At the Table: Women in the Salesforce

September 28, 2009
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Sharon Roberts

[Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of articles that will concentrate on the professional saleswoman.]

How many HVAC contractors do you know who have professional saleswomen in their company? I mean specifically professional saleswomen who are going into homes and sitting across the table with homeowners to discuss their home comfort needs. Probably not many, if any at all. And, how many contractors do you know who have professional salesmen going into homes and sitting across the table with homeowners? That’s easy isn’t it? You can probably name a long list in a hurry.

So why do you think there are so few women in HVAC sales calling on clients in their homes? After all, the vast majority of residential sales calls involve women whether they are alone or with a spouse. How do we know that? Because, you tell us. So it’s probably not a great big surprise to you that women make or directly influence a whopping 87 percent of all purchases. Now that’s serious buying power any way you run the numbers.

Do you think homeowners, especially women, like to consult with saleswomen? How do you think men respond? How do you think couples respond? What do you think about women and men selling as a team? What do you think would happen to your sales? What would happen to profits?

HANG ON PLEASE

I’m not suggesting that we dump the men and replace them with women. Of course not. We have many good men who are doing an excellent job helping homeowners select the home comfort systems that best meets their needs. And, we need to include more women to have a sales force that would more accurately represent customers.

Yes, I get that there are many women in your businesses that are actively involved in the business and essential to its success, they just don’t happen to be in outside sales. It’s been baffling to me for years that most contractors don’t include saleswomen on their team. And, I wonder why not?

This is not about I am woman hear me roar; I’m a happily married woman. I love this industry, and I’ve been in it for 20 years. I’ve been fortunate to have many good friends and mentors, many of them men. They welcomed and valued my point of view and insights, a woman’s perspective, recognizing that it represented a huge segment of their customer base, women.

So what’s the answer to why more contractors don’t hire women sales professionals? I’ve been asking contractors that question for years, especially lately, and I’ve gotten a variety of answers. So, what are the myths and what are the facts, political correctness aside? With your help we’re going to find out.

And, why do we need to know about the successful saleswomen in HVAC? It’s very good for business anytime and it just might be what saves your business in very challenging times. It’s high time we highlighted them and discovered the path they took to get where they are going. What they love about what they’re doing. What are their suggestions on finding and/or developing other saleswomen. What are their suggestions for creating a culture that fosters success for saleswomen in your company.

So how will we do this? I’m on a mission - if you are a professional saleswoman in HVAC please contact me. I want to know your story. If you are a contractor or sales manager and you have one or more professional saleswomen on your team, please contact me.

I’ve tracked down a few of these fascinating saleswomen. One sure thing - there is no cookie cutter approach to the path to being a saleswoman in HVAC.

Would you like to read their stories and those of saleswomen and the contractors and sales managers who hire them?

Great! Because The NEWS is going to do a series highlighting you!

Publication date: 09/28/2009

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