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Embrace Your Inner Saleswoman To Land An Executive Job

It’s no great revelation that women have exceptional selling instincts. In fact, Tom Peters has said that women make better salespeople than men. What we’ve found in coaching senior-level women, however, is a dichotomy of sorts: Women working in sales jobs are the best-in-class at what they do — and they love it. Yet, women in non-sales roles tell us they would prefer a trip to the dentist over selling.

Unfortunately, sales is just one of those things — like haggling and public speaking — that we avoid at our own peril. When we hear a woman say that sales is outside of her job description, we always beg to differ. Selling needs to be a part of every woman’s career tool kit. After all, sales experience feeds the types of line jobs — where individuals have P&L accountability — that are a pipeline to the C-suite. And that is where women are at a disadvantage.

According to McKinsey & Company, research of the largest US corporations shows that 62% of women are in staff jobs — positions that provide service and assistance but don’t directly generate revenue. These roles very rarely lead to major jobs in senior management. In contrast, 65% of men on executive committees hold line jobs. This helps explain why the number of women CEOs in Fortune 500 companies appears stuck around 3%.

Read more at Harvard Book Review.

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