SIC 024: Do I Need to “Suppress My Culture” to Succeed In Sales?

Donald Kelly

Because people of color only make up 20% of the sales community, there’s a perception that we need to “fit in” to be successful. But, do you need to suppress culture to thrive in your organization? The short answer: heck no.

“Fitting in” betrays the entire point of diversity. 

  • Your company might think you need to show certain behaviors to be successful, especially depending on the area you sell in.
  • However, the diversity people of color bring to an organization provokes diversity of thought and experiences that could be invaluable to the company’s success.
  • If you find yourself in a situation where a boss wants you to do certain things to fit in, it’s probably a place you don’t want to be.

Suppressing your culture doesn’t help your bottom line.

  • You might want to prove yourself in the organization and prove people wrong. While you certainly can, remember that you have no obligation to prove yourself when others do not.
  • If you’re hitting quota, nobody cares. If you’re able to bring in the largest deals in the organization, nobody cares. You can put your head down and hustle, letting your numbers speak for themselves.
  • You’re not there just for the company; you’re there for your family and your own success. 
  • You can’t always change someone’s views because it has to be up to that person to make a change.

You’re advocating for the next sales generation of people of color.

  • As a person of color in a predominantly white space, you’re pioneering for the students and other incoming people to understand they have the potential for success in the sales industry.
  • You’re forging a path for those who come after you. You aren’t just providing for your family; you’re showing the current youth that they can do great things and break barriers.
  • Ultimately, make sure you’re at a company where you like to be. Find somewhere you fit in and feel comfortable.

Check out Sales for the Culture to join a community of people of color in the sales industry.

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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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