Posts belonging to Category Solving Racial Preference

The Raw Truth About Your Business Relationships!

TrustMany years ago I had a meeting with a buyer to discuss adding another line of business to his account.  I felt that I could save him money, and I felt I could make some money for my company and me as well.  He was always an easy person to talk to, and I measured my relationship with him at to be at the highest level.  As his need for the product was high, this might just be a matter of timing.  He was accepting proposals from three vendors in total.

I went to him, presented a ‘death grip’ (a proposal that had price and product that could not be denied) and his response was, “I am going to stay where I am on this one.  You price is good, and I like your organization, but maybe next time.


Almost every business relationship has a limit, and it is usually because of the trust factor.  When the requisite level of trust is absent, the resulting trust deficit might be based on the sales professional, and in many cases, it will be based on the company that sales professional represents. Either way it ‘stops’ the sales process in a way that does not result in any revenue changing hands.

In the case above, the buyer did not have enough confidence in either me, or my organization, to let money change hands.  Getting the order means getting over this “hump”.  Obviously this was a learning situation for me.

The Trust Deficit

“Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”

Zig Ziglar

No one wants to think that they are not trusted, but usually this is not personal …this is business!  You have not necessarily done any wrong, but you may still have work to do getting rid of the trust deficit

This obstacle is seldom meant to beckon that you aren’t trustworthy, it is meant to show the relationship is not as solid and intimate as you thought.  You can overcome this lack of trust, and should not take it personally.

Are You At a Disadvantage?

Black sales professionals should assume they are at a disadvantage until it is proven otherwise.   Let me explain that.  Being at a disadvantage means that you have work to do.  Assume you do not have all of the trust necessary to close the deal, but the good part is that you are in the game.

Trust is an essential factor to consummate a business relationship, and the raw truth is that when you are Black or another minority, you need to work continuously to make sure that trust is present as you may be lacking one of the most important aspects of a positive business relationship, something I call preference.  If you will remember from earlier of issues of Black Sales Journal, specificallyBSJ 12/27/2010 Preference, Prejudice, and Perceptions and Your Customer, and BSJ 12/12/2011 Racial Preference in Actionto name an important few, preference is important.  It is at the top, and the bottom, of any business relationship.

Improper Racial CommentsPreference is ‘socially’ legal. Preference is still different from “racial preference” as you will see if you read the above articles.  Racial preference is vexing, and is everything wrong with business.  Racial preference is racial prejudice!

I will speak more on this important item in a moment.

Building Trust

How do you get the trust you need.  How do you generate the most complete relationship?  Well, I am going to point you in the direction of a couple of in-depth articles on building the trustful relationship between you and the customer:

Sales professional and CustomerBlack Sales Journal 7/11/2011- Deepening Your Customer Relationships – The Holy Grail for the Black Sales Professional

Read this to know how to construct and maintain the strongest relationships.  Remember, relationships are everything.

Black Sales Journal 1/20/2011 – Deepening Your Customer Relationships Part 2

Read this one to gain access to a simple customer profile that you can change as you see necessary, and other tools to help you record and recognize the relationship and its strength.

The Role of Racial Preference

Racial preference is essentially racial prejudice, and there is frankly no other way to state it.  Are you at a disadvantage?  The answer is ‘possibly’.

We need to face the fact that there are many buyers who could care less about your color, and believe in fairness.  Many more believe that they do, but are affected by forces that they don’t even recognize.

That is the nature of racial prejudice.  It is easily hidden from view, and with that in mind I suggest you always assume you are at a disadvantage.

Read about it in the articles I cite, you will recognize it, and learn to make the proper assumptions.

Relationship Building 101

Build a relationship for all of the reasons cited in these posts, and put your energy and resources toward making sure that you cement together a solid, enduring relationship founded in trust.  Deliver on your promises and commitments and you will create the underpinnings of a trusting relationship.

Ask the customer how you are doing…get meaningful feedback from this important relationship.  More in Black Sales Journal 3/12/2012, Ask Your Customer for Feedback.  You will be amazed at how the customer begins to start to develop an affinity for you if you will put yourself on the line like this.

Be the best at what you do, and remember you cannot win without your customer’s trust, and relationships are everything.

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Race and Your Resume: “Race Neutral” or “Resume Whitening”!

I read an article which caught my eye about a week ago. The topic was one that I have approached here in Black Sales Journal. Should a Black professional alter, or racially cleanse their resume to get an interview? The answer to me is simple…. it is an unadulterated YES! Is it unfortunate that this practice might be necessary, but even in organizations that indicate that they are promoting diversity and equal opportunity, racial preference and racial prejudice happen.

This is a solid and interesting study. This is a study credited to Sonia King, Katy DeCelles, Andras Tilcsik, and Sora Jun for the Administrative Science Quarterly, January 22, 2016

Here is the link to the study:


I am going to rerun the Black Sales Journal article which was originally done in 2011, and published again each year. You will see why it is less effective to “whiten” the resume now, but still important to “scrub” this tool.

