There are a lot of solid statistics that show how few women there are in the sales profession, and how disproportionately few of those women make it to leadership positions. It is not easy to be a woman in sales.
But for this Women in Sales Month, I want to talk about why sales is a great profession for women.
Sales is the great equalizer. It’s a meritocracy: Power (and money) is vested in those who can demonstrate ability and talent. Advancement in a meritocracy is based on performance and achievement in the field.
October is Women in Sales month. For me, that means celebrating how sales really is the great equalizer.
These stories often revolve around how we are the minority in the profession, which I fully acknowledge.
If I was the only saleswoman in the company, it would have been harder.
My colleague (and now one of my closest friends), Carolyn Murray, has been here a year longer. She WAS our first woman in the sales department. There’s no question that having another woman as a confidant, to bounce ideas and concerns off, has been instrumental in my confidence level and openness to learning and taking it all in.
She showed me that “I can do that, too.”
Having the support system of a sales sisterhood allowed me to learn, grow, take risks, and build up the experiences I’ve had to become successful in my role.
I graduated from college in 2016, which means I haven’t been in this industry very long. But in this short stint of time, I have jumpstarted my career in several ways: I’ve been promoted 3 times, traveled to train our salespeople in our satellite offices around the country, wrote a playbook on how to execute my role successfully, have hit heater programs (consistently hitting over 125% of quota), and set records for fastest revenue generation in DiscoverOrg’s history.
I had been an account executive for only 3 weeks and am already second on the leaderboard for the month.
Even though I’m still pretty new to the game, several experiences have shaped me into the successful saleswoman I am.
Listen, be human & ask questions
As a student at the University of Oregon, I was a Chi Omega. One of many lessons I learned was how to connect with people on a personal level through Recruitment.
If you’re not familiar with the process, Recruitment is like five days of speed dating, in an attempt to identify a new class of members each year. I talked to over 50 girls a night, and would have to remember every conversation, keep track of who I talked to, remember whether I thought they would be a good fit for Chi Omega values, and decide if they fit with the other girls in the house.
To do that, I had to stay organized, and do a really good job at listening.
I think really listening and asking those open-ended questions is a very important trait to have in sales. The girls I recruited were always nervous and indecisive, so it was important that I made them feel like a peer. To do that, we always sat at their eye level or below. We wanted the girls to feel comfortable and that they could trust us; being at their eye level or below breaks down barriers. It humanizes you.
I’m not a just salesperson: I want to understand how you work – and how I can help.
Listening, asking questions, and humanizing myself are key traits I always try to emulate in my sales process.
Understand the product – and the customer
Before I came to DiscoverOrg, I worked at NikeTown in Portland and sold running shoes. I learned three key principles during my time there:
- Have a deep understanding of the product
- Identify which products will help the client reach their goal (and which products won’t)
- Only sell people what they need, and instill trust with the client
These principles lead customers to return and ask for me.
They came back because I took the time to really understand my product – the technology and fit of every shoe – and what they each one was designed to do. I asked my clients to tell me about their activity level, what type of exercise they participated in, and how many miles they were going to put on the shoes, to do as much discovery as I could.
I then sold them exactly what they needed.
I never pushed or oversold, which gave me the earned trust I was looking for. As Charlie Munger says, “Deserved trust is the most important thing.”
My customers always came back for more because they enjoyed the buying process, and they trusted that I had their best interests top of mind.
Those traits and principles have driven me to achieve the goals I set for myself.
Get our free ebook: Why Didn’t They Buy: A Deep-Dive into Buyer Preferences
It’s not because I am a woman. It’s because I work hard.
I try to use every lesson I have learned, and leverage my personal strengths to be as successful as I can. I stay organized, learn from others, listen, and compete.
That’s the beauty of sales.
Your gender doesn’t matter. Your age, and what your degree was in don’t matter. All that matters is: Are you good at your job? Do you like sales?
If you are driven and show up to compete, the sky’s the limit.
I want my clients to enjoy this buying process as much as I do. I am fortunate to sell the best sales intelligence product in the space, and I want my clients to give me that deserved trust, as I help them recognize what a tool like this can do for their company.
DiscoverOrg has allowed me to do all of that and continues to push me to be better every day. Being one of two women on the sales team has never concerned me.
I’m incredibly lucky to have a family here at DiscoverOrg that supports my career and celebrates my success, and I look forward to continuing to compete and see where this role takes me.
Read More: How Selling to Women is Different
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