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Becoming An Empathic Seller Using Financial Insights

 

 

Wednesday, June 10th

1.30 pm Australia EST | 11.30 am Singapore | 3.30 pm NZ | 9 am India

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Improving Sales Performance with Flexing

 

 

Wednesday, June 10th

1.30 pm Australia EST | 11.30 am Singapore | 3.30 pm NZ | 9 am India

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As any sales professional can tell you, our industry is constantly in flux. There are good and better quarters, moments when new accounts are coming in hand over fist and others when we have to roll up our sleeves and get creative in order to make an impact. In the sales world, we are familiar with fluctuation and change.

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We know how to innovate in response to what’s happening and now is the time to put those adaptive skills to good use. While the coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed the pace and pattern of daily life, as professional saleswomen we have the skills and expertise needed to navigate this challenging time. 

I want to share with you the story of another trailblazer, Tamara Scarlett, an Account Executive at Salesforce. Tamara was recognized by Salesforce sales leadership as Rookie of the Year.

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Tamara began her professional life as a recruiter, a position she credits with teaching her to understand how large organizations work and to pinpoint their needs. In her previous roles at AOL and Oracle Data Cloud, she learned the value of understanding and using data to drive growth, and made the transition from recruitment to sales. 

“I wanted to have a better understanding of data overall,” Tamara recalls. “I wanted to understand how consumers interact, how they respond, what excites them, how to motivate them and how to use this information to make strategic buying decisions for the brands.” With Tamara, data is the key to her success in sales — it transforms her work to show her clients evidence of how she can help them succeed. Smart data drives successful partnerships. 

Today, Tamara works at Salesforce, where she leverages her deep understanding of media as a unique area of expertise for the company. In her first year, she was named Salesforce Rookie of the Year, a major achievement in a company with so many different technologies to learn while working with customers.

Tamara consistently networks and builds relationships both with peers and mentors who have supported her growth in sales, including Seanté Baker, the Regional VP of Commercial Sales at Salesforce, and a trailblazer in her own right. For Tamara, this mentorship relationship with another Black woman was key. “She really helped me sit down with the customer and take time with them to assess their needs, and create a really great relationship,” Tamara says. “I think that it’s really important to identify a couple of key mentors to help guide you through the inevitably challenging times in your career. As much as there are positive things inside of your sales career, you need someone who encourages you to be vulnerable.” Tamara also works with Seanté on the Executive Leadership Council, a handpicked group of women and men of color designed to further open channels of opportunity for the development of Black executives. The importance of mentorship in Tamara’s journey is clear, and it’s valuable for all women of color as they progress in their careers. In the Diversity Best Practices (DBP) 2017 Inclusion Index, 76% of companies offer formal mentoring opportunities, however, only 15% of employees who participated were women.

With such an incredible start to her career at Salesforce, it’s clear the Tamara Scarlett is poised for success in sales and beyond. Connect with the team at Salesforce to learn more about sales positions and the Salesforce vision.

Learning from Tamara's Success

What can you learn from Tamara’s story? No matter what’s going on in the world, there are important lessons you can apply to your own sales career right now:

It’s All About Creating Partnerships! The best sales professionals know that this work is all about people. In challenging times like these, it’s important to reach out to each other with understanding and lead with compassion. With uncertainty on the horizon, the best way to weather this storm professionally is to be there for your customers, anticipating their needs and finding creative solutions to their current problems.

3 Tips to Partner With Clients Right Now

1. Hustle—With Empathy

Yes, you’re going to have to hustle to keep going in this economy. Everyone is. But that doesn’t mean choosing opportunism over empathy. As you reach out to current and potential customers, be a problem-solver working in their best interests. Take the time to do your research, diving deep into their current problems so you can demonstrate your alignment with their needs. That extra effort will build your credibility in this crisis—and that won’t soon be forgotten.

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2. Acknowledge Time and Place

You can’t get anywhere with your clients without starting with their financial situation. Are they in the hard-hit travel industry, or are they in tech and possibly seeing growth? Whether you’re working to soften a blow or speed growth, use your insight into your clients’ current finances to position your value story and build trust.

