SIC 020: Overcoming Cultural Biases Within the Sales Community

Wendell Jordan Jr, Donald Kelly, overcome instances of cultural bias

While diversity initiatives, societal shifts, and focused efforts have helped many underrepresented communities join the professional workforce, many people of color still have to face immense cultural biases in their work. In today’s episode of Selling in Color, Donald is joined by digital marketing consultant Wendell Jordan Jr. to learn how he’s faced and overcome instances of cultural bias.

He experienced cultural bias while selling in New York:

  • Wendell noticed he and other people of color were pigeonholed and sent to specific demographical areas, keeping him away from more affluent (and white) neighborhoods. 
  • Wendell doesn’t think his managers were racist, and they might’ve done it to make him more comfortable. But that doesn’t make it okay.
  • His manager assumed something with their own limiting beliefs, and expressed them on Wendell.

How did Wendell handle the situation?

  • Many people would feel uncomfortable confronting someone about cultural bias, but Wendell wasn’t.
  • He wanted to do something about the experience. When he sees situations like this arise, he feels the need to say something. Because it just isn’t right. 
  • His intention wasn’t to turn the ship upside down but to see if something different could be done and make a positive change.
  • People of color tend to want to make people feel comfortable, often at the expense of their own comfort. Overcoming that feeling to address cultural bias in the workplace is necessary.

Why are there so few people of color in the business world?

  • When door-to-door sales first started in the early 1900s, it was considered a sophisticated job. One that white people believed was too sophisticated for people of color.
  • Culturally, people of color have a limiting belief that they don’t have the ability or know-how to do the job.
  • Many major companies hire based on inside connections. And until there are people inside those companies to begin creating a culture of inclusivity, it won’t just happen.

Wendell relies on his ability to identify other cultures to cultivate relationships.

  • A significant component of selling is just being able to relate to people and embracing other cultures. And there is a narrative that people of color are incapable of that.
  • Wendell’s final advice or takeaway? Be proud of your color. The diversity people of color bring to any sales culture is key, and the worst thing we could do is water that down because we’re afraid of not being accepted.

Want to get in touch with Wendell? Connect with him on LinkedIn or send him an email at wendell@jordanmarketingconsultants.com.

To listen to Wendell’s guest episode of The Sales Evangelist, check it out here.

This episode is brought to you in part by Skipio.

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Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound. Other songs used in the episodes are as follows: The Organ Grinder written by Bradley Jay Hill, performed by Bright Seed, and Produced by Brightseed and Hill.

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