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If you are like many sales professionals you may be looking for a new position for any number of reasons.  If so, you undoubtedly recognize that the resume’ is the window to your qualifications, and even though it has it’s good and bad points as a tool, it is necessary.

That brings us to the notion that the resume is the ‘crow bar’ that opens a crack in the door to give you consideration and, hopefully an interview. Without the resume’ a hiring manager or human resource representative will have no idea of your talents, or your ability to display them.  Which prompts the question ‘du jour’, should your resume’ be ‘race neutral’?

What is Race Neutral?

‘Race neutral’ is a term used frequently in education to describe the basis for educational policy that supposedly ignores race as a determining factor.  In this case, I am going to use ‘race neutral’ to indicate that your race is not disclosed or detectable.  This might mean the ‘scrubbing’ the resume’ or other correspondence of determinants of race.

I know you are not going to ask why ‘race neutral’, but for those who might wonder I point again to the primary objective: Getting in front of the manager for an interview.  Once there you will at least be able to begin to showcase your values, your abilities, and the fact that you can work in the employer’s workplace, or any other environment.

I believe that the having a race neutral resume was something that helped me early in my career and has helped many a Black professional.  Assuring racial anonymity by means of avoiding references to race, racial affiliations of non-work groups, or activities, was the norm for many professionals of color, but… the world has changed to a large degree.  The primary catalyst for this change is the business-networking site LinkedIn.

The “LinkedIn” Effect

LinkedIn is a major force in the job theater globally boasting over 259 million users in more than 200 countries, as of the end of 2014.  The networking site has grown exponentially over the last ten years, although it is might be pressed to make money, its impact on the job scene for members is undeniable.  Also, once y0u have your coveted sales job, its use as a tool to help you gather information to build relationships is undeniable.

A well-constructed LinkedIn profile is a basic necessity in the sales world, and maybe in most of the business world now.  You can find out pertinent information about your future employer, your coveted clients, as well as your competition.  You can use it to apply for professional jobs as well as take advantage of its reach to keep in touch with colleagues, follow companies that you admire, and be involved in business interest groups.

The pertinent question is whether you should elect to put a picture in your profile to be viewed by associates, potential customers, potential employers, and anyone else curious about “what the heck” you look like.

If you don’t have a picture in LinkedIn, you stir the question of “why not”?  Is it a fair question?  No!  Fair or not, this question that is probable!  Here is why:  As with social media, even though LinkedIn is not considered social media, there are always people out there who don’t mean others well.  When someone withholds a “simple” picture there may be something amiss.  In LinkedIn, without a picture, if you ever ask someone to “link” with you and they are not totally familiar with your name, they may avoid approval, as they may believe you not to be who you are.  Should you build a profile on this wonderful tool if you are going to generate suspicion and potential credibility issues by not including a picture?  You will have to answer that.

I believe in the power of a properly constructed LinkedIn profile, and in the usefulness of this tool.  Racial anonymity can play in your favor, or can play against you if they are looking for a Black sales professional.  I think LinkedIn as a tool provides enough benefit and exposure that your will still be an ultimate beneficiary.

As a matter of fact, for many technical, technical sales, as well as other selected professional positions, Black professionals (especially Black females) who have solid credentials are sought out, and even coveted.  In those situations, the pictures are “appetizers”.  As you guess, this situation is controversial, but deserves discussion.  The next couple of topics will show you why.

The Applicant Selection Process – A, B, C, and D (Discard)

Let’s revisit the hiring process. A hiring manager or human resource representative potentially sees hundreds of resume’s to fill one position.  Remember the first goal, which is to get in for a personal face-to-face interview.  Your charm, skills, and ability to respond to questions and situations will be your tools, but you have to be able to showcase them.

If you follow some simple logic, many of these resumes are going into the ‘D’ stack, as they lack the basic qualifications that were advertised.  Some are going into the ‘B’ and ‘C’ stack as they have many of the qualifications, but are unlikely to be contacted, as there appears to be better candidates available.

Then there is the ‘A’ stack.  This stack has candidates who meet the basic qualifications, and have some points that create attraction to the reviewer.  As a reviewer you start at the top of the ‘A’ Stack and work downward.

Remember, the process of separating into stacks (A, B, C, and D) includes personal input on the part of the manager or HR representative.  This area of discretion is a “wild card” for the manager or HR rep.  You must end up in the ‘A’ stack, and hopefully at the top of it to get a strong opportunity to be interviewed.  I hope you recognize that almost anything can put you in the wrong stack, so don’t give anyone the excuse to put you there.

Something that might influence the stack your resume ends up populating might be affected by some things that are out of your control.

Don’t Miss Part II –  Your Resume and Racial Perceptions, Racial Preference, and Racial Prejudice!

In the next post we will examine the effects of the 3Ps, racial perceptions, racial preference, and racial prejudice on the acceptance of your resume.  This post will give you valuable information about your resume and how it is accepted. Don’t miss it.

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