Posts belonging to Category minority entreprenuers

Resolved: I Will Be in the Top 20% in 2018! Gotta Change Something!

2018 is here!  If you are like many sales professionals, you may need to change something…right now! Save your job and preserve your income! Focus high, or not at all! Here are some ways how you can be in the 20%! So many have used this compilation to change their status.


If you are in sales you have most likely heard about the following phrase:

“80% of your production comes from 20% of your sales force”

You may also have heard this phrase:

“20% of your sales activities will generate 80% of your sales results”

I am quite sure that you have heard both of these.  More importantly you should figure out a way to make both of statements work for you.

Before we start examining that, we would like to recognize Vilfredo Pareto (1848 – 1923) of Italy who started this all in 1906.  He used it initially to explain the fact that 80% of the wealth of his country was in the hands of 20% of the population, also known as the rich.  This is called Pareto’s Principle and you may also hear of it as the ’80-20 Rule’.  It is used in everything from sales, to sports, to personal relationships, and of course wealth.

I have found this principal to be correct for the most part and that is why I’d like to take some time to examine it. Stated simply, a small number of are responsible for a large percentage of the effect.  Most examples use a figure of 20 to 80 or 20:80.

It is exact?  Of course not, but it simple and easy to understand that the relationship between what we put in, and what we get out, is not balanced.

Be the Best!

Successful Black sales professionals stand out.  If you are able to perform at a level that makes you a valuable asset to your employer, you are to be commended, as the ‘environmental’ resistance (general economics, racial preference, and racial prejudice) that you encounter is omnipresent.

Being successful is not enough as your objective is to be the best, and that designation does not recognize race.  To be the best, you need to be in the top 20%.  If you are making money that is fine as well, but overall you still need to be in the top 20%.

Strategies to make it there are important.  Remember, whether you are struggling, or currently successful, if you want to change the result, you must change your behavior!

Here are a few activities that will help vault you to the top:

Read them and select one or two (or several) and give them a try.

Increase your Effectiveness

The second phrase at the beginning of this document illustrates the 80:20 rule of the Pareto Principle by indicating as stated earlier that what we put into something might not be what we eventually get out.  Put primary priority on the items that increase your effectiveness. Recognize that your efforts need to favor those activities that “make a significant difference”.

Author and self-effectiveness guru Steven Covey urges us to “Put first things first”.  Indicating that you should undertake your activities on the basis of importance rather than urgency.

This would mean that you would spend working hours doing some of your important prospecting, and move your expense account (something I was terrible at) preparation to the evening.  It would mean that you would spend valuable time doing customer problem solving first, relationship building next, then the various and sundry activities that are urgent, but not important.

Below I’ve listed some good suggestions with links to past BSJ posts that will make a difference in moving into or staying in the 20%.

There is a lot of information here, yet the most important part of the process is to recognize the importance of changing something.  If you want to change the results, you must change your behavior.  Remember, ‘you can lie about the numbers, but the numbers don’t lie.’

For 2018 change something! Be the best, and always be effective! You can reach me at

Networking: 4 Minutes to Turn Around Your Future!


Networking is a form of prospect “sourcing” that allows you access and exposure to a number of prospects through some arranged medium. This could be an association meeting, a trade show, or otherwise.  It is a true exposure, meaning you are face-to-face with an influencer or potential buyer as opposed to trying to get past a gatekeeper. Networking is also using your contacts, and theirs to meet potential clients. Let’s talk about what networking is and what it can do.


Networking – The Skill

Networking is also a skill set that can yield strong results efficiently.  Quick reads as to whether someone is receptive during the personal contact will help you determine who is an immediate prospect, and whom you need to work on.

That means that although you do not get benefit of racial anonymity, as a Black sales professional you get a chance to impress and inform. If you are solid and you are armed with some of the items below, the networking introduction might be all you need to secure an appointment.

This document is short and to the point and discusses how to prepare for a networking event.  It gives some great guidance about the process, objectives, and preparations.

Networking – The Activity

Networking is an activity that is casual and non-threatening and takes place in many settings. The forums (associations, chambers, etc.) are designed to make these comfortable and easy places to have relevant business discussions.  I would make the statement that if one does not want to be involved with entrepreneurs and sales representatives, they would never attend such  events.

Here are some examples of networking opportunities that are available to sales representatives:

Local Chamber of Commerce Meetings – There is one for each significant municipality.

Trade Association Meetings – Retailers, construction companies, wholesalers, transportation firms, etc. all have some group they are involved with.

Trade Shows – These are great sources of leads with many designed put a particular trade or industry group in the room with those particular organizations that supply and vend to them.

General Networking Events – Usually pre-arranged ‘Meet and Greets’, business cocktail hours, etc.  Usually sponsored by some organization that stands to benefit from getting local organizations together, these allow for easy face-to-face contact with others and can be profitable, yet are not as focused as the others above.

Your event or forum should be thoroughly investigated to avoid wasting your time.  You might ask a couple of relevant questions:

  • How many of your current key clients will be there? They can introduce you to many others, and that is a great way to get credibility and get the immediate referral. Do not be afraid to ask a client to introduce you to some of their peers.
  • Does the group have your type of prospect/customer there? Research the group well for your specific target prospect.

Three Minutes of Fame

You only need that brief opportunity, 3 minutes, to be successful if you consider a few very important points:

  • Have a solid easy to follow introduction that serves you and your company well.  Practice it!
  • Know your ‘elevator speech’, which is your value statement. This is called an ‘elevator speech’ because you have just enough time to tell it between floors to a prospect.
  • Have a closing line prepared. This is the one, which gets you further contact or the appointment.
  • Have your informational/promotional material to hand out “prepackaged” if possible.
  • Keep solid notes and data records.  This is extremely important.

Proper Follow-Up Is the Key

You must do timely and effective follow up to have the whole event be meaningful.  Follow-up with a note or e-mail as soon as is practical.  I prefer a note if possible as I covered in Black Sales Journal 2/3, “Make Yourself Memorable”.

Also follow-up on any promise you have made regarding information or referrals within, or outside, your organization.  Strike while the iron is hot!

Attempt to do these events on a monthly schedule, or try to do one a quarter to increase your scope and prospect base.

Remember as we have said before, be personable and tactical, and you could find yourself sourcing more prospects than you know what to do with.

Give it a try.  Please let us know how it works. You can reach me at