Men Or Women - Who's Actually Better At Sales?


In a recent article by Roger Dooley, author of “Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing," he described how “romantically primed" men were much more likely to spend lots of money than men who were not so primed, and than women in either condition.

Separately, we've also noted that female salespeople seem to dominate some areas, and that these women seem to skew toward the attractive end of the spectrum.

One example is the pharmaceutical sales rep, who prototypically is an attractive female who spends much of her time calling on a predominantly male physician customer base. That's an overgeneralization, of course – there are lots of female physicians, and lots of male drug reps. Still, the stereotype is sufficiently valid that a physician acquaintance of mine expressed mock shock at seeing a middle-aged male drug rep, quipping, “I don't think I've seen one of those before."

Peacock Effect

If subconsciously primed with romantic thoughts, the male customer will be more inclined to demonstrate his mating potential by his spending behavior, e.g., by placing a large order. After all man no longer has to hunt in the traditional sense to showcase his desirability to a potential mate.

The evolution of the human brain was primarily driven by finding better ways to appeal to the opposite sex. A University of New Mexico professor collaborated with a professor at the University of Arizona State to publish their findings in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Their findings can be read here, in Geoffrey Miller's theory. Consequently, one would expect that other behavior, placing an order, would demonstrate the “peacock effect."

Even though a physician isn't actually ordering product or spending money (it's patients and insurance companies that spend the real money), he still demonstrates his power and mastery by agreeing to distribute samples, recommend the product in appropriate situations, and so on. Exercising authority in this manner is as much of a visible power display as writing a personal check.

Intuitively better at sales

There have been numerous books devoted to it, and one in particular- Women Make the Best Salesmen: Isn't it Time You Started Using their Secrets? that does all but end the discussion. Marion Luna Brem, Inc magazine's entrepreneur-of-the-year and author of the previously mentioned book provides practical advice useful to anyone; she does so in candid fashion, explaining that every relationship involves some type of “sale," if not a literal one.

She sets out to teach the reader a different way of thinking, immediately asking, “What are you selling?" The book's description notes, “Women with their natural social skills and acute emotional antennae, have natural advantages both sexes can learn from." But maybe there's more to it than romantic priming or intuitive advantages. You guessed it, a compelling study that may alter the landscape for good: definitive proof that women are better closers.


Recently, the data science team at Gong analyzed data from 30,469 sales calls and it was an eye-opener, to say the least: women listen less than men and women interrupt their customers more than men. In fact, by every measure, thus far, men seem to follow “the rules of selling" better than women...at least on paper. Despite “following the rules of selling" men close deals at a lower rate than women.

In the analysis, men on average had a 42:58 talk-to-listen ratio, while women averaged 46:54, talking nine percent more than men. Furthermore, men interrupt their prospects an average of 4.2 times per hour whereas women average 6.3 interruptions per hour. Lastly, women tend to go on monologues (uninterrupted streaks of talking) longer-and more frequently-than men do. When men go off on monologues they average 116 seconds, and women average 130 second monologues. You're probably beginning to conclude, albeit falsely, that men are better at sales based on these details.

Women close 11 percent more sales deals than men! Even though the data paints women as less-skilled listeners they close deals at a faster and higher rate than men. In Gong's data set, men had a 49 percent likelihood of moving opportunities to the next stage, while women boasted a 54 percent success rate. Now that you've been broad-sided, and are left wondering whether or not you forgot your morning cup of joe, think about what this could mean.

Science consists of both the qualitative aspects of a problem and the quantitative (data) side of the story. So, how are women getting more deals done while breaking some of the traditional so-called rules-of-selling? Despite the fact that the data reveals men to be better listeners than women (maybe the men are day-dreaming or scrolling through their smart phones while seemingly listening), silence clearly does not equate to listening.

Please feel free to offer feedback on this stunner of a revelation. Perhaps you have a more thorough explanation as to what's the missing piece, or pieces, to this equation. Your input is very much welcome. Now I will go brew some coffee with the hope that the fresh aroma wafting through my nostrils will help to fire up the synapses.

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Miss USA Cheslie Kryst and Eboni K Williams Get Real On ​Race, Success, and Empowerment

Eboni K. Williams and Cheslie Kryst have a lot in common, as Iman Oubou Founder & CEO of SWAAY as well as host of the Women Who Swaay podcast puts it, "They're both badass attorneys, they're both from North Carolina and they've both competed in the Miss North Carolina USA pageants." And they also both took over our podcast on the most recent episode, straight from the headquarters of the Miss Universe Organization!

Cheslie is a successful licensed attorney who also happens to be the reigning Miss USA 2019, with plans to represent our country in the upcoming Miss Universe competition. Not only is she at the height of her pageant power, but she is using the notoriety to create positive change for all of the women in her life, much like her role model Eboni K. Williams. Williams is a journalist, author, attorney and speaker; from her long history as a pageant queen she has risen through the ranks of male dominated industries from law-firms to Fox News. All throughout her journey she has persevered with intelligence, tenacity and poise. Lucky enough for us, she has kindly put her reporting skills to use and got candid with Ms. Kryst about supporting their fellow women, the current state of race in America and their history together as pageant compatriots. All of these topics are incredibly close to their hearts as powerful black women using their influence to create a better future for all women in America.

Oh and, as previously stated, both are complete and utter badasses.

During their podcast takeover they talked about it all, from pageants to politics. It's clear that both of these women are motivated by an altruistic spirit and are strong supporters of #womensupportingwomen. Eboni even read a passage from her book, Pretty Powerful: Appearance, Substance, and Success, in which she outlines how her own career trajectory was so positively affected by the incredible women who mentored her in different stages of her life. She completely shuts down the idea of the "woman on woman teardown," calling it a "pitiful dynamic" tied to the "long and very hurtful history of women." This idea that in order to compete for a spot in the old boy's club, women must first fight off their own gender is not only reductive but it also supports an outdated social structure that was built to greatly favor male success. Throughout history women have been encouraged to look at one another as competition, one more obstacle to pass by. However, all that has managed to do is to pit us against each other, fighting for the few meager seats at the table allowed for women while we ignore the real problem. The problem isn't about the lack of seats allotted for women; the problem is that men are still the ones making the seating arrangements, and it's time for that to change, something that both Cheslie and Eboni understand well.

Race is another topic that is incredibly important to both of these women, and they have quite the in-depth discussion on it during this podcast. Cheslie, who is biracial and self-identifies as black, laid out her point of view on race. She voiced her frustrations for never feeling like she had her own box to tick, being stuck to decide between "black, white, or other" in standardized situations like the SATs. Existing as someone stuck between two cultures has been incredibly challenging, and though she found some solace in the black community, she felt less welcomed by her white peers. Self-identifying as black is something that has allowed her more agency in regards to her own identity, and though she still faces difficulties she realizes how important it is to be a confident black woman in the esteemed position she is currently in. Both Cheslie and Eboni seem to bond over the idea that no matter the successes, they both revel in the victories of their fellow women of color. Each of them is motivated to see more women of color in powerful, visible positions to inspire future generations. It's not about their own success; it's about respect and renown for any and all women of color.

I may have just provided the highlight reel, but the full conversation shared between Cheslie and Eboni on the Women Who Swaay podcast is a must listen. These two women managed to make me laugh while restoring hope for a better America all within a half hour of listening time! Seriously, go get those headphones, right now. You will not regret it.