Here we need to think about an issue just in terms of personal ability, working habits and mode of thinking. What is the difference between mainland salespeople in China and western importers or salesmen in Hong Kong and Taiwan?
Only by finding out the problem can we try to find a way to solve it. If you don’t understand customers, doing business will be difficult. What’s worse, many salespeople even don’t know their own situation. They negotiate and follow up in confusion. Thus, whether they can win high-quality customers can only rely on luck. However, this is precisely the current status of most salespeople.
These problems can be summarized into seven parts.
Business is business. The customer will not place an order for us because of our tears and complaints. Winning the order depends on professionalism and ability. As businessmen, what we think about must be the interests. After long-term cooperation, relationships may have a certain effect. However, customers definitely decide to cooperate with suppliers through a process of comprehensive consideration.
Salespeople should not think lightly of yourself because you can’t know the preferences of each customer. For instance, you like the iPhone, but maybe others prefer Samsung. Or you may buy a car in view of performance, but others only look at the interior. It makes no sense to judge the preferences of others in terms of your own experience.
Maybe your company is small, but you can build a flexible team. Or your product is not the best, but you provide the best service. Although your price is not the cheapest, the delivery date is particularly accurate. So, at any time, you should build your own competitiveness. There is nothing wrong with the existence of shortcomings. The more critical thing is to show your advantages. The basic thinking of sales is to let others know your advantages and features, and then explore the needs.
Sometimes, what we lack most is efficiency. We always delay a lot of things. As a result, we have lost many valuable opportunities.
You can slow down, but others take actions quickly. You are inefficient, but your opponents take the opportunity at first. As the saying goes, the opportunity will not come again, which stresses the importance of capturing opportunities.
Why can’t you reply to the customer’s inquiry as soon as possible? Perhaps you can’t answer the customer’s question right away. But you can give a quick reply to tell the customer that you have received the email and how long it takes to respond. This is a small detail, but it also reflects the quality, strain capacity, and professionalism of the salespeople.
Don’t Follow the Crowd
Salespeople have an unfounded “group psychology” in most of the time. They are used to seeing what others do. Even if other people’s practices are not desirable, but most people do this, they will feel that they also can follow.
For example, many salespeople will go to attend various exhibitions at home and abroad. According to past habits, they often collect the customer’s business card first and then put those cards on a notebook to record the customer’s needs and key points. They discuss the results of the exhibition after the exhibition. Then they follow up on these customers and strive for opportunities.
Is there a problem with this approach? Maybe not, or maybe. Salespeople think that this is no problem because most salespeople do so. Their colleagues and bosses all do this, so they naturally feel that it is always right to follow these people. This is indeed the exhibition development model that has always been, and it is also considered a valuable trick left by the predecessors.
But some salespeople consider that there is a problem because times have changed. Nowadays, doing foreign trade is not as easy as it was twenty years ago. At that time, every time traders attending the exhibition would get a group of customers to place orders. But now the competition is more fierce. Almost suppliers of all products can be found in China and other Asian countries. Hence, customers have a lot of choices. So, if we still deal with the current competition in the old method, it is obviously problematic.
Therefore, many salespeople will complain that the exhibition effect is getting worse now, customer value is lower, etc. But, if you quote the customer that night, and send the sample to the hotel the next day, you may be able to discuss the details and confirm the sample in detail with the customer the next night. Then, you may get the order on the third day. However, at this time, most of the peers are still counting business cards happily. Thus, the real problem is their way of thinking.
Group psychology is without fault in many times. But the truth is often in the hands of a few. In any industry, people who do a good job are always in the minority, aren’t they? Taking a different way doesn’t mean that you are wrong. When you walk steadily on your way, there will be many people who follow you.
To put it bluntly, it is through perceptual means to let customers admire, and then satisfied, and even moved.
For example, the customer writes the email to you, and you can reply the same day. Even if you don’t solve the problem in time, he will get some quick reply. In this way, the customer will appreciate your professionalism and efficiency.
Further, the customer doesn’t expect to receive your reply the same day due to the time difference. But he unexpectedly received your email and quotation. After a long time, he will think that you are different from other peers. You’re professional, dedicated, and you respect him much.
Maybe your product is not the best, your price is not the cheapest, but your sense of service is enough to make him moved and let him feel your pay.
Case: My working experience
When I am in business, I am on call for 18 hours a day. Even if I am off duty, my mobile phone and computer are power-on, so that I can handle customers’ emails and calls at any time. The purpose is to make customers feel that I am serious enough and put him in the first place.
