The word diversity can be seen as divisive in today’s society.
Sometimes leaders can view it as something thrust upon them without choice. Companies are hiring Chief Diversity Officers and sending management to inclusion and diversity training.
It’s natural to feel that this is forced and being done in the name of political correctness and not good business.
I get it…
As someone who has always challenged authority, I understand how some of you feel. That said, I understand through my personal experience not only the importance of diversity in your sales team but the business value.
First, let’s define diversity.
The City University of New York defines diversity as understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences.
Fundamentally as salespeople, we are in the “PEOPLE BUSINESS.” Building, fostering, and nurturing relationships is key to or success as sales organizations.
As our economies and business continue to scale, the businesses and companies we work with continue to become more and more diverse, we need to prepare for that and be ahead of the curve.
Now, I’d like to share three specific ways that diversity has benefited my businesses and how it can benefit yours.
About 10 years ago I notice that many of my younger, specifically female, employees were communicating using emojis.
At first, it caught me off guard and it felt unprofessional. Instead of being reticent to change, I slowly started implementing parts of their communication style, which helped me to communicate better with them and others like them.
Now 10 years later, not only is emoji and text accepted in business communication, it allows you to connect and communicate at a higher level.
This is just one example where having younger, female employees put me ahead of the curve.
A true leader knows that if you are to grow and evolve, you need people around you to challenge your perceptions. If everyone around you thinks like you, lives like you, has similar experiences to you, that puts you at a disadvantage in the global economy that we are all part of.
Having employees of different genders, ages, ethnicities, and sexual orientations allowed me to gain differing perspectives. Those perspectives helped me to make better decisions. It also helped me in crafting sales decks, scripting and marketing messages.
Being not just sensitive to others, but understanding what messages will resonate with different groups of people, is powerful.
Recently in one of my businesses, we have started focusing our SDR recruiting efforts on seniors.
I think the prevailing perception in business is that SDR work is a young person’s game. I disagree.
Yes, young people can certainly be successful since SDRs tend to be energetic and ambitious — two traits that can help them succeed.
That said, SDRs also need to be able to create rapport and build relationships. Our seniors come from a generation where they know how to do that.
They are patient, unhurried, and the cadence of their voice typically is more inviting and nurturing.
They have the patience to develop relationships and the work ethic to keep at it. They have spent decades in the workforce and have tremendous sales experience.
Many are on fixed incomes. This is a win/win for us. We provide them an opportunity for part-time work that allows them to supplement their income but not dominate their lives. It lowers our overhead for SDR campaigns but allows us to tap into a workforce with tons of experience and high quality of work.
Lastly, their decades of experience and wisdom helps shape the rest of the sales force. It’s like leaving college, going into the workforce, and getting to work alongside the professor you learned from in school.
Bottom Line, It’s Good Business
These are just a few ways diversity has helped my business and sales force. While morally it’s the right thing to do, it’s just great business.
But I want to take it up a notch.
More than being “good business,” diversity of thought and having a team able to resonate and connect with a wide range of people is a superpower.
Every super team and superhero group has diversity. No one team member has the same power as another.
Because that’s where real strength and success lies — in your ability to conquer any obstacle because you have a diverse set of tools.
Build your super team by being more diverse and inclusive. I promise you’ll be ahead of the curve, ready for every challenge.