Energy consultancies and brokers are lacking in female sales skills which is a big missed opportunity, a top recruiter said today.
With TELCA 2014 less than two days away, the chances of a woman winning the Sales Professional of the Year category are looking strong with both Fiona Howe and Sinead Smith competing against three men to pick up the prestigious prize.
Catherine McLean, MD of McLean Ross recruitment consultancy which is sponsoring the TELCA Sales Professional category this year suggested this is not representative of the market as a whole.
She said: “Whilst the inclusion of two women finalists on the sales shortlist can only be good news for the industry, it shouldn’t disguise the fact that most energy field based sales people are male and that overall, fewer women are applying for sales jobs that require them to travel frequently.”
Women offer different skills to men and are often “more effective” in areas where men aren’t so capable.
She said: “It’s not just about someone on the road, always in meetings, hitting the phones; it’s a listener, an empathiser, someone who manages their time effectively, a collaborative team member, someone who can prioritise the right things at the right times, multi-task.
“Does that sound like a woman? It does but it also sounds like a damn fine salesman – which goes to prove that sales should not be about what side of gender gap you are on, it is about your skill set, your mind set and your experience.”
Sales might be “a numbers game” she added but “the right person knows how to get results not just tick over time and I sometimes think that companies miss that point.”
As specialists in the energy and utility industry, McLean Ross is always on the lookout for outstanding individuals and is in a unique position to assess the strength of the current crop of sales professionals.
McLean Ross believed the TELCAs help recognise the people who keep a business “healthy and strong”.
The recruiter said: “We also hope that this award will raise awareness of the sales role and how it is changing as the industry evolves.
“We are delighted that the finalist shortlist is split between the sexes and hope that people realise, especially graduates, that sales can be a great career choice and incredibly rewarding.”