How to be successful in sales

December 30, 2008 at 3:54 pm 16 comments

Your Question: My question is connected with an example.

A U.S. heavy equipment manufacturer operating in London has been using Americans as salespeople. The company feels that it could reduce its costs hiring and training nationals as salespeople. What are the advantages and disadvantages to using Americans versus nationals selling abroad?

Our Answer: With many years of sales experience, representing complex database marketing solutions to large businesses, I have some pretty strong opinions on your question.

In sales, no matter what the product being sold, it’s key to remember that people still buy from people they like, trust and can connect with.  The best, most effective salesperson is the person who puts themselves in the shoes of their buyer.  The effective salesperson takes the time to get a thorough understanding of their clients’ motivations.  They learn their clients’ business; they understand their corporate pressures; they have a handle on what their client must do to be considered successful.

This deep understanding, of course, then allows the effective salesperson to tailor their message and their solution to meet those needs.  Going the extra mile and doing the research means that the salesperson will not have to ‘push’ their product at the client.  Instead, they’ll be bringing in solutions that offer a true benefit to the client.  Over time, the client will gain an appreciation of this ‘style’ and the salesperson will, most likely, be blessed with a good, long-lasting profitable customer relationship.

OK, so how does this rant relate to your question today?

Well, it’s my belief that the closer a salesperson is to a client, in terms of tangible and not so tangible things, the more effective they’ll be at building a close, lasting relationship–the kind described above.  It might be as simple as the school you went to, the sports you follow, the things you like to eat–this type of common ground starts to create a bond between people, and certainly between salesperson and client.

So, I have to weigh in on the side of hiring salespeople from the same country as the people they’ll be selling to.  Product knowledge is easy to obtain, through training and the right sales materials. But, if salesperson and client have similar backgrounds and can relate to each other immediately, you’re one step closer to building the relationship and making the sale.  If hiring nationals saves your firm money, then that’s another key benefit.

Perhaps you test the waters first by filling your next few sales spots with nationals.  Let them benefit from learning from their American peers and see, longterm, if my theory of sharing common ground equates to success.

Good luck!

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Entry filed under: Sales Success.

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