The 5 Silent Career Killers for Women in Sales

by Lauren Carlson
A recent Harvard Business Review post explores certain behaviors of women that can hold them back in the professional arena. The article cites studies which show that only half of women display high self-confidence while the other half admit to feelings of self-doubt regarding their performance. As a result of this self-doubt and reduced confidence, women can end up inadvertently sabotaging themselves.

Inspired by this post, I decided to write a post for my site, digging deeper and looking specifically at a field that has been traditionally dominated by men: sales. There are studies that show that women are actually more successful in the field of sales. And yet, salesmen still outnumber saleswomen.

To find out what saleswomen might be doing wrong, I decided to speak to a handful of some of the most successful females in the industry: Jill Konrath (author, trainer and sales strategist), Kim Duke (former sales exec and current owner of Sales Divas, a training firm aimed at women in sales) and Kristine Scotto (sales exec with 25 years of experience under her belt).

I interviewed each of these women to find out the top behaviors they see amongst women in sales that could potentially be sabotaging their career.

We identified the top five “silent career killers”:
  • Avoiding self-promotion
  • Undervaluing themselves and/or their services
  • Not asking for help
  • Prioritizing relationships over closed deals
  • Being afraid of messing up
Many women in sales and other professional fields can probably admit to one or more of these things. I know that writing this article definitely hit home for me as I saw several examples of things I do, somewhat regularly, that could be negatively impacting my growth. I go into each of these in on my blog.

What about you? Are you guilty of any of these behaviors or have you seen them in your coworkers? Please share your thoughts, experiences and feedback.

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