Women in Sales

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This is a podcast episode titled, Women in Sales. The summary for this episode is: <p>What’s your sales superpower? Special guest Galem Girmay joins Gong Labs Live! to discuss a woman's secret superpower in sales. It’s a highly valuable skill… any guesses? Join us now and unleash the power!</p>
Galem's sales superpower
00:34 MIN
Data: Women in sales listen more than men
02:33 MIN
How to be a better listener
02:10 MIN
How to show buyers you are listening
01:26 MIN
How to become the best version of yourself
00:48 MIN

Devin Reed: What's up, everybody? Welcome back to episode two, season two of Gong Labs Live. I'm your host, Devin Reed, head of content strategy here at Gong. Now if you're just tuning in, this is not my FM radio voice. I am not trying to emulate the great Chris Voss. If you're familiar, just getting over a cold, but hey, the show must go on. If you don't know who Chris Voss is, go Google him. You're a little bit behind, but that's okay. Hey, before we get started in today's show, go ahead and shout out where you're calling in from. Last week. Our session was global, we had folks from all over the place, so we'd love to hear where you're calling in from. I'm calling in from the East Bay, California, so go and give a shout out and we'll see who is here. Now, if you're returning to Gong Labs Live, thank you. Thanks for coming back and hanging out with us. And if it's your first time here, here's what Gong Labs Live is all about. It's the only show on LinkedIn bringing you real talk and data on sales. Every single week, I sit down with different sales leaders and sales pros to break down data backed sales insights that you can use in your approach. So if you want to increase your W2, IE: you want to make more money. If you want to break sales records at your company or maybe just like a little bit of edutainment on your Friday, then this is exactly where you want to be. We meet here every Friday at 9: 00 AM Pacific. And make sure you're following Gong on LinkedIn and you'll get a notification when we go live. All right, we have folks calling in from all over the place. We have Mexico, Palm Springs in the house. Germany, fantastic, that might be the long distance call. That's great. All right, well, today my guest is Galem Girmay, sales executive at GoContractor. What's going on, Galem?

Galem Girmay: Hello, Devin and everyone else. Exciting to be here. Happy Friday.

Devin Reed: Happy Friday to you. Galem, where are you calling in from?

Galem Girmay: I'm calling in from London, UK.

Devin Reed: Fantastic.

Galem Girmay: Yes.

Devin Reed: I have yet to be there or visit there, I should say, but it is on the list. Especially now that I've got both vaccines, I'm in the clear, it's time to catch a flight.

Galem Girmay: Yes. 100%.

Devin Reed: So Galem, I'm excited. You're one of my new friends, we met at... Getting you on the show is how we met, it's very exciting to me. So before we get into today's topic, I'd like to know, what is your sales superpower?

Galem Girmay: Well, some people would say it's my ability to whisper. But on a serious note, though, I think my sales superpower is my ability to bring in the tone in a conversation. Because I think the key to having a good conversation with someone is being able to bring in the tone that you want to make somebody feel a certain way. So managing the energy, managing the tone, the choice of words. So I think that's one of my sales superpowers.

Devin Reed: I like it. I like it. For folks watching, go ahead and shout out your sales superpower in the comments. Mine's the depth of my voice, I suppose, today. That's mine. That's my super power, if that has any power. Well, great. And how would you say, Galem, that ability... I'm kind of hearing mirroring, like mirroring tone, mirroring energy. Which is a phenomenal skill to have. How would you say that gives you an advantage in your sales role?

Galem Girmay: Well, it just puts me at a different level with the prospect. So as an example, I've had someone I tried to call a couple of weeks ago, and I could hear in the tone of his voice when he picked up the phone that he was in distress and there was something going on. And so I immediately picked up on that and lowered my energy and lowered my tone and was just like," It sounds like there's something going on. Is everything okay?" And he's like," Actually, no, I'm in the hospital." I'm like," Oh, okay, well, so sorry about the timing. Hope you're doing okay. Let me call you in a couple of weeks." He's like," Okay, thanks." And then we hung up. And that was it. Because I came in pretty hot into the conversation and was like, I'm excited, and this was a couple of weeks into my new role at Go Contractor. So I was like, I got this, I'm excited to make some phone calls. And then I get that one as a response. And I'm like, oh, okay. I got to chill out a little bit and meet him in the middle. Meet him where he's at.

