Sales Representative Job Description– Individual needed to convince others to do something that they otherwise would not do! Job Duties - To make this happen, you need to be able to create interest, develop relationships, clarify the product/service and its uses, close the deal, and service the customer. Not capable of being done by a machine or robot.
Why Aren’t There More Blacks in the Sales Profession?
As a Black sales professional, or an aspirant one, you may have wondered the answer to this question. As the question is intriguing, I attempted to research it on the basis of items written and published. There is not much discussion in print. The only citation evident appears to have been a doctoral work done in the late ‘70s. As that is somewhat stale I will pose some observations on this issue for 2011. In a profession that is “rubber meets the road” for most organizations involved in manufacturing and distributing durable goods, providing financial services, and others looking to put their products/services in the hands of business to B2B end users, a simple observance would tell you that Blacks are underrepresented. There are many reasons.
I will outline some major ones:
Many organizations don’t seek out Black Sales Professionals to hire – There are organizations that do recognize the benefit of the Black sales professional and actively hire and recruit. More organizations need formal recruitment programs. In some cases it is just racial discrimination. As I advise below (Difficult Assignments) don’t fall into the trap of being “dedicated” to reaching the Black B2B market, unless your product is primarily used there. You need every opportunity to succeed.
Lack of Confidence – Based on the fact that most buyers are white, the Black sales professional often has many concerns regarding acceptance. This can be a serious barrier. Mentoring, training, and general support can help here.
Difficult Assignments – Often when a Black sales professional is hired, they are more likely to get a difficult assignment. Sometimes that assignment is related to an area or territory which has languished, or a company trying to reach Black businesses. Black sales professionals should be very clear about the territory that they are entering and what is expected upon hire and deployment. Give yourself a fair chance.
Lack of mentoring - It is well observed that we need more mentors, and there are many programs out there attempting to provide more mentoring. We need to increase this activity to fill the void, as it is obvious that there are deficiencies in this regard. Organizations need to provide more mentoring, yet mentoring from outside the organization can be effective as well.
Lack of Training and Support - Organizations who hire should attempt to provide the proper training and support. As they have made the first move, now they need to give the Black sales professional the opportunity to succeed. Black Sales professionals should request details about training, and ongoing support prior to accepting a position.
Retention of Black Sales Professionals is Difficult – Much of this is based on what is above. A solid Black sales professional has many talents, and if thwarted by the points shown above, they will move to other sales positions, and possibly to other occupations. Having them move out of sales positions keeps the numbers anemic.
The Professional Sales Outlook 2012 – 2018
The importance of this issue is based on the fact that as many occupations languish, professional sales is projected to grow through 2018. Let’s quickly look at the number of sales positions available. The source of this information is the United States Department of Labor. This link will take you to the actual report. This report projects through 2018. A quick look at the sales profession in this jobs report will show the following information:
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Mfg 1,973,000
Sales Whsl and Mfg (Excl Tech and Sci) 1,540,000
Sales Whsl and Mfg (Tech and Sci) 433,000
The jobs pay well in the overall also:
- Wage estimates ex tech/sci– Median $51,920, with the 75th percentile showing $74,310 in the overall. This is wage, and does not include commissions or bonuses.
- Wage estimates tech/sci – Median $71,300 with the 75th percentile showing $100,910 overall. This is wage, and does not include commissions or bonuses.
Total sales employment for 2018 is projected to rise to 2,116,400 by 2018 for a 7% projected increase. All of the numbers shown are from the May 2009 DOL Report. Almost all sales positions have some arrangement regarding bonus or commission, although some sales positions are commission only.
In Summary In a country that has a reduced focus on manufacturing products, the occupation of sales has increased in importance. This importance comes from selling US manufactured goods as well as goods manufactured outside the US to businesses in our country. This is basically the essence of distribution. You will note that the positive effects of mentoring are mentioned in the major areas above.
You can access Black Sales Journal 1/27, Do You Need A Mentor, Actually You Probably Need Two! Also, as we talk about finding that new sales job in Black Sales Journal 1/24, 5 Suggested Internet Sites For Finding That New Sales Job. If you are an accomplished sales professional, consider mentoring an upcoming Black Sales professional. It is the type of giving back that we really need. Thanks for reading, and your comments are always welcome. Contact me at Michael.Parker@BlackSalesJournal.com.