3. Brush Up on Financial Fluency

If you’re unsure of the economic impact of coronavirus on your client’s needs, you have homework to do! Study up on 10-K reports to see where you can provide solutions and drive strategic decision-making. You’ll also want to immerse yourself in your customer’s industry as it stands right now so you can speak their language when you reach out. Want to dive deeper on how financial insights can improve your sales outcomes? Sign up for our Financial Fluency Masterclass here!

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Your job won’t be easy in the coming months, but there is an opportunity to make a real difference for your clients during this time. Seize this moment to learn about their new needs and find timely solutions, and you’ll build partnerships that will last long after this crisis has passed.

Here’s to selling Mastery,

-Cherilynn

Head of Education and Growth

 Cherilynn Castleman, Sales Trainer/Executive Coach, has been a sales executive for 20+ years. With a natural talent for teaching and a drive to sell, Cherilynn uses her skills to coach and train other sales professionals.

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Sistas in Sales, LLC (SIS) is a community for women of color sales professionals to network, advance their careers and most importantly, find sisterhood – offering events, thriving Slack community with companies hiring now, and career coaching services. Learn more about Sistas In Sales membership here, connect with us on  LinkedIn  InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

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In the summer of 1996, I was on sabbatical in Guatemala with my family. We lived like locals, sharing a cramped four-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a Guatemalan family of twelve. Both my daughters attended the neighborhood school and made friends with the kids on our block. Before the sabbatical, our family only spoke English, so imagine my surprise when both my girls became confident Spanish speakers in a matter of weeks! My oldest, at eleven, could hold entire conversations in the language while my youngest, age three, became fluent. Their immersion in the local community allowed them to pick up Spanish with ease, clearly communicating with friends and learning alongside their peers in class.

My daughters’ language immersion experience perfectly illustrates the secret to creating a masterful value story. To maximize your impact, you have to immerse yourself in the customer’s world and learn their language. Become a student of your client, their company, and their industry. Research your clients’ words and numbers so you can think and speak like them.

Quantitative Analysis Tips

For quantitative analysis tips, check out my blog post The Most Important Client Document You’ve Never Read and register for the  Sistas In Sales Upcoming Sales Mastery Webinar: Becoming An Empathic Seller Using Financial Insights. 

For your qualitative analysis, search for themes, patterns, or movements, and identify the Pain, Opportunities, and Problems (POP). Find what POPs!

Here are easy three steps to start your journey into your client’s world:

  1. Client Research: Examine their social media profiles and posts. Follow them on Twitter, connect with them on LinkedIn, and check out their Facebook pages. Find and review executive leadership presentations. Research your client and key individuals across their organization, including influencers, decisionmakers, and end users.
  2. Company Research– For public companies, search for the “Investors” or “About” pages on their corporate website and download the CEO Annual Shareholder Letter.
  3.  Industry Research– To expand your industry knowledge, become familiar with analyst reports and market trends that will influence your client and their decisions. A website like Value Line  provides accurate and insightful analyst reports and research on companies and industries.

By immersing yourself in the customer’s world and understanding their perspective, you will learn to analyze and think like them. With this information, you can tailor and develop a killer value story. A powerful value story changes everything; it gives you the confidence to talk to anyone about what you do and sell into the C-suite.

Here’s to selling Mastery.

-Cherilynn

Head of Education and Growth, Sistas In Sales

Cherilynn Castleman, Sales Trainer/Executive Coach, has been a sales executive for 20+ years, a natural talent for teaching and a drive to sell, Cherilynn uses her skills to coach and train other sales professionals.

SIS Logo

Sistas in Sales, LLC (SIS) is a community for women of color sales professionals to network, advance their careers and most importantly, find sisterhood – offering events, thriving Slack community with companies hiring now, and career coaching services. Learn more about Sistas In Sales membership here, connect with us on LinkedInInstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

When I think about trailblazers, I think about women of color who have forged new paths in fields that have previously been off-limits to them. Trailblazing women are among the first in their fields to try something new or take risks to pave the way for those coming behind them. This Women’s History Month, I want to share with you the story of a changemaker. I hope her story will inspire you to continue building your network and breaking new ground as a trailblazing woman in sales.

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A Salesforce trailblazer, Seanté began her career as a clinical researcher before discovering her passion for sales. After completing her undergraduate coursework with a pre-med focus, she started working as a Clinical Research Coordinator at the UCSF Headache Center in San Francisco.

