Relatively few companies have cross border business, and fewer still are global. In the U.S. less than 1% of firms export and of those, two thirds export to only one country. Contrast that with European countries where the percentages are much higher. Five percent of Swedish companies export and over 50% export to multiple countries. Part of the difference is logistics, part is mindset and some is business necessity. Increasingly companies all around the world are recognising the opportunity – and risks – of selling into new markets.
Becoming international and selling to customers in a few new countries may seem daunting, whilst being global and selling in multiple countries across continents could seem nearly impossible. It’s not – and here are some top tips and a process to help accelerate your success.
1. Do Market Research
You better have a special product or service that is hard to get in other countries, otherwise why would people there buy what you have rather than buy it locally? They won’t – and so make sure that each market wants what you’ve got. Do primary and secondary market research before dipping your toe into any market, rather than jumping in and finding out later that they’re just not into you.
2. Prioritise Market Entry
Often the first cross border sale is almost accidental. Suddenly some customer in Germany buys, and the next thing you know you’re international. So do you plunge into Germany, or some other country, next? This is where you should take a step back and evaluate your options, prioritise market entry, create a strategy and plan. Where will you be most successful, and where is the lowest hanging fruit? Reach out for that and pick off the best ones first as part of a global growth plan.
3. Utilise National & Other Resources
Your country almost certainly has export assistance programs that will support your cross border expansion. In the U.S. nearly all states are participating in the Department of Commerce STEP programme that reimburses companies for many sales and marketing expenditures as they grow globally. Talk to your local government groups to see how they can help support and supplement your efforts.
4. Put Marketing & Sales First
One of the biggest mistakes we see companies make is to worry about infrastructure first and put marketing and sales last in their thinking. It should be the opposite way round – you need to know how you will best go to market in each of the countries you wish to sell to. You need to know whether your sales be direct or indirect, how you will position your offering for optimum results and what your marketing strategy and plan is.
Sweat the details with marketing and sales first and then build the infrastructure such as offices, administration and legal policies to follow that. As with most areas, get feedback from experts who have been there and done that, like Growth Nation! Many new opportunities can be gained through experienced eyes.
5. Make Sure You’re Covered Legally
Your intellectual property, cross border contracts and other legal issues should not be an afterthought. They need to be thought of before you have conversations with potential partners. Get your legal position understood in each country and proceed once that is taken care of. Especially with your intellectual property, be protected today and down the road consider using legal experts who are familiar with the countries where you plan your expansion. Get that set before your first conversation in each new country.
6. Get Logistics & Financial Details Handled Properly
With any product moving across a border, make sure you work with a freight forwarder and logistics partner that is working in that country right now – and do just leave it to learning as you go. They should be familiar with your product family and segment, and keep you ahead of any potential problems along the way to the customer. Similarly the payment process all the way back through to you should be well understood and set in place before you go jumping in. Your bank should be familiar with working in each country. Pull in the experts to get you prepared for problems that can and will occur.
7. Select Partners You Can Count On
Define the kind of distribution and business partners that will work and then carefully select them in each country. Again many countries have resources that can help – such as the Gold Key programme with the U.S. Commercial Service. The Gold Key is a good value that allows American companies (for a small fee) to have potential partners vetted and prepped before your arrival and prior to market entry. This takes away uncertainty and reduces the risk of selecting the wrong partners.
8. Be Cross-Culturally Savvy
New country entry will almost always include some sort of cross-cultural issue that can bite you and your business where it hurts. Does a cultural issue preclude the use of your product the way it was intended, or is the product name sub-optimal, or does the description require more than just a standard translation to appeal to the local sensibility? These are all issues that can lead to unpleasant surprises that derail not only growth in a country, but stall globalization overall. Keep cross-cultural issues in mind by testing, researching and pulling in those resources that can judge what you have from a local perspective.
9. Be A Global Marketer
Beyond starting with marketing and sales in your plan, fully embrace marketing in each country as you implement your country entry plan. Make sure your website is locally compatible with all the right bells and whistles including being readable on mobile devices. If you have an eCommerce site, make sure that the right currencies are included and that you’re prepared well ahead of time to handle that on the backend. Since you’re building credibility in a new location, focus on testimonials that matter and quickly build up local testimonials that will mean more in each specific country.
