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In an increasingly global world, organizations are selling to a wider and more diverse target market. Yet many sales teams are packed with salespeople who are similar. Team members come from similar backgrounds, with similar views and outlooks. When faced with a client they find hard to relate to, how does your sales team bridge the gap?
In 2013, a Harvard Business Review study found that a team member who shares a client’s ethnicity is 152% more likely to understand that client than a team member who does not have the shared ethnicity. While this is a stunning statistic, it should be no surprise. In our article ‘3 Behaviors that build trust in sales relationships’, we note how you should ‘never ignore the cultural context of the customer’ and ‘remain wary of how the customer’s culture dictates their actions, and the response you should give’.
However, diversity does not only capture ethnicity. Truly diverse organizations employ people from all walks of life, different religions, races, genders, and sexual orientations. Here are three organizational benefits of attracting and retaining a diverse workforce, which are directly applicable in the context of your sales team.
Diverse teams are more likely to have open and honest communication. The diversity helps to break down barriers, and leads to better innovation and decision making, in a culture where people feel safe sharing their ideas. It is easier to challenge pre-existing concepts, strategies and methods when you know that your community (in this instance, the sales team) empathizes with you and understands that your experiences bring a new layer of creative thinking.
How does diversity in the workplace translate into sales numbers? A study conducted by the interim Head of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago Cedric Herring found that companies with the highest racial diversity brought in almost 15 times more sales revenue than those with the lowest levels of diversity. They have more customers, too. Similar results were witnessed when Herring measured the effect of gender diversity, too.
This improvement in sales may, in part, be due to improved customer service, which relies on personal connections between company employees and customers. Diversity provides the authenticity of conversation critical in relationship building.
If you wish to attract the most talented salespeople, you should aim to build a strongly diverse organizational culture. This is the message from many studies, including the study made by Glassdoor into workplace diversity, which found that two-thirds of jobseekers consider diversity an important factor in their search for their next employer.
Diverse teams allow new joiners and existing employees to feel comfortable in the team and its environment. They help people thrive by creating a workplace in which learning is considered an everyday experience. In a diverse and welcoming workplace, people are more likely to share their knowledge and skills.
As your services and products reach out to a wider audience, a diverse sales team will help you connect with that audience. Scaling up is not only a numbers game. Success hangs on the thread of being able to connect with customers across the rainbow of diversity. Cultural differences can, and often do, dictate the sales process.
A diverse team will help your organization meet the most robust sales targets as you rise to the challenge of selling to multicultural markets.
There are two types of diversity. The first is inherent – the traits with which you were born, such as ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. The second is acquired – the traits you learn from experience and the diversity of your current environment. To be receptive to acquiring diversity, you must have high levels of emotional intelligence. To learn how an emotional intelligence workshop could be the cure for sales malaise, contact Primeast today, and take a step closer to becoming a high-performing and diverse sales team.
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