When asked to tackle the clinic’s lack of research trials, Seanté’s interest in sales was piqued. The leadership team was impressed with Seanté’s ambition and innovative approach to the project. Although she hadn’t taken any business classes, Seanté led her career with a growth mindset and a fearless spirit.

A Fearless and Agile Force

A quick learner and self-taught, she leveraged internet research, networked with clinical trial scientists and doctors, and built a team that executed on her vision and business plan. When she started at the UCSF Headache Center, there were no clinical trials. By the time she left, they were running six industry-sponsored studies (pharma and  med device companies) and five investigator initiated studies. She hired a team and pitched contract research organizations and pharmaceutical companies on her team’s ability to find and enroll qualified patients. Seanté’s efforts generated ~$700,000 in revenue with a 95% patient retention rate and 100% patient enrollment.

Seanté was so engaged with her new project, she realized that studying for the MCATs was the last thing on her mind. The clinical trial project unveiled her passion for helping others, not through medicine, but through providing solutions. From the headache clinic, Seanté transitioned to pharmaceutical sales and then to medical device sales. Although this new career path allowed her to combine both of her passions, patient care and solutions, she struggled with an ethical decision. Building her sales pipeline meant finding people for the operating table, and this was a hard reality to face.

Living in San Francisco, Seanté saw the Salesforce logo everywhere. She looked up at a Salesforce sign one day and said to herself, “I’m going to work there someday!” Four months later, Seanté joined Salesforce as a Small Business Account Executive.

With her curious spirit and can-do attitude, she sought out numerous opportunities to blaze trails. Seanté recalls spending her first month at Salesforce in October 2014 sitting with a solutions engineer because she had no idea what an API was. Application Programming Interface (API) is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. If you use an app to send an instant message, order a meal, or check the weather on your phone, you’re using an API. Despite having no technical background, no personal brand in NYC, and no established network on the east coast, she did not let this stop her career growth.

How to Succeed in a Leadership role

Here’s Seanté’s advice on how to succeed in a leadership role in a new market, for a new technology company:

  • Ask for feedback.
  • Act within yourself – do it your way, ask, learn, but make it your own.
  • Show up – even if you are sitting in the room where you’re the only one who looks like you. You know what you’re doing; let your confidence show.
  • Raise your hand — let people know what you want.

Seanté started with no technical background, but after two years as a Core Account Executive, she moved to the Heroku team in New York City. Now, this is no small feat. Heroku is one of the most technical products Salesforce has to offer. It’s a cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS) for developers to integrate their applications in several programming languages. After five and one half years of demonstrating leadership and bringing innovative solutions to the table, she is now the Sales Regional Vice President for Commercial Sales, Manufacturing. 

“I am proud of what I have accomplished”, Seanté shares. “I’ve worked and continue to work hard. I’ve always been ambitious and will always have goals. But that being said, I also had some guilt that came with the ‘success’. I was given adequate access and resources throughout my life that many women of color are not provided. I was well prepared for life in the corporate world. That’s why I am so passionate about helping the generations behind me – I feel that it’s my duty to give back and to show other women of color that it is possible to not only reach these positions but also to excel in them.”

“Don’t over think it…”

Seanté’s final piece of advice for starting a new role is, “Don’t overthink it…People are people –  we have feelings, wants, and needs, and we all bring something of value to the table. If you come to work with empathy and you can see the perspective of others, you will be successful. If you can step outside of your comfort zone you will go far in life. That’s what gets deals done, that’s what makes the big sales happen.”

To learn more about Seanté’s impactful work and what it takes to become a trailblazing saleswoman at Salesforce click here.

