Personal Selling: Two Approaches


Personal Selling: Two Approaches

Many American companies do not put nearly enough effort into direct, personal communication. Japanese success in displacing the US as Saudi Arabia’s leading supplier is instructive. Japanese exporters and small teams to meet with Saudi importers: Japanese exporters; they go to Saudi workshops, travel to secondary towns, and meet with sub-agents. The Americans, on the other hand, invite all their Saudi agents together for a luncheon, do not have private meetings, do not get their hands dirty, and never travel to secondary towns—they tend to stick to the three market centers. Saudis complain that US effort is misdirected: American personnel devote infinitesimal detail to making advance arrangements for visiting executives, going so far as to specify rooms overlooking a certain view from the hotel.

Japanese firms supplement their direct, personal efforts with heavy local advertising. They use gifts generously in product introductions, and warrantees on Japanese consumer electronics range up to three years. To carry out this business, Japanese trading companies have large staffs of professional international marketers who have been cultivated since graduation from a Japanese international trading university, schooled in English and Arabic, and rotated worldwide as international trading specialists.

Compared to most other cultures, particularly non-Western. Americans are extraordinarily preoccupied with the tangible aspects of a product. They round up all their sales agents and give a product presentation instead of putting their energies into the more important component of international marketing—people. In American and only a few other countries it is normal to do business from a distance, between strangers, by mail or telephone.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

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Sales Secrets


  • You have to be honest;
  • When making a proposal to somebody, put yourself in the shoes of that person;
  • You’ve got to know your business. Constantly increase your knowledge;
  • You must work. If you have all the knowledge in the world and are the most honest person, if you’re going to stay home, can you make any business?
  • Never, ever get discouraged and disappointed. No matter what business you’re in will have ups and down. Don’t think this is the end of the world.

As Fortune magazine puts it, “Of all the big time insurance salesman, Mehdi Fakharzadeh must surely qualify as the most improbable. For although he has lived half his life in the US, he continues to struggle with English language. Yet Mehdi has achieved fantastic success—because of his honesty and his extraordinary instinct for serving clients personally.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Personal Letters


Not direct mailings of large quantities of letters and brochures, but simple, personal letters is one of the most effective, easy, inexpensive, and overlooked methods of marketing. Certainly the large corporations don’t consider using this type of communication, because it doesn’t reach enough people to enrich their coffers. But it’s just the ticket for many an individual businessperson. If you can write clear English, spell properly, and keep your message short enough, you ought to be able to develop enough business through this mode of marketing so that you need employ many other methods. Even if you’re a dismal grammarian, professional typists can usually help put your ideas into acceptable form on the printed page.

The primary value of a personal letter is that it enables you to convey a truly personal feeling and reach a special place in the mind of the reader. You can say specific things in personal letters that are just not practical in any other medium except for certain kinds of telephone marketing.

In a personal letter you can, should, and must include as much personal data as possible. Mention the person’s name, of course. But also  mention things about the person’s life, business, car, home, or—if you ‘re in the gardening business—the person’s garden. By doing so, you will be whispering into someone’s ear rather than shouting through a distant megaphone. Naturally, you can mention personal things unless you know them. So do your homework and learn about your prospective customers: their working and living habits, their hopes and goals, their problems. You can get much of this information from your chamber of commerce. You can get more by conducting your own informal research with the aid of a simple questionnaire, or by personal observation. Include in your letter these feelings, and you will be dazzled at the effect the letter has.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Learn the Language


If you are going to spend a year or more in a country—definitely, absolutely, do your utmost to learn the language. It will make a tremendous difference to your state of mind. Ability to understand the local language seems to play a major role in adjustment to culture shock and personal success in a foreign world.

It is not clear why speaking the language makes such a big difference, but it does. Obviously it makes getting around a lot easier. In hundreds of moments of struggling to get something done, from shopping to household repairs to getting directions, just knowing some of the language removes huge portions of aggravation and helps you gain a sense of safety and self-assurance. When people around you are babbling away in a foreign language, you become vaguely insecure and feel isolated. Knowing the language gives you a sense of mastery in situations where you may feel vulnerable.

