You don’t have to be a ball breaker to be in sales

A couple of things happened on the way to the office this morning.
#1 Thing – A female client, on reading The Challenger Sale book, told me she didn’t want to be perceived as a ball breaker by challenging her customers. The authors of this book surveyed thousands of salespeople and the highest performers had, what they dubbed, the challenger mindset (sounding  alpha male and aggressive) and made up 39% of high performing salespeople. The mindset of relationship building (very feminine and nurturing) salespeople,being the least effective, was 7%.

#2 Thing – I managed to watch a clip on You Tube on ‘The Athena Doctrine: Feminine Values are the Future‘ and how out of a survey of 60,000 people from over 13 countries, 66% support the idea that institutions, business, leaders and individuals are breaking from the old masculine, alpha male structures to adopt more feminine values of co-operation, communication and inclusion – touted the 21st Century’s operating system.

So, if we agree on the fact that there are approaches from both examples that contribute to peak performance, then how can we language it differently where there is buy-in from all parties in the sales space  – both male and female?

I’m a firm believer that a hierarchy in the sales world exists, having been at different levels of that hierarchy over the years, and by the very nature of salespeople, naturally we aspire to reach the peak. But outside of logical, structured sales methodology teachings, many are unsure of what it takes to reach that peak today in a congruent manner… much like my client above shared.

I think the highest performing salespeople have earned their results based on the respect that the buyer has for them rather than the level of challenge they have with the buyer.

We only need to look to the animal kingdom. I mean we have the Queen Bee of the hive and we have the King of the jungle. Both have earned their respect, stand  independently and as a result are the ones who increase their level of success and access to resources – in the latter case, being the first to eat, the first to have access to water when it is in low supply, the first to have access to females for mating.

So, if the Challenger Sale demonstrates the type of person who has the most success and who doesn’t (and we’ll use their success metrics),  then let’s have a look at the focus you need to have to get there and the category you might find yourself currently in.


Where do you sit? Perhaps the  objective is to actually challenge yourself instead of the customer.

Because it’s not about the methodology or the tactics or the strategies – sure they are important, but it’s about being brave, stepping up, learning to say ‘no’ , being comfortable about money, having the conviction to stand for something and definitely not about being any kind of a ball-breaker!

And at the end of the day, it’s about the guys learning to connect and respond more and it’s about the girls learning to be bold and own and lead with their strengths even more.

And on that note, for any woman who sells an idea, a product or a service – either as a professional saleswoman or female entrepreneur and you aspire to be higher on this value model than you are, then let’s have a conversation.

Be Bold and Brilliant!





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Bernadette McClelland Call Me NOW