5 Unbelievable Misconceptions About Women in Sales
Today, women have high-powered, complicated sales positions in all types of organizations, selling everything from state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, oil and stocks to pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and inventions. Women in sales are successful, intelligent and assertive. They know exactly what they want to accomplish and exactly how to do just that.
So what's the deal with certain misconceptions about women in sales continuing to undermine their authentic legitimacy? Well, many of these "untruths" are socio-cultural in nature and unfortunately, stem from norms and values established thousands of years ago by the male hierarchy.
1. Women in sales can't succeed like men in sales because they are mothers.
A woman who rises in a senior leadership role is a woman with precise control of their schedule. They have learned--by trial and error, no doubt--how to balance work, family and "me" time. Women in sales not only possess strong management skills but can also multitask to optimize the results of their actions.
2. Women in sales don't practice the assertiveness needed to succeed as men do
If you have ever been in a meeting with a woman who controls their company's sales department, you will know this is not true. It's still difficult for professional women to overcome the old stereotype that an assertive woman is a "bitch," but that misconception is slowly but surely eroding. Emphatic, decisive women are confident, compelling women who understand how to balance being assertive with being heard loud and clear.
3. Women in sales won't help other women progress in their sales career.
Unfortunately, movies and TV shows tend to portray professional women as cutthroat in their plans to exceed career goals. However, women in sales are smart and savvy enough to understand that succeeding in any business is a group effort enhanced by cooperating and building sustainable relationships with all those involved.
4. Women in sales don't know how to promote themselves.
This age-old misconception applies to any businesswoman who doesn't want to have a reputation as being "pushy" or "bitchy." Young girls learn by observing sociocultural norms and behaviors that girls who brag or boast about accomplishments will be viewed as "unfeminine" and "improper." But women in sales know they need to self-promote, i.e., share things that are based in fact, to succeed in their industry. Bragging about something indicates someone who is exaggerating to a certain degree. There's a big difference, and professional women can distinguish bragging and self-promoting quite capable.
5. Women in sales don't know how to "play golf."
The belief that men in sales are better at engaging clients by inviting clients for golf games or drinks at a bar is as musty and mummified as an authentic Egyptian mummy. In fact, study after study has found women are not only better at communicating with others, but they are also more empathetic, intuitive and responsive to other people's ideas than men.
If you are a woman in sales who wants to help eradicate these and many other misconceptions about women in sales, consider empowering yourself and other women like yourself by joining the NAWSP's community of 13,000+ women who sell and Dance on the Glass Ceiling™.