language expert.
2) You will need to travel a lot!
Yes, but it's the idea of having to leave behind the homemaker in you and go on a guilt trip that overrides common sense. Some of them think that it's difficult to manage home AND have a sales job AND be happy! There are a plethora of roles that require you to be indoors, too that you can excel at.
Don't believe us? Browse through our job openings HERE.
3) There's just too much pressure
Raise your hand if you have had a purely blissful day at work, EVERY DAY of the week! You know better.
The idea of interacting with clients, making a sales pitch, and getting a closure might seem like a LOT of work. But so it is with every other profession. And there's no such thing as too much pressure as there is a reaction to pressure!
4) It's all about the numbers!
Well, not just the numbers; they're just a parameter to judge several other elements. Other aspects of Sales involve Client management, customer support, Inside Sales, Tele Marketing and so many other! Don't be fooled by this stereotype.
5) Erratic work hours
Yes, client interactions might require you to work a little longer depending on several external factors, but that means they are factors that you can control! Making appointments and sticking to it (and also ensuring that the client follows the same), following up before you visit (so you can avoid a trip back and forth) can just do the trick. Besides, you will not be working insane hours every day! Live up to the challenge, and go that extra mile to make it work.
Sales is not about selling anymore, but about building trust and educating" - Siva Devaki
If you nodded in agreement to any of the above, then you must read on to see how YOU fit the role perfectly.
Why Do We Need More Women in Sales?
Answer? Because women are good at it!
In this Forbes article on Why Women Should Consider Roles in Sales, the author Rakhi Voria, cites her own experience:
" When I applied for a marketing role at Microsoft, the recruiter put me in the queue for sales. She said I had great communication skills, a strong track record of success and that I exhibited empathy, a desire to learn and relentlessness in the face of adversity. All of those qualities, she said, made me a great fit for sales.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, she was right. I exceeded my sales goals, helped turn my district’s scorecard metrics from the worst performing to the top performing and won numerous awards. Most importantly, I had fun."
1) Good listeners: Women listen better and more closely - that's the truth. Research suggests that they spend 80% of their sales time listening which is a crucial factor when it comes to a client-customer relationship.
2) Carry the emotional connect: As writer Carolyn Cohn puts it, "It is just that they (women) are smart enough to be able to identify the problems that the buyers are experiencing and are also smart enough to come up with a way to solve those problems."
She further says, "...the approach that female sellers take when it comes to selling is a personal one. Women have no desire to be treated like they are numbers. The personal, human element is critical."
3) Practical, and get the job done: While most Sales jobs involve "calling potential customers", cold calls are also part of the game. According to this article, "Prospecting reluctance is very common in the sales industry, so the more likely a sales rep will make prospecting calls, the more likely they will be involved or exposed to more sales opportunities. Making the calls that most don't want to, it seems, is a key factor in why women may have an advantage over men in the sales arena."
Women, as much as they seem hesitant to take up a job in Sales, will do amazingly well in it because of these traits. But they are not just riding on the emotional factor here. Women are often seen as effective planners, who always demonstrate professionalism and positivity, because no one, absolutely no one wants to converse with someone who makes them feel otherwise. Women are people-magnets and it is this innate ability to succeed that is the foundation of any job, particularly one in Sales.
Crisis management, time management, the ability to exercise control when required, and their immaculate work ethic makes women fantastic salespeople.
What we’ve found from working with thousands of successful women selling to B2B accounts is: they leverage their styles, trust their intuition, and believe in themselves." - Five Traits of Successful Female Salespeople
What's your Return on Investment?
Your confidence levels shoot up, and so does your self-worth, you enjoy what you do, and above all, you affect change at every level giving yourself a chance to rise up the Sales ladder!
Now, if that's not enough to get you back to work, I'm not sure what is!
Go on, be restart-ready. A career in Sales, beckons!