Your Career and the Dark Side of the Moon!

The Dark Side of the Moon

You can say it any way you want to, but “keep your business to yourself”.  In today’s wired world too many professionals broadcast things that never would have been exposed before.  Don’t make that mistake!


A news flash about four  years ago about our closest celestial neighbor, the Moon, disclosed some secrets that many might not even have know were even secrets.  Despite common sayings and even albums (Pink Floyd ‘The Dark Side of the Moon, 1973 and many others) many don’t realize that the far side of the Moon, let’s call it the “Dark Side” had not generally been seen by the public until a few years ago.

The Moon does not revolve on an axis as the earth does, so we constantly see one side.  What does this have to do with sales? Being the consummate sales professional has much to do with how you conduct yourself with your employer, your co-workers, and your customers. As a Black  professional your personal life, well… much of it, should be less visible than the ‘dark side of the Moon’ to many who you interact with in business.

You are developing your sales persona, and it is your ‘brand’ so it is your responsibility to manage what everyone sees and knows about you.  You will overcome obstacles in the process, but you don’t want anything that will make it tougher.  With a few exceptions you are in control of this, and you should exercise that control wisely.

Self-Inflicted Damage

This post is important as much of the damage regarding what is said or released is considered “self-inflicted” damage.

The topics for this ‘self-inflicted’ damage includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Politics
  • Race Relations
  • Religion
  • Family
  • Company Management
  • Salary and benefits
  • Interracial Relationships
  • Sexual Relationships

Above all, remember a most important lesson.  As indicated in Black Sales Journal 10/27/11 – The 3 Unmentionables for the Black Sales Professional, avoid talking about the following;

  • Politics
  • Race Relations
  • Religion

The Scene of the Crime

The forums and situations that you have utterances and conversations about these topics are many.  The people that you have these situations with can be the familiar to a network broadcast (social media).

Co-workers – Treat the people that you work with like they are people you work with.  They are not your best friends, and don’t need access to your life story, your relationships, and your ‘master plan to beat the man’.  What you say at the bar or club can come back to haunt you.  Some solid examples appear in the following posts:

Social Media – Wow! This one deserves more discussion than we can give here.  Do you need to post those pictures of you with the dreaded ‘red cup’?  Social media makes it easy to find something to criticize.  This is the broadcast that we spoke of earlier.  Your personal life is your business and you should recognize that there is no context specified on social media, it is just ‘out there’.

Customers – You never know what perceptions the customer has until you have the deepest of relationships.  That is only going to happen with a select number of customers.  This means that you still must project your brand.  For the Black sales professional I suggest that there is no casual day at a customer location that you need to participate in, wear your uniform (Your suit or business attire).  You are the professional.  There is no usage of slang and colloquial terms and foul language.

The customer will only know about your family and friends what you tell them.  Even if he tells you about his brother Rick, who smokes something that smells funny, that does not mean that you need to air your family’s dirty laundry.  You might read the item below to see the importance:

Management – Your manager needs to know you.  Actually, your manager needs to know the ‘you that you want him to know’.  This is “image management” in its finest sense.  Do you want management to know all of your past?  Do you want them to know the nature and depth of your intimate relationships?  Do you want them to know that you have relatives that are incarcerated?  I say why have those types of conversations and disclosures?  Now you may think that this does not happen, but it does.  Be careful because as I have said before “You cannot put toothpaste back in the tube”.

I say that your superiors should know the things that will shape your brand!  You are a hard worker…you worked your way through school.  You have perseverance and stick-to-it-ness…you were an athlete on scholarship.  You have a good personality and good values and can show it, stick to that type of disclosure.

No discussions on religion, race relations, and politics.  Don’t be baited.

Build a Brand for Yourself

We will cover this more in February and March, as it deserves it.  When you go this route, you use each of the above, social media, co-workers, management, and the customer to make it happen.  It is not an easy process, and it requires that each input and contact be carried out with forethought and consistency.

Always be the best!

Your comments are appreciated.

Your Customer Needs an Expert!

consultant meeting

Don’t be confused.  The most effective move to get business preference and stronger relationships is to be the customers expert regarding a subject, discipline, product, or territory!  Experts generate ideas, create confidence, and build interdependence.  Read this, and make a decision on what will make you indispensable to your customer.  If you are not the customers expert…someone else is!


In our continuing quest to gaining a business edge I want to discuss the advantages of being an expert. In this case we are talking about being either a product expert, or an industry expert, or both. This tactic can not be taken lightly. These can be a game changer!

These tactics for increasing customer and employer confidence are extremely effective. They can be used separately, or together, and either way are powerful. If used together they can reduce the effects caused by both preference andperception.  They don’t change or negate the prejudice that lies deep down in individual, nothing does. But combined, these two items create a “preference” of their own. The preference is real when you have something that others don’t have.

I’m going to touch on both of these for you.

The Power of the Product Expert

Your customers need a product expert. I’m not talking about just having product knowledge; I am speaking of you being a true product expert. The following scenarios note a true product expert.

What a product expert does:

  • Is continuously sought out by customers and your own coworkers for advice, opinions, and interpretations
  • Knows more than product features and benefits, he or she knows every nuance of the product’s attributes and functionality
  • Is knowledgeable about competitor’s products and the competitive landscape
  • Is prepared to admit competitor’s strengths and his/her product’s weaknesses when they are well defined
  • Researches, researches, researches, then shares the knowledge with deserving parties, even if there is a little self-promotion in the process
  • Gets designations, certifications, and degrees if necessary to show the expertise

Product experts are as important to the organization that they work for as they are to the customer.

The Power of the Industry Expert

Attaining status as an industry expert is an equally powerful position.  It involves not being just familiar with the industry (banking, insurance, automotive parts, hospital products, healthcare, telecommunication, etc.), it involves having a recognized ‘database’ of information, ideas, and suggestions built around your prospect, industry, and product.  How do you get there?  You get there by study, research, maintaining logs and notes, participating and hard work.

What an industry expert does:

  • Studies the competitive landsccape and knows each competitor’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Knows how your product helps the industry, including the niches which fare best with your product
  • Knows the economics and financials of the industry
  • Is up to date on the legislative environment and any developments
  • Is sought out by others for their industry knowledge

A Word of Advice

The most important thing to realize is that most buyers in need of expertise don’t care what color you are if you can help him/her gain a competitive advantage when no one else can. He or she may or may not develop loyalty to you, but will do business with you.  Your job will be to cultivate that loyalty during the course of your relationship to win the buyer over.

You potentially can reduce the effects of two of the racial preference, gender preference, and even discrimination with these two essentials.  Being an expert does not alter racial preference, but can get you a sale. Experts get a line on new relationships with buyers and create a sound footing that can result in deep enduring relationships.

I am looking  forward to hearing your thoughts on this issue.