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We have a serious women-in-sales leadership problem in Canada. According to LinkedIn, the percentage of female professionals decreases across the board as seniority increases, with the lowest percentage of women represented at VP and C-level.
On average, only a quarter of women who work in sales are working at a Director position or higher. In industries such as technology software, that figure is as low as 12%. This is a big problem - not least because studies show that companies perform better when they have a leadership team constituted of both men and women.
In this episode of the CPSA SalesProTips show, we will consider what we can do to empower women to achieve sales leadership roles.
Our guest is Patti Pokorchak, Sales coach and award-winning marketing and sales executive.
Listen to this episode of the CPSA SalesProTips Podcast and discover:
* What are the character traits of successful salespeople?
* How can leaders help grow women that show potential into leadership roles by helping them develop decision making and critical thinking skills?
* So to recap, what can we do to empower women to achieve sales leadership roles?
Want to hear more? Check out the bonus insights:
* How can employers remove, or at least minimise, gender bias from their recruitment efforts?
* Which 2-3 women in sales inspire you and why?
* How can mentorship help inspire and develop women sales leaders?
Read the edited transcription:
Kristen H: In this episode of the CPSA Sales Tips for the Pro series, Patti Pokorchak will be joining us to discuss how we can get more women in sales leadership roles. Welcome to the show, Patti.
Patti P: Thank you so much, Kristen. It's great to be on here.
Kristen H: Let's get right into the discussion. I've got some juicy questions for you. What are the character traits of successful salespeople?
Patti P: Well, you might not think this is a typical answer, but to be like an elephant. Big ears. I have a stuffed animal that I bring out at my talks. The big ears is for the act of listening and a small mouth to speak as little as possible. The ratio should be 3:1 where the person, your prospect, talks three times as much as you talk. Selling is not telling. It is about listening. It's really active listening.
Kristen H: Well, today's success in sales, and you were talking about this, it really requires consultative selling, which is based on collaboration with the customer, through strategic questioning, empathy, and active listening to help them buy rather than focusing on a product upon them. Despite the fact that almost all top sellers possess these skills, they are often considered female attributes. Do you agree does this give women in sales an edge in the future?
Patti P: I totally agree, because of the internet and all the information online is where we used to educate people. Now they are educated before they even call on us. If I get a lead in, I know they talked to two or three other coaches. They are halfway through their buying journey before they've already made their shortlist. You can't go and force them into something, because they have options. Everybody has options these days, and it's all about helping ... a friend of mine, Bill Smalley, says it's about having a joint vision or a shared vision to a guided end-goal. That you're sharing this journey. That you're helping other clients meet their goals and you're part of that whole journey. You're not forcing a solution on them. You're working together to come up with a solution that meets their needs and so, by the way, you can provide.
It is listening and consultative approaches ... I wouldn't say is a female trait. I would say it's an emotionally intelligent trait to have because you have to adapt to what you have to do to be successful in today's marketplace.
Kristen H: How can leaders help grow women who show potential into leadership roles by helping them develop the decision making and critical thinking skills?
Patti P: What studies have shown that women make 80% of the purchasing decisions in households is that why don't they have more women on the frontline? Why aren't there more female car salespeople? From what I've heard from friends who have been in that environment, apparently it's quite toxic to women in that field. They're not friendly, and I think if I was the owner of a car dealership, I would only have women. And there's actually a dealership near me that is female owned, female run, and is very comfortable for a female to go in and not feel like she's being scammed, because that's why I usually don't go to a dealership because I don't like that.
I think it's up to the leader to be smart enough to go ... there's a huge economic advantage to having more women on the frontline. I think CEOs need to talk to CEOs and show that women bring in the money and have better relationships and less unhappy clients. Part of it, I think, is more hiring for diversity and hiring more to balance the sexes on the sales team, because not everybody can sell to everyone, so you need that diversity.
Kristen H: Are there two or three more things that you could talk about that we could do to empower women to achieve those sales leadership roles?
Patti P: Sales is still a dirty word in Canada. There's 106 universities in the world that grant degrees in sales, and when I graduated ... I have an MBA in marketing ... but when I did my first role play for sales training, I had zero skill. I think we need to move sales up and have a BCom with a sales major in Canada, because sales has to become legitimized as a profession, because to sell a million or a multimillion dollar deal is not something you can tweet about and get through a LinkedIn post.
It takes a huge amount of skill and I think we need to recognize the profession for what it is and stop making it a four letter word. Having a degree in sales is the first step and just having a recognition that without sales, there is no business.
Kristen H: Yeah. It sounds like there's a lot of opportunity for some more changes to be happening.
Patti P: Yeah. There's actually a new website out of Ottawa called Informed Opinion, and it's to showcase all the female talent that is available in Canada for the media. It's like the go-to data base for the media. If you're looking for an expert on sales or marketing or whatever, scientists, there's a lot of academic, and that's the go-to place. There's no reason to say I couldn't find a woman. No more excuses.
Kristen H: Absolutely, absolutely. Well, we could go on and on. We could go on and on, Patti. Thank you so much for all of this great content, and I'd love for you to let our listeners know how they can find you.
Patti P: Well, with a name like Pokorchak, P-O-K-O-R-C-H-A-K, just Google my name is one way. I'm on the social media platforms, LinkedIn, and I'm very approachable and very contactable and happy to ... I love to talk sales all the time, especially sales and women.
Kristen H: I can tell your passion comes through. Perfect. Thank you for joining us. Thank you. Thank you for joining us for the Sales Tips for the Pros podcast brought to you by the CPSA.
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