Sales is for everyone. The truth, however, is that it still has a long way to go in terms of diversity. In this episode, Jaunai Walker joins Donald Kelly as they talk about why we don’t see more black women in sales.
- Jaunai Walker is in the medical sales industry and she’s been in pharmaceutical sales for about 13 years. Throughout her entire experience in sales, there have only been a few instances that she saw black women in the industry.
- Culturally, sales wasn’t seen as something that’s viable because of the frequent ups and downs. There is not much consistency in sales.
- From an early age, we are taught that consistency is the source of steady income.
- Not all people realize that sales isn’t something we should be afraid of. In fact, a lot of sales skill sets today are important. Sales skill sets are something that one doesn’t have to really dive and learn because most of these skill sets are already innate.
- Since we were kids, we were already learning how to get what we wanted. Knowing how to get what we want is a critical skill set for salespeople.
- There are good days and bad days in sales. There will be times that you won’t be able to get your sales goals but in the grand scheme of things, it’s still one of the most rewarding careers that one could have.
- Black women today can take advantage of the people who paved the way for them to get into the sales industry. They now have mentors who can help and guide them.
- There’s always been a stigma on sales and it’s important that we reduce that stigma, especially for black women.
Are women paid less?
- Jaunai believes that it’s not just the pay but women are also chipped with the opportunities for growth in the sales field as well. Many still look at black women and see them as the aggressive type. They don’t want to scare the salesforce by putting black women in an executive position.
- Sometimes, it’s even because of the appearance. Jaunai shares that she couldn’t easily wear her natural hair out at the beginning because people looked at her differently. She was also called the Obama Girl by her white counterpart.
- The downside to these obstacles is that you start doubting yourself. On the upside, however, you would eventually start showing up ready to fight for your job.
- Jaunai decided to come on strong and took her stand. She wore her hair naturally, it was her way of being authentic and it didn’t impact her numbers in sales.
Changing the opportunity gap
- If you have a seat at the executive’s table, you need to be aware not only of the opportunities but also of the responsibilities. Don’t forget what you’re supposed to do which is helping others.
- Don’t be tied with the thought that you don’t want to be seen as the person who just wants to bring in more people who look like you.
- You need to become more visible. When you see other people in the industry who share the same color, go up to them and strike up a conversation. Try to form a connection because that’s part of your responsibility.
- Sales is a great industry to be in. So, don’t be afraid to show up because the financial reward is here.
- When you find yourself in the industry, make sure to find the people who are willing to give you tips and share their knowledge with you.
“Why Don’t We See More Black Women in Sales” episode resources
Reach out and follow Jaunai Walker on LinkedIn.
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