Devin Reed: Yeah. Yeah, you came into the call understandably fired up, he was laid up. He was like," No, I can't. I can't meet you where you are, Galem. I'm not crosstalk." Well, that's great. And we've got people jumping in here saying my super power is listening, genuine curiosity. I think that's aligning with a lot of what you're saying as well. Mirroring, empathy. So you're in good company here, which is great, because the reason... Well, one of the reasons we wanted to bring you on the show is to talk about a very specific topic. And so, at Gong, we don't believe in battle of the sexes, but what I did want to do was look at the data to better understand how men and women in sales differ, so that we can learn from each other by analyzing their sales interactions. What do we have to learn? Surprisingly, the two groups were very similar to each other. They discuss the same topics in sales calls, they ask about the same amount of questions, and they even use emojis at about the exact same rate. Yes, I went that granular. I was like, I got to find a difference. And what was interesting was only one big thing emerged, and here's what we found, women in sales listen more than men. That was the big thing. They listened 16% more often in sales conversations. That's their super power, if you will. And I think that's kind of what you've been talking about too. If you weren't listening to that gentlemen laid up in the hospital, you wouldn't have picked up on those tones and those differences. And this is much more powerful than just validating that stereotype out there that women are better listeners or that men are not so great at listening. Because we know from our previous research as well that top performers listen more than they speak on sales calls. So this is one of the early sales research that we did at Gong. And it shows, in fact, that top reps listen 46% during a sales call, on average, and average reps are talking about 68%. Bottom reps are talking 72%. So you can see a really big gap there. And obviously this is a correlation but we can see that there's a really big trend. Now some other data that wasn't Gong, but was very interesting and related to this, there's some reports that Xactly has been putting out. They put out, and I believe it's an annual report, but they revealed from their survey data that women sales reps, and women leaders in sales, outperform men in quota attainment as well. So it might be shocking to some folks, not to me, my wife's in sales. She's fantastic at it. She's in customer success. She doesn't think she's in sales, she's in sales. And so I would just love to hear from you. We can get the slide out of here and go back to Galem here. What was your first thought when you saw this data? The listening more data?

Galem Girmay: Yeah. My first thought was, thank goodness that there's actually data behind this statement. Because I've heard other people saying it before, women are better listeners, they're better at all these things, and if there's no data to back that up then how can that really be the truth? And so I like the fact that there is actual data behind this, from Gong, that verifies the information out there. So it's like, it's true because you have analyzed all the data to make sure that this is the truth and we're not just making things up. Because I think that's one of the things that people might say," Oh, you're just saying that because you're a woman and you work in sales." And it's like," No, actually, there's data to back this up now. So here you go."

Devin Reed: I'm the same way. It's why we do what we do at Gong Labs, is to provide objective truth. Take a data set and say," Hey, is this true or not?" I can go around and say," Hey, gentlemen, with red beards are just phenomenal at sales," that doesn't make it true. We got some data to back that up and make sure that's actually accurate. And so I think you've made a lot of great points. What can sellers do to be a better listener? Or perhaps maybe there are some skills or maybe practices that you've put into play. And here's what I mean, when I first joined Gong, I was a top seller at my last company. I come to Gong, I start recording my calls. My first three calls, I had an 80% talk time, so I'm on that stat. I'm not making sales look any better from that stat. And I had to actually force myself to hit mute. I would talk, hit mute, to make myself be quiet. Is there anything like that, that maybe you've done Galem? I don't know if it's natural for you? Maybe you've just refined it or maybe you're more like me and you had to spend a little bit more time and energy to get better at it.