In the spirit of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, here are five ideas to keep us successfully blazing trails:

Five Ideas to Keep us Successfully Blazing Trails

  • Build Your Network: Create and leverage a network of women to help you reach your full potential. Collaborate on best practices, support each other, and leverage the collective strength of your network to drive sales and hit your sales targets.
  • Create a Vision: Surround yourself with like-minded people willing to collaborate on a shared strategic vision for the future.
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  • Be Fearless: Challenge yourself. Introduce yourself to others. Connect with other women on LinkedIn. Join professional networks like Sistas in Sales to connect with people, build relationships, and share opportunities. An excellent ice breaker question is, “What inspired you to have a career in sales?” When you take risks, you either succeed or have an opportunity—an opportunity to learn, to begin again more intelligently, or to develop your sense of humor. Get comfortable with being vulnerable.
  • Be a Lifelong Learner: Stay curious, passionate, interested, and committed to lifelong learning. Ask questions, stay on top of trends, and seek advice from your network, even as a leader.
  • Remain Positive and Persistent: Focus on what you can do, what you can control. Ideate—never stop asking questions and looking for solutions. Create virtual opportunities to collaborate and ask, “How might we . . . ?”

You have what it takes to be a trailblazer, to succeed as a professional saleswoman in your company both on your team and as an individual. Words to remember: build a community and network to ensure that you’re not the last. Lift as you rise. You have the power to create lasting change.

Here’s to selling Mastery,

-Cherilynn

Head of Education and Growth

Cherilynn Castleman, Sales Trainer/Executive Coach, has been a sales executive for 20+ years, a natural talent for teaching and a drive to sell, Cherilynn uses her skills to coach and train other sales professionals.

SIS Logo

Sistas in Sales, LLC (SIS) is a community for women of color sales professionals to network, advance their careers and most importantly, find sisterhood – offering events, thriving Slack community with companies hiring now, and career coaching services. Learn more about Sistas In Sales membership here, connect with us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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When you are 1 out of the 45 women that woke up very early on a rainy Monday morning to attend a breakfast panel at 7:30am to listen & take notes from some powerful and successful women in sales, how can someone not notice how great you are?! Monday’s breakfast was an intimate panel event that provided women in sales an opportunity to ask three successful sales professionals (Global Sales Exec, Sales Manger, Sales Coach) that are women of color about their paths to success.

On Monday, June 10th, 2019 at 7:30am, Sistas in Sales (SIS) hosted a Power Breakfast at Linkedin offices located in the Empire State Building in NYC. The purpose of the event was for the audience to be able to ask the panelists some burning and challenging questions about the sales industry. The attendee’s most popular question of interest was,How do I excel as a woman of color in my sales career?”

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The panel discussion lead by Chantel George, CEO of Sistas in Sales & Account Executive at Linkedin, featured 3 sales professionals who gave us insight into their success stories of being a black or brown woman in the workplace. Lisa Campagne, Regional Sales Manager at Linkedin, Adrienne Blount, International Account Manager, and Cherilynn Castleman, Sales Leader & Trainer, were the amazing women who shared gems on how to be a successful and effective sales woman in the workplace while also managing the adversities you will face while being a woman of color.

The most powerful takeaways of the morning were:

On getting promotions:

  • It is important to be mindful of what is needed for not only you, but for your manager to be successful. Oftentimes we forget that their success is the team’s success as well.  Lisa Campagne

On work/life balance:

  • It is important for my kids to see me successful, especially since I travel a lot for work. Since they are older now, I am able to invite them on these trips, because it is important to set the precedence since you never know when the opportunity will come again; when the door knocks, I answer. Adrienne Blount

On getting advice from executives:

  • We all get feedback but it is important to ask for feedforward for by asking hypothetical questions to executives such as, “If you were to write an email to the VP of LinkedIn, what would you say?” Feedforward provides the content for your next email, workshop, training, or blog, because they are letting you know exactly what they need to know!Cherilynn Castleman

On being one of the only in the room:

  • I have tremendous power as a woman of color. Once I shifted my mentality to embrace that, I began to get in front of a lot of senior people here at Linkedin. – Lisa Campagne

On bouncing back from a bad month (if you ever have one!):

  • When having a bad month I take long walks in order to be by myself to reflect, and I pray. – Adrienne Blount

On being concise in meetings:

  • Get more things right than you do wrong; I say things in 3’s in order to ensure this. I speak in 3’s because women use 20,000 words in a day, while men in business use 7,000. So when I am sitting in the C-Suite and if I don’t start off by saying that there are 3 things I want to tell you, men typically stop listening. Learn to be succinct, precise, to speak in 3’s, and the only emotion we are allowed to show is passion; that is the only way they will hear and listen to you. – Cherilynn Castleman

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S.I.S has proven through their events that women of color need panel events such as this not only to see and be around other women that look like them, but to vent where necessary. The venting that takes place in this safe community is what helps us attain the “feed-forward” mentioned by Cherilynn, that we need to help curate more events that will speak to the needs of the black and brown women in the sales industry. We are a community of women that can rely and seek refuge in one another through shared experiences.

