Let’s face it ladies, how often do we say “No” to men on a daily, weekly or yearly basis? Regardless of the context, women are more often in the position to say “No” to men and to have that answer accepted without incident.
The reality is, we still live in a society where gender roles play a huge part in our day to day lives and whether we like to accept it or not, men and women are not equal. Men are much more likely to be the aggressor, the alpha, the initiator, the one to ask directly for what they want and not be afraid of hearing “No” as a response. That being said, the more men ask, the more often they hear “No” and “Yes”. If men were put off by every “No” that they heard, they certainly wouldn’t keep asking. Basic psychology suggests that if there is a chance at even obtaining the slightest reward, one shall seek it repeatedly without extinction.
Women on the other hand, are used to being pursued by men. Most women, and I am speaking generally here, are more frequently pursued by men than they do actively pursue men and thus are more often in a position to decline the advance than to face rejection themselves.
So how does this translate to sales?
Bottom line is, men are simply much more used to rejection because they face it more often than women do.
Men are used to asking and hearing “No”.
Women are used to being asked and saying “No”.
I’m sure some of you alpha female sales and business women like myself are reading this and thinking, “What are you talking about? If I want something, I go out and get it!”. Yes, that is what I do and yes, there are many women like myself out there who go out, get what they want and don’t fear rejection. After all, the only way to be successful in life is to take risks and do whatever it takes to get what you want and that always involves some sort of rejection or disappointment of some sort. Nothing in life is easy. You have to fight for everything. However, the majority of women are not alpha females, which is a relatively new concept in itself.
In sales, the primary reason that sales representatives are afraid to ask for the sale, is a simple fear of rejection.
So, my question to you fellow sales and business professionals: If men are so much more accustomed to rejection than women, does that qualify them as better sales reps than women?
Generally speaking, women are sensitive and emotional beings, much more so than their male counterparts. If a woman asks for a sale, and is declined, is she that much more easily discouraged than a man? And thus, less likely to ask for future sales in fear of facing that same rejection?
Furthermore, do women find it more difficult to live a life on the road than men? How many female truck drivers do you see on the road? How many business women do you see in the airport? Certainly less than men.
I remember I was once told by one of my male superiors that “You women need more time to relax and regroup than a man.” when I was asking for a day off after a long business trip.
When I heard that comment, I didn’t know how to take it. On the one hand, I was slightly offended. Did he think I was some sort of princess because I wanted a day to relax after a long trip and get my home back in order? But that got me thinking: “Would a man need that day off as well? Or would a man just jump right back into the office? If a man would just go right back to work with no time off, does that make a man a better road warrior than me?
After seriously doubting myself, I came to the conclusion that “Thank goodness I’m not a man because otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have gotten that day off!”. I believe that anyone who works hard enough needs a rest at some point, otherwise you simply burn out.
Whether we like to admit it or not, we live in a sexist society full of gender stereotypes. In my opinion and theoretically speaking of course, men should be better at “asking for the sale” than women simply because they have more experience doing this starting at a very young age!
When it comes down to getting the sale, I believe it is all about your individual personality and the degree of persistence and ambition that you have as a sales rep. However your ability to accept rejection is something you must get a solid grasp on in order to be successful in sales. Although men may have a head start in that regard, over time if you’re in sales long enough, regardless of your gender, you grow tough skin and learn to take rejection quite well.
And for life on the road, I think more men typically make this a career because even though they may have families, more often than not it is the woman who will stay home with the children.
For those of you reading this, I would love to hear your views on whether one gender or neither has an advantage over the other and to hear any stories you may have had encountering sexism or stereotypes in your career.
I look forward to hearing your feedback and discussing this with you all!