10. Adopt A 24/7 Mindset
As you grow in country after country and across continents, you’ll find that a 24/7 organisational mindset is essential. How you individually handle that is up to you. You’ve got to sleep sometime! Find the right balance between making connections in your new markets with your own sanity of managing multiple countries.
I suggest erring on the side of overextending yourself at least in the beginning, because so much can and does go off the track – and you want to catch things early before they become problems. Spend extra time with your team all the way through to make sure they ‘get it’ and understand what it takes to be global from start to finish. That’s a big deal – and I’ve found that it takes extra effort even in bigger companies.
Your global success depends on orchestrating the team’s ability to withstand the rigors of international and global business. With extra planning and by relying on experienced professionals who have learned from past experiences, you will accelerate global growth and success. Grow globally with less risk and more confidence by considering these 10 points.
Guest Blog By Doug Bruhnke, CEO of Growth Nation
Founded in 2001, Growth Nation supports companies around the world with marketing and business services to help them grow across borders and globally.
(Image by J S Creationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
All over the country, businesses of all sizes and sectors have been participating in weird and wonderful activities to raise money for Children In Need. From fancy dress days in the office and bake sales at lunch, to whole departments running to work for the week and company MDs getting sponsored to do the tea run for the entire business, many companies are getting involved to raise money for this worthwhile cause.
As part of Children In Need, MTD’s Training Director Peter Freeth was called in to help BBC Cumbria with their charity bake sale. The team at the BBC are taking part in the “Great British Bake Off” meets “The Apprentice” – and MTD had been called in to help the team understand how they could sell more cakes and raise more money for charity.
Now, Peter might not be much of an expert on baking but he certainly had some good ideas on how the BBC team could double their money for Children In Need. Here’s what he had to say:
It’s not very often the team here at MTD get asked to provide sales training for a charity bake sale, but – as Peter proved – certain sales techniques can be applied to almost any type of business or industry and you will see improved results.
Here are the key points to remember when trying to boost your business.
1 – Sell more!
Fundamentally, in order to make more profit, you have to either:
Sell more of your products or services
Sell your products or services at a higher margin
(Margin is simply the difference between the selling price and the total of your buying, production, operating and sales costs.)
2 – Invest in your sales approach
With most products and all services, the customer doesn’t get to fully engage with the product until after they have bought it, which means that the product or service itself isn’t what creates the perception of value. That perception is created by your marketing, and by your sales approach. A higher perception of value means that your market will sustain a higher price, which means higher margins for you to invest back in your business.
3 – Stand out from the crowd
A unique approach will make your product stand out, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will like that. So instead of doing something different or unusual, just for the sake of it, think about who your target market is, think about what they would pay for your product, and think about what would be a unique or unusual way of targeting them and getting their attention.
As simple as these pointers might seem, they are key elements that every business owner and sales professional needs to remember in order to sell more products and services and drive their business forward.
We wish the team at the BBC the best of luck in raising money for Children In Need and we really hope that Peter’s advice has helped them sell as many cakes as possible.
MTD Sales Training
(Audio Clip from BBC Cumbria | Image by Mikeseye Photographic)
The modern day sales process has changed, and sales professionals across all sectors and industries are having to change the way that they sell in order to engage and interact with the modern day buyer.
The days of the mighty cold call are fading away fast, as the modern day buyer simply doesn’t want to be sold to. Instead, the internet and has become the buyer’s best friend, and they can find out all about your business and compare and contrast you against your competitors all with just a few clicks of a mouse.
The buyer is now in control of the sales process, and knowing how to redress this balance of power is so important for modern day sales professionals and business owners.
Sean McPheat, Managing Director of MTD Sales Training and best-selling author of eselling®, will be presenting a session on the modern day way to sell at the Business Boost 2012 event on June 1st.
In this fun and engaging session Sean will show you how to prospect, position yourself as an expert and sell using the internet and social media. After this session you will go away with an understanding of how the sales process is changing and what you can do to even up the odds with the modern day buyer.
