Last week my company had a happy hour and the topic of hiring came up. We were talking about recruiting and the idea came out that “for whatever reason, people seem to expect salespeople to be men.”

I have always known that men made up the majority of the sales positions, but it was the first time I really started to examine the connection between traditionally masculine behavior and the sales tactics that have been taught to us over the years.

Masculine language fills our sales vocabulary. We are a “eat what you kill” business that does not make money unless we get deals. We have a “pitch” and need to be a closer” like baseball players. We have to work “in the trenches” and “dominate” like we are in the military. We also need to deal with “ball busters” on price or we need a “pair of brass balls” to work in real estate.

Now that I have a daughter, I have been doing more and more reading on gender stereotypes and the cultural norms. I have come across the theory of toxic masculinity.

If you do not know what toxic masculinity is, you can be excused. It is not a topic that has gotten the coverage it really deserves. Toxic masculinity is the term that is used to explain all the self-destructive behaviors that men typically engage in. Think about aggressive behaviors, fighting, arguing, bottling up emotions, bullying, casual sex, and plenty of other traditional “man” behaviors.

Sales, because it has been a boys club for so long, has become a breeding ground for toxic behaviors. Many sales people approach sales as a win/loss scenario, not a win/win scenario. When sales is done right, it is a simple trade of moeny for solutions. Both sides should win out. Yet we talk about our customers like we defeated them on a battlefield.

Take the time to study masculine behaviors and examine whether they are actually helping you make sales. Odds are they are alienating your clients in a way that is holding you back. By embracing your feminine side, learning about emotional intelligence and actually building relationships with your customer you will find that you sales career will be much more rewarding, both from a personal and financial perspective.

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