Galem Girmay: Yeah. So a few things for me is, definitely at times where I just want to jump in on something, whether that's on a presentation or a discovery call or a cold call, when I just want to jump in and say something, I do have to mute myself. That's sometimes. And I think the other thing is that we work in sales, but there are also other things outside of sales that can help us be better at our profession. So, as an example, I recently had someone, another Gongster, who was on my podcast. And who said, in the episode," How do you do that? How do you just ask the question and then shut up and let me answer it." And I was like," Well, I think part of it is because I work in sales and I have to practice this on a daily basis." So I think for those of you out there who have a podcast, you have got to practice that as well. Or if you do something else, maybe you have a side hustle, whatever the case might be. You are hanging out with friends. Think about how much you're speaking versus how much you're listening into that conversation. And then the biggest thing for me is just my natural curiosity about the other person on the other side. So if I'm generally curious about this other human being and what challenges that they're going through, what's keeping them up at night, and if I'm asking relevant questions. Because you can ask whatever questions you want, but it's got to be something that allows the other person to expand on it. And to your point earlier, Devin, about mirroring, is super important. And verifying and asking followup questions that are aligned with what they're talking about. And I think also planting the seeds for where the conversation could go next. So I think those are a few of the things that comes to mind, for me right now, of how to be a better listener is to just be generally curious about the other person, ask the relevant questions, and then planting the seeds for where the conversation can go next. And just allow them to expand on wherever direction that they go. And you have to follow that direction instead of trying to control it.

Devin Reed: Yeah. That's phenomenal advice. I was talking to Andrew Sykes, over at Habits At Work. If anyone's familiar with their work, they do a lot of really cool research around this. And he had some research he shared with me, which was kind of counterintuitive, I think, to how people perceive being a thought leader or an expert. So people often think," Hey, the more that I talk, the more information I give you, the more that you'll value me. You'll view me in a certain status." In fact, what the research showed was people trust others who ask questions. That's who they find interesting. That's who they find credible. And so that falls in line with exactly what you said. It's not about sharing a ton of information all the time, it's actually about gaining information, people value that more than not. All right, well, this is fantastic. We're going to move over to our hot takes. If you're ready.

Galem Girmay: I'm ready.

Devin Reed: All right. How can you tell if someone, maybe a buyer, isn't really paying attention to what you're saying?

Galem Girmay: Well, I think it's pretty obvious. They will, one, definitely not have their camera on. So you don't even know, you can see their responses, facial expressions. They're not unmuting themselves, they don't feel welcomed to have a conversation. And then I think some people are very open about not being interested. They might be on their phone or they might be looking at another screen or be distracted with something. So I think the cues are pretty obvious when we're in this virtual world of trying to sell, trying to have a conversation with someone, that they just won't be present. They won't be engaging in the conversation.

Devin Reed: How am I doing so far? What's my listening score?

Galem Girmay: On a scale from one to 10, 10 being the highest, you're a 10.

Devin Reed: Wow. Wow. I was hunting for a compliment. I would have settled for an eight, to be honest, because I got to juggle a couple of things here. But I'm doing my best.

Galem Girmay: Well you're doing really good.

Devin Reed: Alternatively, Galem, how do you show buyers that you're listening?

Galem Girmay: Yeah. I am on camera, first and foremost, so they can actually see my expressions. And I'm on camera throughout the presentation. So if we're in a presentation mode, I'm showing you the software, then I like to have my camera on because how else are they going to connect with me if all they're seeing is a screen with stuff on it. And they're hearing my voice talking through that or explaining something. And I think the addition to it is to try to have the camera on as much as possible. And then I, like I said earlier, I will mute myself just to make them aware that I'm in listening mode. And that's actually worked pretty well. So when they can see me being muted, that means that I'm listening and I'm paying attention to them. And then I think, taking notes. Actively listening, in a way. You can listen, and listen for the sake of giving a response to someone, or you can listen in order to process something and then come back, potentially, with an answer. And sometimes my answer is simply," I'm not sure. I don't know. Let me get back to you on that." And that's okay too, because I don't know everything and I'm comfortably fine with telling my prospects and buyers that." Great question, I love that you asked that, and expanded on why that's important to you. I don't have the perfect answer for you right now. So let me get back to you in my follow- up."

Devin Reed: I like that a lot. I liked that a lot. Not having the answer and admitting that also builds trust because no one knows at all. No one does. There's a really good question, we're going to take a question from Bianca. Galem, if it was a Forbes 100 Enterprise Company, so the stakes are high, and someone wasn't listening, would you call them out? Parentheses, nicely.

Galem Girmay: I would not call somebody out because I think it can create a lot of friction in the conversation. If anyone calls anybody out, whatever type of account, at whatever level that is... just the person I am, whether that's with a buyer or in a team meeting, or even with a friend or family member in the same room, I try not to call somebody out. Unless it's a racist remark or something that's out of this world. Then yes, I would call that person out. No questions asked. But I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't call somebody out, whether that's nicely or not, in a conversation. Because that can go in so many different directions, and yeah, I just wouldn't do that. I would do that later. I would have a conversation with the person separately because I don't know how they're going to react to whatever I need to call them out on. For not paying attention, as an example.