But don’t just take our word for it – here’s what David Brent, from The Office, has to say:
Sean will be joined at the Business Boost 2012 by an array of high impact speakers including Steve Maraboli, Adrian Webster and Sandro Forte. The event is being held at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham on June 1st and tickets are going fast, so book now to ensure you don’t miss out – www.businessboost2012.co.uk
Before I sign off, here are some more tips on becoming a great sales person:
Sales 2.0 and modern day selling are hot topics right now, as more and more sales professionals and business owners are seeing the benefits of applying these concepts within their day-to-day sales processes.
Social media and the internet have become big players in the business world, but few professionals really understand how to use these online tools to develop their sales techniques and generate qualified leads.
As many of you will know by now, MTD Sales Training’s MD Sean McPheat is at the forefront of the modern day selling revolution, and has written a bestselling book on the subject– entitled eselling® – which provides readers with a step by step guide on how to use social media and the internet to prospect, network and engage with the c-suite decision maker online.
In November of last year, Sean was invited to give a keynote presentation of the concept of eselling® to over 1,000 sales professionals from across Europe at the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management’s (ISMM) Successful Selling Conference at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry.
The short video above is a quick excerpt from Sean’s presentation on modern day selling at the ISMM, which will give you a good overview of what eselling® is really about, and how you can put these techniques into practice within your business.
Before I sign off, here are some more tips on becoming a great sales person:
Today’s buyers are a lot more sales savvy; they conduct research online about your products and services, your company and your competitors all with a few clicks of a mouse. The internet and social media in particular are now your buyers’ best friends, as it puts them in control of the modern day sales process, so what are you doing to redress this balance of power?
Here are some scary facts and figures for you:
The way your buyers make their purchasing decisions has changed, but are you changing the way that you sell? Social media can be a powerful sales tool when you know how to get the best from it, especially when it comes to using LinkedIn.
You’ve definitely heard of LinkedIn, you might even have a LinkedIn account and you’ve heard of the benefits and the power that LinkedIn can provide you in terms of prospecting and selling….but your LinkedIn account is just sitting there gathering dust simply because you don’t know what to do with it!
Or is it because you have yet to be convinced of the real value of the site? Well, he’s a few LinkedIn stats for you to digest:
Considering this information, it’s unsurprising to find out that in a recent survey conducted by advertising agency OgilvyOne found that 93% of UK sales professionals have received no training in using social media, and 53% of these want help with learning to use social media platforms as a business tool.
As a modern day sales professional it is so important to understand how to harness the power of LinkedIn for your business, and MTD Sales Training are here to help.
We have created a complimentary report for you which will help you to understand how to get the most out of LinkedIn as a business tool.
“Ultimate LinkedIn Essentials For Sales Professionals” is free to download and will show you how to tap into the potential goldmine of prospecting resources and additional sales opportunities that LinkedIn has to offer. With a killer profile and the right approach to hunt out, prospect and engage with your target market, you will maximise your prospecting time and generate qualified leads.
Simply click the link below to download your copy:
If you still need convincing of the power of LinkedIn or if there’s anything you would like to ask me then leave me a comment below and I will get back to you.
MTD Sales Training
Sales people can find a plethora of tips and tricks on closing sales, and sales managers can easily locate information on how to find good sales people to work with. Yet, there is not a lot of information for the sales person on how to find a good company to work with. Here are a few tips to help you find that company that will pay off for you, as you pay off for them!
#1 – Caution!
Unfortunately, besides actors and models, sales people are the most mislead group of employment seekers in the world. The sad truth is that there are tons of unsavoury, slip-shod companies selling all kinds of unproven and substandard products and services. These companies prey on new and eager, yet unsuspecting sales people that possess little knowledge of the industry.
These companies often promise pie-in-sky, get-rich-quick schemes that have little or no basis in reality. So as a sales person, the first word is be careful and do not be too quick to believe everything you hear.
#2 – Believe in the Product or Service More Than the Money
The second step in choosing a company to work with is to choose a product or service that you can truly believe in. Only sell something that you would sell to a close loved one, should they be a qualified prospect for the product or service. You have to believe in what you sell and choose the company on that, rather than the potential income.
