SIC 013: How Sharing Our Success Stories Can Draw People of Color to Sales

Donald Kelly, Kristi Strickland, draw more people of color into sales

Today’s on Selling in Color Donald is joined by Kristi Strickland, she has worn many different hats in the sales industry throughout her career, and we’re thrilled to hear her give her perspective on how we can draw more people of color into the sales industry.

Kristi, like many others, had a warped understanding of sales as a child

  • Kids often think sales are purely the people selling door-to-door vacuum cleaners, which gives them an assumption that a sales career would not provide long-term results or benefits.
  • While Kristi went to school to pursue medicine, a small interaction with her advisor completely changed her career trajectory.

Once she joined sales, Kristi realized the benefits of sales positions

  • Once she got into sales, Kristi saw that there are many roles available, and she could move around to different positions until she found a great fit.
  • Kristi had a preconceived notion that salespeople had to be very aggressive, like a car salesman, but that’s far from the truth.
  • Lots of sales reps make millions of dollars a year. But whether you want to be in sales for money, be a mentor, or take on leadership and sales enablement roles, there is a position that suits your goals.

How can POC salespeople share their sales success stories?

  • Teaching people of color about the many avenues and places for success will draw more people of color into the industry.
  • Be a bit obnoxious about your success. Talking about your achievements shows others what they can do for themselves.
  • Recruit friends and those we know to fill roles. Many companies have referral bonuses, and with the myriad of diversity and inclusion initiatives, companies are hiring for people of color.
  • Make it clear a person doesn’t have to have ten years of experience to start. The idea is that you get in here, crush it, and quickly move up the ladder. 
  • Talk to the younger generation; make them aware of sales options that they have.

What is Kristi’s parting advice?

  • Sales doesn’t have to be your life career. It can be a way to stack up money and then pursue your passion.
  • Kristi’s major takeaway? Don’t be afraid to try sales, especially if you’re a person of color. 
  • Take advantage of the resources like Sales For the Culture and The Sales Evangelist Podcast that teach you skills to carry yourself as a professional in the industry.

If you want to get in touch with Kristi, connect with her on LinkedIn. Or, if you just want to hear more of the sales experience Kristi has to offer, check out her guest episode of The Sales Evangelist.

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