Continue to walk in your Power and remind yourself of your excellence, daily, and we will continue to share the vital messages that will help us all propel in our respective careers.

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See you at the next Sistas in Sales event!

Hey Sis!

You may know me as the operational head behind the brand, Sistas In Sales, the event lead, the social media admin, the sales lead and the CEO. I’m writing this piece to discuss how your practical sales skills can help you launch a successful business and brand.

Within one year, Sistas In Sales had secured over 20 sponsors (Google, Salesforce, Bobbi Brown, and BuzzFeed) just to name a few, launched a website/blog, a Slack channel and hosts quarterly events. Allow me to share with you how we got to this place, and what you can do to get your side hustle off the ground using your current sales skills!

1. Business Plan – As sales professionals, we have a good understanding of what our company’s business plan is from listening to the All Hands, attending company wide meetings or simply asking your manager where they think the company is trending towards. Use that same ambition to sit down and create your plan, there are dozens of templates online you can use to get you going, starting with this one.

2. Data is King – You need a database of information from your prospects, customers to successfully scale your brand. Larger companies typically invest in CRM systems like Salesforce. Sis, we can use good old fashioned Google Sheets to create a simple spreadsheet of names, phone numbers, roles, LinkedIn profiles and email addresses.

3. Elevator Pitch – If you’ve ever cold called (like my earlier days), then you know the value of truncating your value proposition into 20 seconds. Practice on your friends, and use this formula to come up with it. “My name is A, and I am B, I work with C to help them to D.

My name is Chantel George, and I am a professional digital media saleswoman, as well as CEO of Sistas in Sales. I work with women of color in sales and business to help them connect with other women of color saleswomen, provide an authentic sisterhood in an industry that lacks diversity, expose them to networking opportunities, senior black saleswomen in sales/business, and educational opportunities to perfect our craft.

4. Create content – Content can take different forms, social media posts, website pages or blog posts. I’m agnostic! Test all avenues and see what you can keep up consistently. The biggest tip here is to be consistent!

5. Tell your friends and family – Then tell them again. You never know who knows someone who can help you. My Bobbi Brown sponsorship came from my cousin who was interning there at the time, next thing you knew we had full size BB makeup in our first swag bag.

6. Create an LLC only IF you need to! Are you planning on opening another business account, make contracts under your business name or do you foresee suing people? If so, then create it knowing that this can be a costly venture. More information here.

We hope these tips serve as a reminder of how to use your already amazing sales skills to launch your side hustle!

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By Sidney Garcia & Myrna L. Datilus

Self-worth is an important topic that many tend to emphasize in reference to their personal lives but rarely mention in reference to their professional lives. Sidney Garcia, our last SIS interviewee, has collaborated with me on this blog post to discuss how to realize your self-worth within your sales career. I will explore her essay, “Self-worth as it relates to Sales & Success,” and I’ll add my insight below. In this post, we’re going to explore self-worth, why it’s hard to build, and how we can get over the challenges to developing it and owning it.

Sidney mentions how we are forced to think about what self-worth really is it, and what does it have to do with our sales careers?  It seems like everyone is talking about self-worth and self-love, but even with all the good reading out there and positive stories circulating the internet, the idea of deep-seated self-love is still a tough one to fully embody. Now, no matter who you are or where you come from, we all struggle with it to a degree, particularly women of color in the sales industry, but how do we really define self-worth?

A sense of self-worth is like a personal thermostat around one’s comfort level with receiving. That could mean receiving respect, opportunity, promotions, love, pay, abuse, abundance, freedom…you name it.  It’s both something you can feel and something you embody with behavior; you feel a certain level of worthiness, and how you feel will directly determine how you behave outwardly in the world. Those feelings become projected through our actions and behavior, and then people react to that behavior, like a mirror. It is similar to the Law of Attraction concept which is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. The main difference is that with self-worth you must not only believe in what you are attracting, but be in a position to receive it as well; this is something I personally struggle with when it comes to love, but that is for another blog post on a different platform.

