The sales space is a huge industry but it needs more diversity. In this episode, DeJuan Brown talks about how we remove the barriers to sales for people of color.
Studies show that 78.9% of salespeople in all industries are white, 11.2% are tan, and the remaining percentage is divided into various ethnicities. There is so much success in sales but there are barriers – both visible and not so visible to many.
The barriers in sales
- Job descriptions can become a barrier, especially for black people. These are individuals who do not have much experience in a specific space. Some jobs need 7-10 years of experience before one can even get a nod for an interview.
- There’s also the perception that sellers don’t make money and that a career in sales is just a plan B, C, or D.
- In some communities, there’s still a stigma on salespeople. They’re the ones you shut your door to, they are the car dealers, the door-to-door insurance man, and other undesirable roles.
Changing the mindset
- Sales leaders and professionals who have experience in sales and who have seen how it can support families for generations have to be vocal. They need to speak up, and start talking to break the stigma.
- Salespeople who are achieving success in the sales world need to put their success on display to attract other people into the sales space. It’s essential to help these people to make it in sales and get themselves past the door.
- Some people already have the skills to get into sales and succeed in it but they lack the right mindset. As sales leaders, your goal is to put that spark in them, to bring them along for the ride, and teach them what they can do.
- There is a need to attract a new generation of salespeople and when you do that, you need to have a place for them to grow. They need guidance on how to navigate the sales space to avoid the pitfalls.
- Job description is a barrier and many companies today are eliminating people right off the bat because of it. Organizations are looking for years and years of experience that many do not have. What they do have is the right attitude but they don’t get to show their tenacity off because they’ve been cut off by the experience requirement.
- Young black people who want to get into the sales space need good mentors. They need to be taught the truth that sometimes companies are looking for people who can do the job right and who have the right attitude.
- Aspiring salespeople need to lean into communities, gain confidence from their mentors and have the humility to ask for help in improving their skills.
- Companies right now are looking for ways to make gender-neutral job descriptions. DeJuan, however, would like to see that same effort to create job descriptions that wouldn’t box people out.
- DeJuan encourages sales leaders today to keep learning from the people before them, to keep learning and sharpening one another, look for ways to help others get into the sales space, and ensure that these new salespeople are properly equipped.
“Diversity: How Do We Remove the Barriers to Sales for People of Color?” episode resources
De Juan and other great minded individuals who were also mentioned in this podcast created a community called Sales for the Culture. It’s a community to attract and empower black people in technology sales. Check out the community on LinkedIn.
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