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I have 12-year experience in overseas sales & merchandising & customer relationship cultivating. During the years, I happened to work as a salesman and purchaser in several different manufacturing industries and trading companies. I also worked for a couple of years as a supply chain adviser. Products and services I offered were quite different from each other, but selling expertise is basically consistent.
In most office routines of my career, my daily job has been working as a intermediate in between supply and sourcing. For any deal of new business projects, the truth is that seldom does any process go as good as both party may expect respectively. The initial demand is quite far away from real supply situation, especially for the first time of a business conversation. That’s why a international salesman sits by the negotiation table. My office is grounded in factory facility, but we always need to think in clients' shoes before we respond, find the correct meeting point, and finally place the order & make internal instructions after every detail becomes clear.
Many people may share their successful stories of their past in a loudspeaker, while seldom does anyone like to share his & her failure. Well, we all know failure does exist like Homer nods. To some extent, business is born with venture and risk. When we talk about foreign business, it becomes much more risky than internal ones. You face issues of quality, price, delivery, marketing schedule, rules and regulations of different countries, and much more factors to list and bear in mind. In every deal, you’ve got to figure out what is safe for both party and what is to be avoided.
Well, bad story might not be good to tell, but after making mistakes, you will have your lesson that being honest is the basic principle of all legal trades. You are going to speak the truth early before it actually turns bad and turns out of control. Buyers would prefer you speak as early as a bad trend may become, other than speaking after it already becomes. Unexpected quality issue, delivery delay, and accident... When it is unavoidable, just say sorry in advance when you are failing to deliver what you said in contract. Make it up before things become uncontrollable.
Speaking truth is as good as showing your respect to client. Stay in close touch, tell it, and find a solution together with client. This is the right key to avoid further loss of time and money of this deal. Always speak truth, always do your job good, and you will eventually get your life-time reward.
No matter good or bad the happening is, it does happen sometimes when you are not even really expecting it. That’s the nature of business. Then you get one shot, and you've got to do it right.
What makes it right then? The process may be very complicated, but the answer is simple.
In Eastern culture, some salesperson becomes very timid when not-so-good things happens, being afraid to tell it, trying to hide it under his superior’s indication. Some even shows fake confidence on their service when there is a prospective remarkable big order. That’s really really stupid! A lie is a lie, and it will reveal in future for sure. Consequently, as soon as you tell a lie, you are burying your fame and future opportunities.
For me, a concise rejection is always better than a fake promise. Say no in the very beginning when you assume you can't manage an order proposed by client. This is nothing about courage, but about character. You will always have chance to get a proper order after you refuse a improper one. When you lie, you will have to make more lies to cover it. But when you speak truth, all you need is to stay honest, simple and clear, fair and square. It’s business, and it’s an attitude. Have faith and protect it.
Born charisma in sales ability? Don't deify it. Actually I believe there is nothing like that. Nobody is born great in doing business, but a salesman may choose to become great. Years of constant sense of vision, guts, flexibility, detail-caring, and responsibility makes a good salesperson grow into a sales manager & supervisor. Every working morning I say to myself, “Do your job job and do it better! Be yourself and be a better person!” Now I say this to my subordinate every week.
To make things right, you will just need to act with abilities of integrity, interaction, and integration.