Devin Reed: Right, I agree. Calling someone out is almost never warranted, like you said, unless there's really an egregious error, if you will. And I agree with Tiff in the comments, to get their attention, I'll say their name. Yeah, that's what I'll do. I do a lot of group calls, a lot of presentations, one to many. I'll just," Hey Luke, what do you think?" Right after I'm done, if I think Luke's not paying attention. And you have to be ready too, that Luke might not come off mute. You might not get a response or they might say... the other thing to keep in mind," Hey, sorry. My camera's off and I'm on mute because I've got my two year old in one hand and a dog barking in the other. So I'm giving you all the attention I have." So we want to be empathetic there.

Galem Girmay: But I also think, just to add to that, I think setting the expectations in the beginning of the meeting of what they can look forward to. Because I've heard on the other side, I speak to my leaders, and they say, when we did mock presentations," Really appreciate, Galem, that you were able to set the expectations beforehand." Because sometimes leader on whatever level will come in and they're like," Oh, another meeting. Oh, another thing I need to listen to someone." And they're not feeling it. So if you can set the expectations beforehand, what the conversation is going to be about, how you would like this to be a two way conversation, then they know that and they know what to expect in the conversation. So if you're calling their name out, or if you're sharing a story to grab their attention, they know why you're doing that.

Devin Reed: Yeah. That's great. And that's good. I should have mentioned it too, I'll do that in the very beginning of a call of presentation. It's like," Hey, I know what my voice sounds like. I have no intention of talking 100% of the time today. So I will call... not call you out, I will call on you. I'll ask you to engage with me." And by having that preface, I've seen a lot more success. People are a little more eager because they've been primed for that. All right, we're going to play a quick game, we've got two games today. This is the first one. It's going to be called Fix That Phrase because sometimes, as sellers, we say phrases that buyers don't really want to hear. I'm going to share a couple of sales phrases and I want you to fix them, if you can, as quickly as possible. Okay?

Galem Girmay: Okay.

Devin Reed: This is not to rush you, but it's just because I want fast, gut answers. What does Galem really think? All right, so the phrase that we want to fix is, just wanted to check in. How would you fix that, Galem?

Galem Girmay: Just wanted to check in. I would not want to do that. I would much rather come with, what we say, some type of value to the other person and maybe share a new report. Or maybe share as the recent case study that aligns with something that they're dealing with. Or in the instance for me, I had a meeting with someone who I didn't know they were really keen on mental health. And so I found an article about that, this person being shouted out, it was part of the meeting. That was a reason for me to follow up with them instead of," Oh, hey, I just wanted to check in." It's like," Hey, I saw this, that you were mentioned for somebody who received an award for mental health in the workforce. Really thought that was great because I also am aligned with that. And when can we chat next time? Here are the things I want to talk about." So it's not like," Hey, just wanted to check in, how's your day going?" It's like," It's great."

Devin Reed: Great, thanks. Okay, bye. inaudible. Great, great advice. I like that a lot. All right, next one, number two. I haven't heard back from you, how would you fix that?

Galem Girmay: This doesn't feel good to me. If somebody sent me this email, haven't heard back from you, I'd be like," Yeah." I haven't heard back from you. I would much rather say the reason... I don't know. I just don't like this. I haven't heard back from you. How would I change this?

Devin Reed: Do you want to call a friend? I can help you.

Galem Girmay: No, I would probably say," Since the last time we've spoken, what's changed on your end? Do you have any changes since the last time we spoke?"

Devin Reed: That's a good one. There's some folks saying the same thing, I think, in the comments, which is, essentially what these are doing is throwing guilt. Hey, you didn't do something I expected, is how this reads. And I think also, the thing I noticed when I'm writing emails, and I always do one scan before I send it, is many sentences that start with I.

Galem Girmay: Or me.

Devin Reed: I haven't heard back from you. So I wanted something that you didn't do and the word you is naturally accusatory in that syntax. In that phrasing.

Galem Girmay: Yep.

Devin Reed: All right, last one. Did I catch you at a bad time?

