To celebrate International Women’s Day (8th March), leading sales performance firm durhamlane, is championing women’s underlying role in the sales profession and looking to combat the perceived negative stereotype in the industry.

Amy Palmer, sales team leader at durhamlane, who is responsible for building and developing the UK sales team of simPRO, feels that the misconception of sales as a male-dominated industry deters women from considering sales as a career choice.

She said: “Unfortunately, I feel women still think that a sales job would be more suited to a man and men would more likely have the skills. In fact, only 39 percent of sales-related roles are represented by women. When it comes to leadership level, 81 percent are taken by men and this hasn’t changed over the last 10 years.

“It seems that we are stuck in a vicious cycle. In most of the sales roles I’ve been in, I’ve been one of a couple of women or the only female. It can be quite daunting when you start in a role.”

There is also a perceived stigma that women can’t sell, according to Millie Forster, who started as a sales executive with durhamlane right after graduating from university.

Millie says: “This is an objection we face as soon as someone answers the phone. But I always break the ice when I am having a longer conversation with the customer and because I am listening to them.”

Amy added: “Women naturally take more of a consultative approach to a sale, which gives a level of relationship building. I don’t think women give off the vibe of a hard sell.”

Accredited and experienced leadership coach, Alison Freer, durhamlane’s Director of Consulting, Learning & Digital Transformation, believes there is a stark difference in gender personality types and that women can nurture trusted relationships among various customer personalities.

She said: “Analysis of personality types against the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and Insights framework shows a clear gender difference in three key areas. Women tend to be more extraverted and engage others in conversations. Relationships, interpersonal harmony and integrity of values are key drivers for them and they are more likely having a preference for planning and decisive actions.

“While there are always exceptions to these trends, female sales professionals will more often achieve sales success by nurturing trusted relationships with a wide variety of customer personalities. They are more likely to be driven to succeed in sales by relying on these skills to sustain long-term partnerships with customers and sales colleagues.”

Alison has called on companies to mark their working environments more inclusive and dismissing the stigma around women’s sales professionals.

Alison added: “Inclusion means respecting everyone and including them for who they are. It is the responsibility of business leaders to identify and develop the strengths each individual brings to the table.

“We use personality dynamics analysis in our sales training with team leaders, team members and with customers to ensure people are aware of different personality traits and learn how to effectively interact with each other and with clients.

“It is durhamlane’s mission to raise the bar of the sales profession and to make it a profession EVERYBODY is proud of. The women in our team play an important role in making this change happen.”

Amy concluded: “If you’re thinking of a career in sales go for it! Make sure that you stand out and don’t be afraid to be heard. Always be yourself and don’t try and be like anyone else in sales. My 15 year career in sales has helped me grow as a person, meet some amazing people from all walks of life and most of all it has built my confidence up over the years not just in my job role but in everyday life! I couldn’t see myself in any other job role.”

International Women’s Day aims to forge a more inclusive, gender equal world.