Sales job openings on most websites read in a way that makes you think the right fit person would be someone who is very aggressive and competitive in nature. These job descriptions even scare me and I have been in sales since I started working. I can only imagine how a person who is not in sales reading and exploring job roles in sales would feel. They might feel intimidated, scared and put off by the way the world of sales appears from the job descriptions they read.
Back when I graduated college I remember wanting to be in sales because my Dad was in sales. I looked up to him and wanted to be like him. I wanted to make something of myself and thought sales seemed like a great way to be independent and make a career for myself. I wanted to provide for myself and then one day for a family.
When I started reading the job descriptions of sales roles I quickly realized that I didn’t have the “skill sets” or the “qualifications” in the listings.
I can only imagine how many women think “hey maybe I could be good at sales” but don’t actually pursue sales because they are scared of what being in sales really means and if they are good enough. They might think they are not cut out for it. Women in sales need to start talking about what it is really like to be in sales. We must break those barriers and stereotypes of what being in sales is like.
We need to put an end to this scary notion of “being in sales.”
Sales is not a scary job. Sales is an amazing and satisfying profession. You set your own pace. You set your own destiny. You learn every day, all day. You are your own boss. You help people everyday. You are a fixer of problems. You are a solution finder. Overall you are helpful. You strive to be your best.
Companies hiring for sales reps need to think about women who are exploring getting into sales and don’t have “closing experience” but feel like they could be good at sales. We need to recognize these women and hear them out. Give them a chance. We are blocking them from applying. We are pushing women away from these potential jobs in sales by not changing the language we use as to what we look for in our sales roles.
We should change the language in our job descriptions to be more oriented around hiring for people who enjoy fixing hard problems and most importantly people who like to help.
To be great at sales you need to be someone who wants to help your prospect figure out a solution to their problem or problems. That kind of person is one who is naturally helpful, cares about others, and wants to creatively solve problems. They have this drive to achieve a goal through helping and fixing.
To get more women into sales roles we need to discuss what it takes to be a great sales rep today. Not what the old school sales rep was. We should all change our language when we talk about what makes a successful sales rep.
We should stop talking about how hitting quota is all a sales rep cares about. We should stop saying that to be good at sales you have to JUST care about making money. That is not always true. Your motivation in sales could be something else.
I like making money. Yes, sure. But, guess what- that is not what I am motivated by everyday. That is not what keeps me going. That is not why I pick up the phone and prospect. I am motivated by succeeding. Success for me is being helpful. By helping my prospects realize that we can help them — that is success to me. I am motivated by successfully helping a prospect get the software they need to do their job better and help grow their company. I am motivated by hitting a number each month. BUT, that is not because I know how much money I will make when I hit that number. Sure, money is nice. But, that is not what motivates me to do well. I am motivated naturally to be the best me I can be. Part of being the best me is hitting my number. To hit that number I must always be focused on helping prospects.
If you focus on the money you can make in sales you will stop solving for the customer. You will focus on yourself and your end goal. I want to surround myself with sales reps who are solving real problems by selling what we sell. I want sales reps around me who whole heartedly want to help their prospects solve a problem. If your sales reps have that mindset they will hit quota, they will exceed quota and they will be successful in sales.
We should start talking about sales as a great career opportunity for people (women) who want to help people because they believe in what the product they would sell does for the target market they would sell it into.
A woman that I sold HubSpot to at a startup in the valley reached out to me recently when she was thinking about moving from marketing into sales. That makes me so happy that she would think of me for advice.
She told me she thought to reach out to me because she enjoyed the sales process she had with me. She had questions about whether or not I thought she could be a fit for sales. I told her what I would think about if I were contemplating getting into sales. I told her to think about what she believes in. Does she believe 100 percent in what she would be selling? Does she fully believe that the product she would be selling can help the prospect? Is she excited about what the product solves for and does? If you can get behind what you are solving for with what you are selling then you might be a great sales rep for that product.
As a woman you might not think you are cut out for sales because it seems like an aggressive field where to be successful you have to be strong, assertive, aggressive, super confident, etc. I don’t think that all sales people who are successful are always super, overly aggressive. They seem to be people who are caring, helpful and emotionally intelligent.
Women sales reps can be successful when they are helpful and want to fix problems for people they are selling to.
Let’s change the perception of what makes a woman good at sales. Being good at sales doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be an overly aggressive person or be overly confident and be a “car salesy” kind of woman. That is not what makes today’s great sales rep.
Together we women who are in sales can change the old school stigma of what being in sales means.
Today’s great sales rep is a woman. Tomorrow’s great sales reps will be women.
Today’s great sales rep is someone who is helpful. Who works for the good of the customer who they are selling to. Someone who wants to fix problems that they know their product or service they sell can solve for. Someone who wants to figure out how to find great fits for their product or service. Wants to work hard to change the world in whatever they are selling. It is someone who believes in what they are doing and is trying to make the world a better place by selling it.
The money motivating factor of the old school sales rep's reputation is one of the past. Let’s move forward and talk about why we are in sales as woman so we can expose more women in the future to joining us in sales.