Galem Girmay: Yeah. How would I change this? I would say," When might be a better time for us to connect?"

Devin Reed: Boom, right there. Quick and easy. It can be simple. It can be a quick answer. All right, thank you for. That's the first round we've ever had on the show, Fix That Phrase, I think you did great. You gave me a 10, I'm going to reciprocate, I think you get a 10. 5. Now We're going to go into the rapid fire before we wrap up here. So I'm going to read you a question, you have to answer in five seconds or less. I don't have a timer, I don't have a buzzer, so it's just honor system here on Gong Labs Live. Are you ready?

Galem Girmay: I'm ready.

Devin Reed: All right. Who is a must follow sales pro on LinkedIn?

Galem Girmay: I mean last week's guest, John Barrows.

Devin Reed: John Barrows, great answer. What's one podcast every sales person should listen to? Aside from Reveal The Revenue Intelligence podcast, hosted by Devin Reed.

Galem Girmay: I actually think they should not listen to another sales podcast. I think they should add something different to the mix because that's where a lot of growth can happen as well.

Devin Reed: I love that. What's your go- to? What's the, either the most recent one, if you feel comfortable sharing, or the one you just like, I always listen when they drop a new episode.

Galem Girmay: Morgan Ingram, 1Up Formula.

Devin Reed: Same. I just heard his with Corporate Bro. I'm halfway through because it's a long interview, fantastic. I just give him a shout out today on LinkedIn, actually, it was really good. All right, I'm breaking my own rules. I'm talking more than five seconds. What is your hype song that you go to when you're feeling down?

Galem Girmay: I don't really have one. That's the honest answer. I have multiple songs, it depends on the mood, what type of feel down I'm in at the moment. So I can give you genres, I can give you... Bachata is a lot of music I listen to. I sometimes go to Beyonce. Depends, you know?

Devin Reed: You can never go wrong with Beyonce's catalog. If you're up, if you're down, if you're getting ready to go out, she's got something for everyone. She's Queen Bey. What's something you think everyone should do to become the best version of themselves?

Galem Girmay: They should invest in themselves. They should spend a lot of time figuring themselves out before they start to try to figure other people out around them. Understand your values, understand your worth, don't settle for anything or anyone. Know what's important to you first.

Devin Reed: Love it. Last one, a piece of advice you want to give young women trying to shatter the glass ceiling. Or all women, doesn't have to be young, all women.

Galem Girmay: Build your network and connect with people who have done the things that you would like to do in the future. Or think you might want to do in the future. And have conversations. And don't judge them by the cover. Generally try to get to know people, that's what I would recommend.

Devin Reed: Phenomenal advice, phenomenal advice. And there's a lot of people, I think, in that network. If you're looking in the comments, a lot of people agreeing, providing good ideas. You don't always have to agree with each other too, we can have constructive disagreements, I think that's also really important. Galem, you were fantastic. Thank you so much for joining us on the show, for sharing your wisdom, your expertise. I know that you have a podcast called What's Your Legacy, and you're so humble that you didn't shout that out, but I don't know that it's also a sales podcast, necessarily. So maybe the question dictated that. But other than that, where can folks find you? Is there anything else that you'd like to shout out?

Galem Girmay: So I'm obviously on LinkedIn, so Galem Girmay, connect with me there. Also Instagram, Twitter, same name, Galem Girmay. Or Galem is the right way, Devin, to say it. So you're good. Yeah, those are my places.

Devin Reed: Fantastic. Well, hey, I follow you. I connect with you. I'll find you on Instagram. I'm not super active on the'Gram, it's pretty much just pictures of my kid and my dog, but happy to connect with you there too. Thanks so much for joining us, Galem, and thank you everybody else who tuned in today. I hope that you're feeling fired up. I hope that you got something out of this episode. Make sure that you follow Gong on LinkedIn, you'll get a notification next time that we go live, which will be in two weeks. So I'm going to go on vacation next week, it's Memorial day weekend, so I hope you're doing something similar. And what we're going to do is replay last week's episode with John Barrows. So we are going to show that, but in two weeks, we'll be back with episode three. Thanks so much and until next time, see you everybody.


What’s your sales superpower? Special guest Galem Girmay joins Gong Labs Live! to discuss a woman's secret superpower in sales. It’s a highly valuable skill… any guesses? Join us now and unleash the power!