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Some people perceive that there is a power struggle between men and women in the sales industry. In this episode, Lorraine Ferguson talks about leveling the playing field for women in sales.
Getting to know Lorraine Ferguson
- Lorraine Ferguson started her career in sales back in the 80s with a startup technology company. She never thought that she’d see herself in sales.
- Back then, there were still no women in sales. She was young and inexperienced then. So, she followed what the other salesmen did.
- As a woman in a male-dominated career, she often felt intimidated by the men she met. She felt like she wasn’t taken seriously and there were times when she was only asked to take notes or to go and bring the boss.
- As a young girl, she was taught that being good meant accommodating others and knowing her place. She didn’t realize that the principle stayed with her. She found herself buying into the buyer system.
Women not Glamorizing Sales
- There is a negative stigma in sales. Many women don’t see sales as an effective career.
- Another challenge is that we weren’t told about sales as a potential career. It’s not something that your guidance counselor talks about.
- Most times, men are hired because the people in the leadership roles are also men. Sometimes, they don’t even think about women as a good fit for sales.
- It’s a combination of mindset, what we think, and what those who are hiring think when they are looking for a good candidate.
- Many are also looking at sales as a stepping stone or a last recourse. This isn’t a good thing for women since women have so many natural strengths that are needed in the sales profession today.
Womens’ natural talents in sales
- To be successful in sales today is much more than just knowing your own products and services. It’s about your ability to connect and understand other people. Buyers today are expecting salespeople to know about their own business as much as they know their own products and services.
- Women have the ability to connect the dots and figure what the problem is. Women are good listeners and are able to come up with empathic solutions.
- When it comes to selling, it’s critical to be quiet, to listen, and to ask the right questions.
- Women tend to be more concerned about others. They have the natural ability to put themselves in the background.
Women in sales
- Women need to work a little bit harder to prove themselves. Sometimes, they need to prove themselves to the person they’re working for.
- The organization is a huge help for women. It’s critical for the organization to have a selling process that fits women like a glove.
- Women like roadmaps, they like to have direction. When they follow a process, they are able to have personal presence and they’re more likely going to win a deal.
- Often, the right system for women is when there’s no pressure.
- Women need to work on their personal presence. They need to put a system in place. Change the things that prevent them from achieving more. Learn to take control of the conversation.
- Lorraine’s Sandler Training helps salespeople develop a mutual agreement between your objective and what the customer/client wants to cover.
- Having the upper hand in the conversation allows you to have more confidence.
- Even with the slow progression in sales in terms of perceiving women, still, women have come a long way. Many women are becoming more successful in sales.
“Leveling the Playing Field for Women in Sales” episode resources
Follow Lorraine Ferguson on LinkedIn.
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Audio provided by Free SFX. Other songs used in the episodes are as follows: The Organ Grinder, written by Bradley Jay Hill, performed by Bright Seed and Produced by Brightseed and Hill.