To be in sales one should know that there are rules to the game. As in any profession, we have parameters specifically for our endeavors, not only to justify our actions as sales professionals, but also to align with our clients. I've learned within my journey that in sales the majority of the top decision makers, the CEO or heads of the operating portion of a business in all likelihood come from a sales background. So in fact adhering to certain principles outlined in the sales process helps us in gaining respect and in the creation of a binding basis for a business relationship with our prospects. As we always pitch to the top of organizations, chances are that we'll be speaking to someone who knows the sales game, so it's a good idea for us to stay within the guidelines which have been mapped out by our predecessors.
A major aspect of sales and the goal of every sales endeavor is the close. Closing is the reward for the hard work put in, and should be looked at as a natural progression of the sales process. Natural meaning not forced or pushed upon the prospect, natural because the sales person is guiding the ship, and leads the way to the outcome. There is something I like to call the "G-Move" in sales, when we get really "Jiggy" and use certain techniques. I'll explain the G-Move and how you play it will determine its effectiveness.
For the consummate sales professional. The "G-Move" is when we let the prospect do the closing themselves. Look for the buying signals while prospects are conversing. Look for words which allows insight in to the thought process, words like contract, partnership, and the tell all question “how much?”. The G - Move portion of our sales acumen then gives us the following instructions: Answer and use the code of silence (STFU) after giving them your one word affirmative. Let the prospect continue on in pursuing the close and be aware you’re there just to guide him.
The least dangerous in the crowd is usually the loudest. Put this in action and remember to use the G-Move for an additional closing technique.
Business acumen reveals itself in many shapes and fashions. One foray into research of a specific field yields important facts and resources which can be used in another business sector. Recently I watched a video interview with one of the most successful movers and shakers of the music industry, Jimmy Iovine. Iovine discovered and produced such artists as Patti Smith, Dire Straits culminating with his expansion into the hip hop world, showcasing artists like Eminem and overseeing the Death Row Music catalog. This star filled music business career culminated in the sale of the Iovine founded company of Beats Electronics ((with Dr. Dre) to Apple Music for the unheard of sum of $3 Billion.
Irvine is the epitome of not only the music guru but much deeper the business guru, he got out of a failing industry and upon his acceptance of an executive position at Apple Music, he remains relevant, and that in the constantly changing digital landscape of music. Iovine had the "chops" to master everything thrown at him in the music industry (no easy task when you consider he worked with Suge Knight on a regular basis), but one revelation he was not able to conquer was the advent of the transformation into, and eventual dominance of digitization in the music business. This new opponent had it all, it was fast (immediate access to a catalog ) agile, (one could easily search through different genres) inexpensive (no more need for studios or production costs for vinyl or a CD) and he stayed open 24/7 (bye,bye record store), a formidable foe indeed for the traditional music industry.
Jimmy Iovine went on in the interview to talk about his first meeting with Steve Jobs, who gave him insight into Apple's future plans for the music industry, and the vision it had for the future of making music accessible to the masses, at that point Iovine said, he knew it was over for the traditional branch and it was time to move on or get rolled over by the train that was coming.
There was a lesson to be learned when analyzing this interview and I have to state that the conceptual mistake that many traditional business make when embracing digital avenues is that they attempt to digitize their brand and the heart and soul of their business, while failing to note that digital, as the term suggests, has no soul, it's a process oriented data based schematic which exists and subsists purely from strategy and calculation. In order to successfully "morph" into a company offering a digital component to its existing offering, one must first be confident in the qualities with made his business successful in the first place and transfer those qualities and offer them in a digital fashion. The music industry made the huge mistake of trying battle the tech giants on their playing field and they were not equipped to do so. We in business should strive to keep our core values within our companies, and then deliver it as digital, fast and furious !
The examination of the challenges facing our international expansion in detail is a process which while creating fundamental standards to be followed, also require flexibility throughout the implementation phase. Let's take a look at the challenges in more detail.
Cultural Differences - When we mention culture, we're not just talking about the aspect of culture inherent during the buying process, but also that of the prevalent culture in a geographical and historical sense. Let's take for example the DIY market, where location and mores play a tremendous role in determining success. In a country like Germany, where people tend make home additions, and do plumbing and landscaping work themselves. The prevalent culture of "do it yourself" in this country differs greatly from the similar culture in Los Angeles where a lot of work is done by contractors or in New York where there is a more urban mindset and the products used are different as well. These factors have a direct impact on the marketing avenues a company takes as well as on the product choices of the customers they serve.
Cultural differences go deeper than the viewpoint one has about a certain country. We have to also be abreast of the current trends and topics that may effect buying decisions and influence marketing strategy. Current trends can be acquired through many methods, one of the strongest of those being the "home team advantage". This advantage refers to a company having employees in the country where it is marketing its product or services, and these employees acting as "trend advisers" with their task being to share their ideas about the prevailing culture and share also the trends relevant to product marketing. This form of organic marketing is a luxury for any company clever enough to take advantage of this resource. Adding the taste of company employees to the marketing mix, is a great asset when one considers that their ideas come from someone who is vested in the company's success, which is directly in correlation to their personal success. The "home team advantage" gives a company the chance to analyse trends in the culture where they are trying to position themselves, and to benefit from valuable employee contributions.
"I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go". - Langston Hughes