Do you belong to a global organization, or one that aims to be global? If you’ve traveled frequently enough around airports in the United States, you’ve probably noticed a particular Accenture ad campaign at many of the gates. I find the global ad in particular pretty poignant, as I’ve worked with plenty of companies looking at international growth strategies.
So when your company is planning to grow global sales, who do you call to help build your international sales team? Paul Terry, that’s who.
Paul built his reputation helping Forrester Research expand its international sales reach, specializing in areas of high growth but low base market for Forrester. He’s helped grow sales teams on 5 out of 7 continents – most of us would be lucky to entertain even visiting 5 out of 7. Paul is currently Chief Commercial Officer for Mythx Neocles, a technology start up that provides a digital platform for the fashion industry. Although he is extremely busy lending his international expertise to the start up world, he was nice enough to sit down with me to cover his top coaching tips for reps just starting off.
You Need To Have The Right Questions
The first tip that Paul offered that he found true no matter where his teams were based – a good sales professional absolutely must have the right questions. It’s impossible to know everything – so you shouldn’t try. If you’re selling to a C level executive, it’s likely you won’t know as much about their day-to-day jobs as they do. Obviously you need to be prepared, but reps often feel pressure to feel like they need to be an authority in every situation. They don’t.
Paul mentions that a really positive sales engagement is where a sales professional can lead a client through a session with well thought out questions. If you can ask the really smart questions, you’ll prove your intelligence and create a collaborative atmosphere where the client can respond thoughtfully.
Set Incremental Goals And Execute
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is your next sale. Paul had to grow sales teams in regions where he had neither brand or even industry awareness on his side. The companies he was selling to didn’t even have a planned budget for his services, because they didn’t even know these services existed.
So where do you even start when that is the case? You need to re-evaluate your outlook on what your immediate goals are. Sales reps might mess up their first contact because they think the goal of a first call is to make a sale – Paul takes a step back and says that the goal of a first call is to get a second call.
Break down your long term goals into attainable, realistic goals. Know what you want to walk away with. And if the calls stop? Move on.
Level The Playing Field
If you do your job your well, you’ll often find yourself selling to someone more senior to you. This is especially true when you’re cold calling upper management in a new market/region. And when you finally find yourself in this situation, you need to approach these moments as equals.
Paul says that it’s a common thing for a sales rep to feel subordinate to the person they’re selling to. It makes sense, especially when your product/service is new and you’re excited to just not get a voicemail message. However, there are negative implications from subjugating yourself to prospects.
A client’s time is precious, but so is yours. Approach every interaction respectfully, but as an equal. This allows you to make the same demands of your client that they make of you. Remember, power buys from power.
Do you consistently send out confirmation emails for upcoming meetings? You should! And you should use them as selling moments. Looking for new ways to improve your sales game? Try seeing how music can help you push yourself.