The tide is turning. Although still a male-dominated field, sales has seen a fundamental shift the last decade. With the advent of insight and relationship based selling, an interesting trend has emerged – not only are we seeing more women in sales, on top of that, they’re bringing in more money.
With that, a look at the trailblazing saleswomen of years past and present.
Name: Mary Kay Ash
Claim to fame: With $5000.00 of her own money Mary Kay Ash set out to build a company in which women were rewarded for top sales. Today, Mary Kay Cosmetics employs over 2 million consultants around the world and generates over $2 billion of sales per year.
Context: After being passed up for a promotion in which she was the top performing employee, Ash identified an underserved market in direct sales – women.
Praise: “Mary Kay dreamed of a company in which women would be paid what they were worth and not what the job was worth. She had an unshakable belief in us and what we are capable of doing.” – Carolyn Ward
Quote: “Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘Make me feel important.’ Never forget this message when working with people.”
Name: Erica vanderLinde Feidner
Claim to fame: Dubbed the “Piano Matchmaker“, top salesperson in the Steinway & Sons. Netted record $4 million in 1999.
Context: With the average Steinway & Sons piano approximately $25,000, that’s 160 very expensive pianos a year.
Praise: “It is not unusual for Feidner’s customers to describe her as a force of nature. This is not because they feel pressured by her but because after they meet her many soon find themselves in the grip of musical ambitions they never knew they harbored.” – The New Yorker
Quote: “Every piano has a personality. They’re born that way.”
Name: Anita Krizsan
Claim to fame: Top selling Bugatti Veyron salesperson in the world. In 2012, Krizsan broke records by successfully closing 11 sales, totalling over $15 million.
Context: With a price tag of over $2 million, most Veyron salespeople consider themselves lucky to shift two to three a year.
Praise: “Customers love her. It’s a big relationship job. She’s put a little bit of magic into it. She understands the customers and puts them at ease.” – Derek Bennett
Quote: “Aftersales is key to ensuring customers keep coming back … A child can sell a car once. We want to see them again. We have a Bentley customer from three years ago and we still call to see if they’re OK.”
To the women in sales and the men that support them, congratulations and happy closing!
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