Wherever our thermostat rests is how we project our behavior onto the world regularly, and how we act then prompts people to respond to us in a similar way.  This means so much in a career like sales when we are constantly interacting with other people. What we believe about ourselves is subconsciously picked up on by our customers, our colleagues, our internal resources, our managers, etc. It’s picked up on by how we show up to our meetings, negotiations, and strategy calls.  Someone who is confident about their voice owns the room differently and isn’t afraid to share their opinions, expertise or ask questions, and others will reflect that back and listen. Someone who respects their own time will have different boundaries that other people respect when it comes to setting up meetings or sending an agenda ahead of time. Someone who believes in their value to the company will be more likely to receive a  promotion because people will notice that sense of self-worth and then see it for themselves too. We generally have the power to attract certain people, promotions or pay into our lives by how we project ourselves into the world.

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It all comes down to our beliefs. Sidney gives us this example around money, one that blocked her from receiving the pay she deserved until she corrected it. Sidney’s parents are from Mexico and mine from Haiti, so it was very common to hear our parents complain about having to work very hard with over-time in order to make more money. On a subconscious level, this turned into the beliefs you have to work hard for money, money means my parents spend less time with me because they’re working, and the classic one my mom used to say, money doesn’t grow on trees. The hard-wiring events in our lives are so powerful on a very subconscious level, that I wouldn’t want to receive money because I don’t want the pain that’s associated to come with it.  I might say on the outside “I want tons of money,” but my projected behavior and how I portray myself won’t be in congruence with that statement. Instead, I might complain about money, I might get nervous when it comes to paying the bills or I might not go after the promotion as hard because a deeper part of me doesn’t want to violate the value of being able to spend time with my friends & family…see the problem?  There’s literally biochemistry happening in the brain that is working against the goals I say I want; it’s like an instinct. Negative or “incongruent” beliefs like this also exist when it comes to how we feel about ourselves, and they get in the way of our ability to receive respect, pay, love, or freedom every day. This is exactly why embodying something we “say” we want can be a lot more challenging than it sounds.  Biochemistry is a powerful force of nature. I, like many women, am very dialed into my emotions, and yet- I never once let on to anyone that beliefs and insecurities like these were a part of my reality and on a deep level holding me back. That’s because I didn’t understand them.

The good news is that you are so much more powerful than beliefs and biochemistry and once you’re aware of what they are, you can begin to change them.  Over the next several weeks, Sidney will be deep-diving into how that self-worth directly affects our sales results and careers when it comes to showing up fully as ourselves, communicating with our customers, getting the promotions, and not depleting our energy — all challenges women seemingly have to face to a greater degree. She will be doing this through her business, The Blum Business Academy via her Facebook group, The Mastery of Relationship Sales.

In this series, Sidney’s greatest wish is for women is to begin to understand their true potential that lies in their sense of self-worth. Her hope is that we can begin to show ourselves and this world how great we are with some killer sales results this year.  It’s time we close the pay-gaps and start enjoying more of what’s good in life, isn’t it?

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So, for the love of life & business, we really encourage you all to tap into your self-worth, never cheating yourself of all the amazing opportunities at your fingertips for both your personal and professional lives!

According to Dictionary.com, a startup is, “a newly established business.” Forbes.com states the term “startup” has been defined over the past few years as “Scrappy young ventures, hip San Francisco apps and huge tech companies,” and Neil Blumenthal, Co-Founder of Warby Parker states,“A startup is a company working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed.” No matter how it is defined or by whom, people are still left wondering, what really is a startup? On the evening of February 20th, 2019, Sistas in Sales (SIS) held a panel event at the WeWork on Madison Ave in NYC entitled, “StartUps DeMystified,” in order to focus on answering this question for professionals in and out of NYC who are in search of new job opportunities whether they are or aren’t people of color.