To choose a company primarily because of the money you think you can make will usually prove to be a serious mistake. See the product or service in your heart before you see the money in your pocket.
#3 – Research
Now, do a lot of research on the company and the entire industry. Not only check the company’s web site, check everything else including complaints against the company, industry laws and future, competition and longevity. Keep in mind that a lot of the information you get from the internet may be bogus, so consider the source of all the information.
#4 – The Numbers
Finally, if the company qualifies to the point where you get an interview, ask the sales management some of these questions where applicable:
a. How long has the average sales person worked with this firm?
b. How long has the longest, most senior sales person been here? No matter how you phrase it, find out about employee turnover. If sales people leave within a few months, there is a problem.
c. What sales support do the sales people receive? How much of their time are sales people able to commit to actual selling, and how much is non-income producing responsibilities?
d. How long is the average sales process from ‘hello’ to check in hand and commission paid?
e. How long is the sales interaction, presentation?
f. What is the closing average for the average sales person?
g. What is the amount of the average sale?
h. How much is the average commission?
i. What is the closing average for setting appointments? How many calls does it take to secure one solid appointment? How many contacts with DMs does it take to set one appointment?
The Essential Questions
Please note that if the management is not intimately familiar with such numbers as closing and other sales performance and activity statistics, consider that a serious red flag and be concerned. If they have to guess or give you hypothetical numbers, watch out. They should be able to give you real data based on actual performance.
With the above type questions, you can figure out what is true about the commission structure and potential income.
As an example, let us say the sales manager told you that you can easily earn £1,000 per week and that most sales people make at least that much. However, from your questions you found that:
1. It takes 20 calls to reach 10 DMs to set one appointment. You realise that at a reasonable 5 or 6 minutes per call, it is likely to take you two hours to set one good appointment. Therefore, in a full day, you can set 4 to 5 appointments.
2. You also find that, including travel, the average sales interaction takes 2 hours. Thus, you can perform maybe 3 or 4 per day.
3. Therefore, if you took 2 days a week and set 10 appointments, you can then run the 10 appointments the other 3 days of the week at 3 or 4 per day. So, you can run 10, and as many as 12 appointments per week.
4. The sales manager also informed you that the closing average is 20% or 1 out of 5 and the average sales commission is £200.
As you can see, the numbers do not add up to what the manager is telling you. If you ran 10 appointments and closed at a 20% rate, that’s only 2 sales at £200 each which is only £400 not £1,000. If you were somehow able to run 16 appointments a week and close at 25%, you still only close 4 sales and you would still come up short.
Of course, that is a generic example, but if you ask the right questions, you can figure out what is real and what is smoke-and-mirrors.
Use caution – don’t believe everything you hear.
Choose a company because you believe in what they sell.
Exercise real due diligence in researching the organisation.
Study the numbers.
Then go to work!
MTD Sales Training
(Image by JS Creationzs)
It’s Louise here again, filling you in on the latest news from the MTD HQ. November has been a very busy month for Sean and the team as we held our first ever Sales Summit recently!
MTD’s MD Sean McPheat has had many successful experiences keynoting at business events and conferences across the country, and he thought it was about time MTD had our very own sales event…and what an event it was!
Our 2011 Sales Summit was held on Thursday 17th November in Heathrow, and with over 100 UK and international sales professionals in attendance it certainly was a packed day.
The Summit played host to 3 fantastic speakers who presented four must-see sessions on all manner of topics, from prospecting, networking and building value during a sales interaction, right up to influencing, negotiating and communicating with potential customers.
Sean kicked off the day with his first session on “The Ultimate Sales Audit”, where he helped guests to thoroughly rip their sales approach to pieces and really analyse the way that they currently sell. Sean encouraged his guests to make the most of their sales interactions and gave great direction on how to pre-sell their products.
The second session of the day was taken by international public speaker Simon Hazeldine, who had our guests rolling with laughter during his fantastic session on “Bare Knuckle Negotiating”. As an ex-bouncer from a former life, Simon had plenty of real-life experiences to share with our guests as he took our delegates through the negotiation process – sharing with them the strategies, tricks and tactics they need to survive and thrive when negotiating with a client.
