Why Women Have To Stop Calling Sales 'Icky'

The belief that women have "trouble" selling is not only flawed, it's insulting—and dangerous. Here's why we're ill-served by viewing sales skills in a negative light.

I recently attended a seminar designed to help women grow their businesses and increase their sales.


I gained some good insights, but also came away scratching my head. One female presenter promised us that creating referral partners (a very good idea!) would help us build our client base, especially if selling our services made us feel a bit … "icky."


Then, during a panel discussion, the moderator posed the question of whether or not we should ever resort to certain kinds of selling which could be a little (you guessed it) icky.


OK. We need to stop. Really.


In fact, if sales were a person, she'd be well within her rights to be more than a little miffed at how we've been talking about her.


Why do we adopt this kind of patronizing tone in our attempt to reassure women that it’s "OK" to sell?


Because while I get that women and men approach things differently, and the approach to training should reflect that, I don’t accept this idea that women need "special" help in this area. How many workshops do you come across designed to help men be "OK" with selling?


There may be myriad reasons (see: culture, religion, parents) why many women have a certain resistance to touting their goods. But a big part of why we have trouble with it is because WE KEEP TELLING OURSELVES WE DO.


Forget fear-based selling (it's actually called scarcity-based selling, and it really does work and there's not a thing wrong with it).


Instead, I take issue with shame-based sales training. The fact that we use the term "salesy" to denote what's decidedly unlikable about sales is a problem, if you ask me.


Sales Is Not A Sin


Let's be clear (and I know you know this): Sales is not a dirty secret. Or a necessary evil. Or a sin. It doesn't make you creepy or horrible unless you really are creepy or horrible (and I highly doubt that).


Sales is simply this: Communication with a clear, explicit goal.

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