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This insightful event hosted by CEO/Founder of SIS, Chantel George, was moderated by International Career Strategist Rita Obi. Rita had the chance to ask some pertinent questions surrounding this topic to the panelists, Arius Ford who is on the Customer Success Team at LinkedIn, Melissa Lockhart who is the Director of People (HR Professional) at PayFone, Steve George, Chantel George’s brother and Talent Acquisition Consultant (Recruiter) at Taboola, and last but not least, Simmone Taitt, the Founder & Principal of HeartSpace NY Consulting.

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Each panelist answered questions surrounding topics such as financial stability and salary which focused on how to ask those uncomfortable money questions during your interview for a startup company. Some of the questions to ask that stood out to me are, ‘How much money does this company have to support my salary needs, how long do you think it will last, and what is your vision for the money?’ The audience was also advised that the CEO should be transparent about money with you since it is relevant to your salary, raises, and ultimately your upward mobility in the company. Bottom line, you should manage your own expectations when it come to these types of questions. We must remember that they are not only interviewing us, but it is important to interview them as well. Steve George reminded the crowd to be mindful of the questions you ask during these job interviews because it can set you a part from the other candidates. Facts!

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Since we all have seen what the media or the internet has us perceiving as the ideal ages of the people who work at startups, the topic of age was also addressed. If we believe what we see, we would think that majority of the employees at these companies are fresh out of college and would never apply! But on the contrary, majority of the people applying these days are in their last 20’s and 30’s ready to work with a company that they can grow with and help implement new processes with as well. The startup life is not easy and not for the weak or lazy; one should be passionate, dedicated, have strong work ethic, open to an ever-changing environment, and be willing to put in more than 8 hours in a day at times. I know working for a startup for the past 7 months, there has been many times where I would come home, open up my laptop to send out more emails, or take a call with a client in Hong Kong on the weekends, or an early call mid-week to a client in Tel Aviv to ensure that the accounts that I am managing are renewing and/or spending more money with us over time. Arius reminded the audience, “You must believe in the mission of the company and not just the money because it will be a constant hustle especially if you are in sales, but in the end, you get out of it what you put in.” Working for a startup is truly an investment in your professional career and future due to the amount of skills you acquire that will be easily transferable to a larger company or maybe even your own company down the line!

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Lastly, Steve George discussed what stands out to him when he receives resumes at Taboola. “It takes me 20-40 seconds to skim a resume for the key words or experiences that stand out to me.” I know you are thinking what I am thinking, 20-40 seconds?! In other words, we need to ensure that our resumes are on point and tailored for the role we are applying for within these startups. Not to mention, what we include on our resumes need to match whats on our LinkedIn profiles since Steve confessed he checks that as well. Steve states, “Social media is king! I check LinkedIn to see if it matches your resume or if there is anything additional on there that you were unable to fit on your resume that makes you more interesting then the next candidate.”

Brittany S.S. Hardin, CEO/Founder of the Currency$hift Podcast  stated, “The event was great. It was great to hear one of the panelists mention the importance of having your LinkedIn updated and to utilize your network when looking for a new position in a startup or large company.” Steve even went on to say that we should be adding 10 new contacts to your LinkedIn network each day! He also reminds us to “use your networks and have your connections work for you.”

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When you actually land a role, you need to be able to match what’s on paper because Arius reminded us, one thing that is true while working at a startup is that everyone sees your failures and accomplishments versus it going under the radar if you were at a larger company, so it is important to stay true to you and your skills. He also made another powerful statement, “At a startup, your work is a representation of who you are, and they want someone that is an overachiever, and a risk taker.” This leads me to some more inspirational takeaways from the ladies of the evening.

Rita encouraged the audience to “Stop focusing on the name of the company but focus on what you can gain and what added value you can provide.” We sometimes forget that the interview process is a two way street, not just a one-way. Yes, we are in need of that particular role and want them to accept us but we must accept them as well. Whether it is a large Fortune 500 company or a startup, never forget what you need out of the company for you to feel encouraged to work for them each day. Simmone passionately expressed to the audience to “Figure out who you are and that will lead you to continue to be your authentic self. I was able to figure myself out along the way and I stuck to what I was good at. That helped me remain successful throughout my career. Get comfortable with failure; risk comes with failure and also with success” This piggybacks what Melissa states, “With no risk, there is no reward.”

