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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How I Turned my Fine Art Drawings into a Temporary Tattoo Empire

I have always been in love with all things art- I was obsessed with drawing and painting before I was even walking. In high school, I started a career selling art through various gallery art shows and on Etsy. I then went on to study fine arts at the University of Southern California, with an emphasis in painting, but took classes in ceramics, printmaking, cinema and architecture to get a really well-rounded education on all sorts of art.

During my senior year of college, my career path went through a huge transition; I started my own temporary tattoo brand, INKED by Dani, which is a brand of temporary tattoos based on my hand-drawn fine art designs.

The idea for the brand came one night after a themed party at college. My friends, knowing how much I loved drawing, asked me to cover them in hand-drawn doodles using eyeliner. The feedback from that night was overwhelming, everyone my friends saw that night was obsessed with the designs. In that moment, a lightbulb went off in my head... I could do some completely unique here and create chic temporary tattoos with an art-driven aesthetic, unlike anything else on the market. Other temporary tattoo brands were targeted to kids or lacked a sleek and millennial-driven look. It was a perfect pivot; I could utilize my fine arts training and tattoos as a new art medium to create a completely innovative brand.

Using the money I made from selling my artwork throughout high school and college, I funded the launch of INKED by Dani. I had always loved the look of dainty tattoos, but knew I could never commit to the real thing, and I knew my parents would kill me if I got a tattoo (I also knew that so many girls must have that same conflict). Starting INKED by Dani was a no-brainer.

I started off with a collection of about only 10 designs and sold them at sorority houses around USC. Our unique concept for on-trend and fashion-forward tattoos was spreading through word of mouth, and we quickly started growing an Instagram following. I was hustling all day from my room, cold calling retailers, sending blind samples and tons of emails, and trying to open up as many opportunities as I could.

Now, we're sold at over 10,000 retail locations (retailers include Target, Walmart, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Hot Topic), and we've transformed temporary tattoos into a whole new form of wearable art.

My 4 best tips for starting your own business are:

  1. Just go with your gut! You'll never know what works until you try it. Go day by day and do everything in your power to work toward your goals. Be bold, but be sure to be thoughtful in your actions.
  2. Research your competitors and other successful brands in your category to determine how you can make your product stand out. Figure out where there is a need or hole in the market that your new offering or approach can fill.
  3. Don't spread yourself too thin. Delegate where possible, and stay focused each day on doing the best and most you can. Don't get too caught up in your end goal or the big picture to a point where it overwhelms or freezes you. You're already making a bold move to start something new, so try to prioritize what's important! I started off in the beginning hand packing every single tattoo pack that we sold and shipped. If I wanted to scale to align with the level of demand we were receiving, I needed to make the pivot to mass produce and relinquish the control of doing every step myself. I am a total perfectionist, so that was definitely hard! From that point on, overseeing production has been a huge part of my daily schedule, but by doing so I've been able to free up more time to focus on design, merchandising, and sales, allowing me to really focus on growing the business.
  4. Prioritize great product packaging and branding. It's so important to invest time in customer experience- how customers view and interact with your product. The packaging is just as important as the actual product inside! When we were starting off, we had high demand, and I definitely jumped the gun a bit on packaging so we could deliver product to the retailers when they wanted it. Since then, we've completely revamped the packaging into something upscale and unique that reflects what the brand is all about. Our product packaging is always called out as being one of our retailers' and customers' favorite part of our product!