Super Saleswomen

Selling was once a boys’ club, a place where guys got together to barter and deal. Not anymore. Today women are major players on almost every big-league salesforce. And Donna Brooks, coauthor with her sister Lynn Brooks of “Seven Secrets of Successful Women”, knows why: women have skills that meet the increasing demands of modern-day selling.

Salesmen who want to adapt to the new world of selling can start by learning three lessons from their female counterparts.

Learn to Listen

“Today selling is more like consulting,” says Brooks. “Women are adept at hearing what the customer needs. If you do too much talking, you run the risk of turning your sales presentation into a debate.”

How to Do It

“To get into listening mode, spend more time asking questions about the customer’s needs than making assertions about what you think the customer wants.”

Read the Room

“Women enter a room and immediately empathize with the person in it. They’re more apt to appreciate their surroundings. So they can customize their presentation to suit the person they’re selling to.”

How to Do It

“When you walk into someone’s office, push yourself to take in the surroundings. Find clues on the walls — pictures of the kids, golf trophies, travel photos — and use them as conversation starters.”

Network Without Need

“Guys network for stock tips or for job leads with people who can clearly help them. Women often network without an agenda. They develop partnerships that may or may not pay off somewhere down the line.”

How to Do It

“Build a broad range of contacts, even if they can’t help you right away — you never know where they might lead you.”

Coordinates: $19.95. Seven Secrets of Successful Women, (McGraw-Hill, 1997)FCS