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Overall this was both an insightful and educational event that had attendees such as Demetrius White, Account Executive at the startup Sawhorse Media/Muck Rack to say, “Hearing from a veteran panel about the ins and outs of startups sparked within me a change to not only continue working hard, but to ask the right vetting questions.” I believe a lot of people walked away with a new lens on how to view startups and to not be afraid to be bold enough to bring the best versions of themselves forward while interviewing at these smaller startups. We should never be afraid of going after what it is we want or what we know we will excel at. We have demystified any of the doubts or negative thoughts around startups; they are not just about free food and unlimited PTO, but an opportunity to prove to yourself how much of an entrepreneurial spirit we all have embedded within us. A startup will yank that out of you, forcing you to be the amazing version of yourself you have never imagined. It is truly rewarding and we are thankful to all of the panelists that dedicated their time and knowledge to help debunk these theories.

See you the next SIS Event…stay tuned!

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Please see a one-min recap below! Click here for more photos.

While the New Year is swiftly approaching, everyone is trying to figure out what their resolutions will be, how to become a better version of themselves in the New Year, and how to ring in 2019. This may be overwhelming for some if they have not given their New Year any thought, but for others, it may be more exciting since they have an exact idea of how they would like the New Year to pan out for them.

My best friend and I have been discussing our New Years and now have officially planned how to ring it in since we want 2019 to be the best year ever for us. Since I will be spending it in DC with her, I brought up the idea of us creating vision boards together, but then she introduced me to something even more powerful; a vision statement. I have never heard of such a concept before therefore she directed me to an article featured on Medium by NYTimes Best-Selling Author, Luvvie Ajayi. After reading this amazing article I MUST write a vision statement and I cannot wait to see how everything comes into fruition for me and my best friend!

As a SISta, whether you are planning your New Year alone, with your friends, or with your family, we want you to be able to plan out your new year in the best way possible. With that said, take the time to read the 5 key takeaways along with my elaborations on what I have learned after reading this mind altering article by Luvvie.

  • “Vision Statements. We were told to write a letter to someone as if it was 10 years in the future. Write it and describe what you’re doing, who you’re around, where you’re living. Be as descriptive as you want.”
    • Personally, this is quite intimidating to think that far ahead, but it is necessary. It forces you to envision what you really want out of life and what you believe your life purpose is. I am still working on my letter that I began a few months ago, and as long as its done before the ball drops into 2019 then, mission accomplished!
  • “I don’t know if it’s the act of writing it down that makes it real or if there’s a magical Vision Statement Fairy that grants wishes. I am ever thankful that I wrote down my dreams for the future so present me can have some concrete things to work towards.”
    • Something magical takes place when you take the time to write out your hopes and dreams; realistic ones. Ones that you can truly envision to the point that you can smell, touch and even feel it, those are the ones that the Universe will meet you half way on as long as you work diligently towards what you have written down as your vision.
  • “Life entrepreneurship: It was all about figuring out where we were, where we wanted to go and the habits we have that help and hurt.”
    • Before you can even write down a vision statement, you must be self aware of where you are, where you want to be, and what have helped you grow and what has kept you stagnant. The whole concept of “life entrepreneurship” is literally mapping out the blueprint of your life in hopes that what you have written out becomes exactly what you have envisioned.
  • “THINK BIG, GIRL. Because: why not?”
    • If you write out a minimal vision statement, just know that you will reap what you sow. Write out something that scares you because if you dont stretch yourself you will never become what you really want to be.
  • Today, I look back on those months following that statement I didn’t think much of and realize that I was getting a lesson of “be careful what you ask for.” I was also learning that when our dreams are presented to us when they are not the right time, they will not come to pass. It’s like trying to harvest crops before they’re ripe.
    • One thing that Luvvie mentioned is that when everything that she initially wrote down began to come to life, she was not ready so she was unable to embrace the blessings that came into her life at that time. Therefore, she recalibrated, wrote it down again with the mentality that she is ready to receive every vision that she has written down. So, what I take away from that is make sure you are ready for what you write down because once its written, that is you telling the Universe you are indeed ready to receive.

I hope this serves as a reminder that it is important to write your visions down! Nevertheless, I hope everyone rings in the New Year in the best way possible and that everything you wite down comes to fruition.

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Happy Holidays and Happy New Year, SIStas!!