Once, I got up at three o’clock in the morning to drink water. By the way, I took out my mobile phone and checked the e-mail. As a result, I found out that a US importer asked about the packaging of a sample. Then I replied to him, telling him the price difference between the color box packaging and the double blister packaging.
At that time, it happened to be about three o’clock in the afternoon in the US time, which was the busiest time.
The next day, I received the customer’s email. While replying to the content, he also circled my reply email time and joked that I was Superman. Also, he said he would place the order to me today because I was dedicated, which made him feel that working with me will be reassuring.
In fact, this is only a tiny detail. But often this inadvertently revealing things is the easiest to impress customers.
Writing Emails Simply
When we write emails, we often like to use some complex sentence patterns and words. This is the habit formed by years of exam-oriented education. However, this sets a bad example for our foreign trade work because we complicate the simple expression.
In fact, they are unnecessary. The essence of foreign trade work and the core of negotiation are demand discussion and solving the problems of both sides, rather than showing the English ability. So, simple words are better than complex words. Also, things that can be expressed clearly in one sentence should not be extended into one paragraph. Otherwise, it will produce the opposite effect, which can easily lead the other party to misunderstand.
When you are busy at work, you receive an English email. It is full of complicated words. Thus, you have to look up the dictionary to find out the meaning before you reply. Unfortunately, the second email also comes with confusing words. What will you feel? This can really bore many customers.
Business negotiations need to be concise and direct. You should try not to avoid misunderstandings, not to waste the time of the two parties. Whether you are writing emails, making phone calls, or communicating face-to-face with your customers, you must follow that principle. You should try your best to simplify and organize the complex content.
There is another problem. You shouldn’t guess about the customer’s intentions. This is of no practical significance but to make yourself suspicious. When some salespeople quote customers, once customers say that the price is high, or they want to compare the price before decide, salespeople will quickly cut the price by 20%. But will the customer be sure to place an order? It may only bring the opposite effect. It is possible that customers who have decided to place orders become hesitate.
Salespeople shouldn’t doubt customers at will and shouldn’t doubt yourself easily. When you should be firm, you should stick to it. Equally, when you should give up, you should give up decisively.
This is the case of foreign trade. From an inquiry, you are often unable to judge the bottom line of your customer. There are many possibilities for customers to bargain, not necessarily because the price is high. It could be a negotiation strategy or to get your basic price to negotiate with his regular supplier.
Therefore, for any customer or inquiry, you only need to negotiate on a step-by-step basis. Don’t mess yourself up easily. Customers who really have needs will choose a more suitable partner after comparison. This is a normal situation.
Therefore, you should stop making unfounded speculations and suspicions. In business, you must first have confidence in yourself and your products. Then, you can have the so-called “mental aura” in the negotiations.
Here we are going to talk about the issue of “determination”. Most of the time, it is not the customer who gives up you, but you lose confidence and give up yourself.
A salesperson receives an inquiry, and the order quantity is large. But he thinks his company is a trading company which cannot take big orders. Thus, the customer will certainly cooperate with the factory.
He also receives another inquiry. The customer is a famous big buyer. In this case, the salesperson feels that the customer must be extremely demanding. He will definitely ask for factory inspection and a variety of test reports. So the company has to invest a lot of cost and money to develop this customer.
So from the beginning, we have flinched. We do not go all out to fight for opportunities. We reply to the customer’s email and follow up at will. In fact, we have no expectation anymore. How can we succeed in such a state?
Everything needs to be built on an effort. No matter who the customer is, how high the demand is, how many twists and turns in the process, you should try your best to fight, instead of giving up at the beginning!
In the foreign trade industry, there is no strictly “equal in social status”. Big buyers may cooperate with small companies, and small customers also can do business with big factories. Everything is possible. So don’t be limited by the so-called “little chance”. How do you know if you don’t try? But if you don’t try, you will definitely have no chance.
Besides, giving-up is has a great appeal and is likely to cause psychological barriers in your career. As long as you give up once, if you encounter similar problems in the future, you will always tell yourself that you will not get the chance. This psychological barrier will always accompany your career. The best way is to face it and challenge it. It doesn’t matter if you lose. You can also learn from it. Instead of giving up easily, you get nothing and hurt your confidence.
This article is about the flashpoints that foreign trade salespeople generally lack. It is divided into seven aspects to explain for all foreign trade salespeople to reflect upon themselves.
Many times, we can’t understand our shortcomings through the people around us, because most of our peers are in the same situation as ourselves. We should aim at those who are far better than ourselves and are at the tip of the industry pyramid. Under the huge gap, we will have the motivation to improve ourselves. One less drawback is equal to one more advantage.
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