There are numerous reports on the disparities of wealth between blacks and other groups. These disparities often highlight the differences in wages and assets but what is missing is the assessment of what got people to those places. I once heard that we don’t get what we deserve, we get what we negotiate. When you are sitting in a job interview you are, in essence, in a sales meeting. You are promoting yourself to a buyer, which happens to be the company.
Selling requires confidence and comfort in what you are selling. Without these you won’t be able to sell anything. If you take a look at our culture, you would see the lack of “sales-ability” running rampant. In business we often see much lower sales in our businesses than that of other-raced businesses offering the exact same product.
According to BlackDemographics.com, “Black owned businesses only make up 7% of all U.S firms and less than a ½ percent of all U.S business receipts. 26.4 million Adult blacks in America produce $135 million in gross business receipts while $10 million adult Asians produce $506 million in gross business receipts.”
These numbers is a snapshot of a skill we are lacking. I often run into black entrepreneurs who have great ideas and passion. But one thing I often see they are lacking is comfort with sales. More blacks work in non-revenue generating positions and non-productive-measured positions than any other positions. We rank the highest employed in government, hospitality and service positions.
When we own businesses, we tend to rely on paid advertising (rather than publicity marketing) or depend on sales people to grow our businesses. What most of us fail to realize is, people in sales people rank the highest in income and wealth. It’s true! We shy away from speaking publicly or one-on-one to potential customers about our businesses. I know, it is a fearful position, especially when the position is commission-based. We see much more applicants of non-sales positions than sales positions, even though sales positions offer the greatest financial rewards.
Here are five quick things you should do in order to help you with selling:
- View yourself as a problem-solver
- Schedule debates with your family or friends on your product. Make them be the “negative” while you act as the “affirmative”. This is a serious exercise. Your sales skills will grow!
- Role with a total stranger on selling your product (Ask them for their help. You would be surprised how many strangers wouldn’t mind doing so. They see it as a focus group. At the end, they often buy from you or at least research you.
- Strike up a conversation with a stranger about anything (don’t try to sell)
- Speak the benefits of your product or service to yourself in the mirror for 10 days
You have to emotionally detach yourself from your product and intellectually attach yourself to it. Know in your mind that it makes sense to be on the market but don’t get your feelings hurt if someone criticizes it or chooses not to purchase it. Move on. The average sales conversion is 1-3%. This means that you have to expose 100 people to your product before 1-3 of them would buy.
However, what you must quickly grasp and overcome is sales is the heartbeat of any business, and those that do well at it are greatly rewarded financially. You have to get comfortable with your product and learn how to sell its benefits. You have to be willing to hear “no” and not be discouraged. You have to get comfortable getting through lean financial times until the world learns who you are. You have to remain consistent regardless of the market’s landscape.
Sell your idea. Sell your product. Sell your business. Soon enough, your customers will be the ones subconsciously selling for you!