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Are Saleswomen from Venus and Salesmen from Mars?

By Percy Chong, 20th January 2015

Apart from gender, are there any other differences between the female and male salesperson?

After observing hundreds of salespersons, both male and female salespersons in joint-fieldwork, ASG noticed there are some subtle differences in the way they approach selling as well as their prospects. And there are however, some noticeable differences with the treatment that they received from their prospects or clients.

Our observations are not meant to express any sexist opinions. Although there are some generalisations involved, it is to shed light on these common and naturally occurring episodes that has its truth in the marketplace. And it may even bring an answer to the age old question, are female or male more suited for the sales role?

Women in general are more attuned to service and customer engagement, especially when they have lesser of the male’s ego tripping them up. They tend to be more sensitive to the prospect’s needs and are more nurturing towards the prospect’s interest. Their care-giving qualities are evident in them going the extra mile with sharing of value added ideas or materials with the prospects. Although they are generally less assertive and defensive than their male counterparts, there has been an increased in the numbers of saleswomen being observed with greater assertion. Without going too deep into the subject, we can probably conclude the influence that our genetic make-up has on our disposition (both female and male), and how is has shaped our service attitude.

With that said, ASG has observed an interesting phenomenon in the Financial Advisory Service Industry. The majority of the top-sales producers happen to be women! However, the Sales Managers of the top units or branches are mostly men. This observation seems to support that women make better salespersons while men makes better sales leaders.

Perhaps, the objective and rational traits that are more common in men, gives them an edge in the sales management role. Their lack of touch is compensated by their strength in organising and delegation.

Another interesting observation regarding how female and male salespersons are treated by prospects in general. The saleswomen are almost always judge by their looks rather than their competence of work. Many have confessed that they have not too been taken too seriously and even receiving unwanted advances from their male prospects on a regular basis. However, when it does come to actual sales, the saleswomen tend to get it easier.

The prospects appear to demand less from the women. Here’s an example, in relation to work competence. The men are expected to know and have everything at their finger tips. They will be quizzed and tested in all areas of their work competence, and their prospects/clients (both male and female) are less forgiving towards their lack of knowledge, compared with a women sales representative.

The saleswomen however, can get away with the lack of knowledge with a simple statement, “Mr Prospect, I am sorry I don’t have the information you need on hand, let me check for you and I will get back to you.” When the same response is applied by the men, the outcome will be vastly different.

The topic of gender differences have long been discussed and debated. With many differing opinions and conclusions, it might not be wise to take sides, but simply recognised that difference exist and learn to cope with its unique challenges.

So ladies, be vigilant and learn how to avoid or deal with unwanted attention; and gentlemen, dedicate more time to the development of your knowledge. Do not expect equal treatment from your prospects, but expect fair amount of obstacles will stand in your way regardless of your gender, as you work towards securing the sale.

Article contributed by Percy Chong (through Asian Sales Guru)
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