I never mind staying late at the office, not only because I hate coming in early, but also because it gives me the opportunity to chat with some colleagues. We’ve all seen them. The quiet, industrious people who clean up our mess and set us up for success the next day. My friend Juan Palacios hails from El Salvador and I know that many of the hustling yuppies who routinely ignore him, would benefit from the depth of his knowledge and business savy. He’s the proud owner of a new home and a thriving business which is constantly growing, even in this economy. His words have a curious urgency and his advice is excellent.
“Me entiendes Pablo?..” he always says with a smile.
“Por supuesto Don Palacios” I answer.
It’s a valuable transaction in which I help him understand English and some of our stranger American practices, while he provides me with fresh perspectives on the challenges I face daily. As with all such relationships it takes work and dedicated effort. It’s often difficult to push past the barriers of language, custom, and preconceptions, but we manage…we communicate. I’m afraid that I don’t see a lot of successful communication out there currently…time to wake up people!
Emerging markets? China? Again?
In the past our ancestors had to venture forth in search of new markets and new connections. They made enormous investments in time, money, and resources to get the job done. Often when poor preparation and bad decisions threatened their goals, they resorted to appalling tactics in their attempts to achieve them. Unfortunately, little has changed…globalization, the internet, and social media offer a plethora of tools and venues to facilitate the process. There are an ever increasing number of pitches, messages, i.e. “ships” sailing forth on cyber-seas, but with declining results. There’s ultimately only one central challenge- to quickly, concisely communicate the value proposition (and / or measurable ROI) of your solution to the right person, at the right time, and in the right way. Recently, I’ve noticed some formidable obstacles to meeting this challenge and I like to refer to them collectively as la tirania de las ideas preconcebidas or the tyranny of preconceptions.
“It doesn’t work for us…” said the CEO when referring to social media. Not swimming in leads…low Klout score…??? Social media is not some form of a checklist in which you just have to cover all the bases, but something that has to become part of your organization’s DNA…Like my relationship with Juan, it takes planning, dedication, and hard work. Define your goals, develop a plan to reach them, and pick the right vehicle(s).
“We gotta get in front of more people and we need more activity” claimed the VP of Sales. Following the traditional path is very comforting, customs always are, but you can’t expect to continue doing the same things and expect different outcomes. I ‘m very surprised that an executive from a growing technology solutions company seems fixated on the traditional Inside Sales / Outside Sales model. How can you expect continued growth when you don’t have any data on the average cost of sale? As another mentor of mine said “leading Sales organizations realize that accurate data improves efficiency and is the cure for bad results…”
“Do they even have money ?” responded the Chief Sales Officer of a European multinational to my enthusiasm over a simple RFP from the Central Bank of Venezuela. I was dumbfounded over this blatant display of ethnocentrism…preconceived notions…prejudice. Everyone likes the idea of global markets in theory, but in practice we’re still back in the days of Columbus. Business, indeed, opportunities are where you find them. You don’t have to commit to completely localizing your website or hiring a lot of multilingual staff. Ask yourself if your solution(s) would be useful and / or address the pains of organizations in different geographic areas. Then enlist the assistance of some experts who have the subject matter expertise to best represent you and your organization. The world’s as big or as small as you make it…leads, prospects, and business are literally all around you!
Can you dig it?