Following a networking lunch in the beautiful atrium of the Radisson Edwardian Hotel, guests took their seats once again as Sean McPheat returned to the stage to present his much sought-after session on eselling®. Sean is the creator of the alternative sales approach known as eselling®, which helps businesses to prospect and sell online through the use of social media and other internet based services. Guests, of course, were very keen to see this session in particular, as this is fast becoming one of the biggest successes of Sean’s recent accomplishments.
One of the main focuses of the eselling® approach is to teach sales professionals how to use social media within their business, and to gain a real and substantial return on their investment – so Sean treated his guests to a 20 minute LinkedIn video tutorial, in which he gave guests a guided tour of the benefits of using LinkedIn as a business tool and showed them how they can create valuable business leads via this medium.
The day was capped off nicely by a very entertaining session from Sean’s number one Sales Trainer Mark Williams. Mark presented a session on The New ROI, in which he showed guests how to get a return on influence with their clients. Mark taught guests how to better understand and communicate with their clients, how to get clients on their side and how to influence people on a subconscious level.
In a final flurry of magic and mystery Mark even turned four grown men into a human table which went down a storm with the attendees!
Following the event, both Sean and the team have received some brilliant feedback from our guest, with many commenting that they are very much looking forward to next year’s Summit. Here’s what a few of our attendees have said about the Sales Summit:
“Sean delivers an excellent approach to selling that has helped me tremendously with my sales techniques. The conference he set up was great and I would recommend attending it to expand your abilities as a salesman.” – Andy Naisbitt, Business Development Manager at Gen3 Kinematics
“Sean is an inspiring and well prepared presenter. His ideas on today’s buyer are clearly well researched and his modern day sales concepts are backed up with practical examples and his own living proof that they work – Sean “walks his talk”. An expert in his field, Sean is also down to earth, personable and appreciative of his audience.” - Stephanie Keller, Sales Coach and Consultant at S2 Strategic Skills
“A fantastic and informative Sales Summit day, full of brand new content. I have learned more than in any other course I have attended in the past, the event was well organised and the speakers were amazing. I really look forward to attending some other courses with MTD Sales Training and thank you very much for your on-going email support which I highly appreciate and respect.” Kubilay Tunc, The Cumberland Hotel
Both Sean and the team have been thrilled with the feedback we’ve received from the event and we are now looking forward to the 2012 Sales Summit – bring it on!
Just how much of selling success is luck? Some will say that selling has absolutely nothing to do with luck; instead it is all a matter of skill. Others however, will maintain that, of course there is some element of luck involved in selling. While still some sales professionals (as I have noted on this site) define luck as Labour Under Correct Knowledge. So, let me first begin by defining exactly what IS luck?
Merriam-Webster defines luck as…
1. a. A force that brings good fortune or adversity
b. The events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual
c. Favouring chance
If luck is indeed a type of force, then is it possible to create your own luck?
Yes! Below is a prescription you can use to create your own luck!
#1. Definiteness of Purpose
First you add the main ingredient which is “Definiteness of Purpose.” You must know exactly what you are aiming for and precisely where you are going. This includes your goals, both personal and professional, your objectives with each prospective client, your objective for each sales call, meeting or sales activity and your motives for everything that you do. Why do you do what you do?
#2. Expert Knowledge
The second ingredient is “Expert Knowledge.” Understanding the sales training manual given to you by your management is not enough. You need to know everything there is to know about your product or service, as well as your entire industry–past, present and future.
#3. A Consistent Work Ethic
Expert knowledge and definiteness of purpose are useless without consistent action. You must develop a plan to produce a steady work flow consisting of all of the necessary sales activities; day in and day out, week in and week out, and without fail.
#4. A Passionate Belief in What You Sell and Do
The fourth and final ingredient is the glue that holds it all together. You must have a deep and heartfelt conviction in your product or service and its value to your customers. You have to believe that the benefits to your customer far outweigh the benefits to you and your company. You have to know that the client is the true winner in every sale you close.
Now, when you go out and perform all of the above ingredients simultaneously, right where they intersect is where you will get extremely lucky!
Go out there and make your own luck!
Bestselling Author, Sales Authority & Speaker On Modern Day Selling Methods