The more process of learning the language gets you more in tune with the culture, and breaks the ice, putting you in the right frame of mind to adjust. In some places, speaking a second language is important to enhance your image as a well-bred, educated person—you may be somewhat better off if the language you learn is not the language spoken in the country.

The frequent traveler should think about learning languages too, of course, depending on the amount of travel and bilingualism of the business community. Speaking a language fluently can permit you to attain levels of relationship and business advantage unattainably by someone who doesn’t.

Fluency in the language will allow the traveler into otherwise exclusive realms of local business. The process of negotiation often depends on behind-the-scenes information flow.

Learning the language is no substitute for learning the culture and appropriate behavior. People who are fluent in a language but not sensitive to the culture can make worse mistakes, perhaps because the local experts more of them. And there are dangers in speaking a language if you are not competent in it. Not knowing the nuances of words or being careless with intonations, you might say things you don’t mean. In most languages, some common words have extremely vulgar meanings if pronounced incorrectly. Or you may hear unintended meanings.

If you don’t speak the language well, it is best to reveal that you have made the effort to learn—but then rely on English or an interpreter. Experts advise that is generally best to speak the language for socializing and daily activities, but not when transacting business. As a rule of thumb, if you are not fluent and your foreign counterpart does not speak fluent English, always transact business with an interpreter. Traders who meet frequently with foreigners say that while English is the business language around the world, buyers are far more comfortable talking in their native language, and even if they can speak English, it is often better to have an interpreter. They don’t have to struggle so hard, and it puts them at ease.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Play your Cards Right


Business cards may be commonplace, but they are vital too. Wherever you are, you will do better with a formal style of card, without advertising, and with clear information in English on one side and the local language on the other.

Business card etiquette is no mere ritual. In places such as Japan a business card is both mini-resume and a ticket to the game of business; a certain amount of gamesmanship is necessary to make the best use of the ticket. The first rule is never to be without cards, any more than a samurai would be without his sword. Never being without cards in Japan means taking fifty or more cards to every meeting. The second rule is to respect the cards, keeping them in a distinctive holder. Keeping your cards in your pocket or in a cheap plastic envelop is like making a business call with a shopping bag instead of a briefcase.

The third rule is to handle the card with formality. The card is presented, not merely handed. Japanese books of etiquette even point out a variety of ways to hold the card. Fourth, try to hand cards out in descending order of rank. The fifth rule is to receive another’s card gracefully, using both hands and never stuffing the card recklessly into your pocket.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Letter Writing


Napoleon is reputed to have written more than 50,000 letters in his lifetime. Letterwriting sounds so simple. And perhaps it was, once upon a time. Today, however, more and more letters are being written—over 79 billion yearly. Jobs, sales, friendships, public relations, and even our day-to-day satisfactions depend on our ability to communicate quickly, accurately, and succinctly.

 

Although an impressive amount of business and social interaction takes place over the telephone or in person today, oral communication has not yet begun to replace the written word. The well-written letter remains a staple of business success and one of the strongest connecting links between individuals and organizations.

 

Composition demands clear, logical expression. It needs the ability to sift and organize material and present it in an orderly and unambiguous way. To do this well you must have a sound knowledge of English. You must know what words mean and you must know the rules of grammar. Having a good command of words is not to be confused with a high-flown literary style, which would be out of place in business. The important thing is to be clear and exact in what you write.

 

It should be just as easy to understand people we have not actually met by reading their letters as it is in speaking to them on the telephone. As the speaker pauses for breath between phrases, the writer inserts a comma between phrases. The full stop brings to a conclusion what the writer has to say.

 

There are six points or stops which we call punctuation. They are the comma, semicolon, colon, full stop, question mark and explanation mark. There are seven, if you include the dash. The uses of the full stop, the question and exclamation marks are so clear that mistakes can scarcely occur.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight