3. ABOUT THE BEAR'S SKIN...
That is an old saying for sure… but so wise too…However obvious the “don’t sell the bear’s skin before selling it” may sound, you’d be surprised how often companies – maybe your company - are led astray by circumstances and should not.
In a past business life I was in charge of developing sales at a company. I started scanning our products portfolio and found a sleeping beauty. As a first step I reconnected to the past customers to understand why they were not with us anymore. A few customers, routine sales, stable. As a first step I reconnected to the past customers to understand why they were not with us anymore. One of them was clearly a very interesting potential with nice capabilities but they had just forgotten us and did not need us anymore. I thought “this may change” and I undertook to call the buyer every 6 months to check at them. After one year they got acquired by a major player in this industry. I went on checking and building trust.
The second year I got a phone call from him. They were now instrumental in a strategic launch of their mother company and their site would launch a new product line. They were under high pressure for the first product launch and none of their suppliers could cope with the volume and leadtime required. It was the moment to regain this customer and it was a high value long term opportunity. It took me one week of discussions with management and site but we opened a strategic slot in our crowded production schedule.
By whatever calendar hazards a leadership committee was taking place at that time suddenly we were in this meeting room celebrating with a drink. I felt awkward though. Something did not feel right. I grew in my international business career with the discipline that building up export sales takes focus, outstanding dedication and double energy versus domestic sales. International success, except for a few low hanging fruits, takes you OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. The only thing I can remember I said was: let’s make this first order well, we’ll celebrate later.
Your guess? We had a quality issue. Our product was rejected. We lost that business. We missed that train. We had had no quality issue for months, not the least. Bad luck? Shit happens? No and yes.
Truth is we got comfy before the finish line and we triped. When you have gone sofar in building trust at a customer, becoming part of a strategic launch, that the stakes are high for both of you, getting the order is not the finish line. Delivering right and getting paid by your customer with a bravo is the finish line. However skilled you are at what you do, in such ciscumstances, DOUBT is the best attitude. Double checking, taking exceptional measures, challenging your habits, counting with bad luck and shit, instead of relying on your past success.
For those of you who decide to go international with your business, it is a long and challenging journey because you decide to play world class. It requires high customer focus and experience in the game. It is precious to have a flexible and expert resource for international business development who will help you to turn opportunities into long term high value business.
Aroma Project Booster proposes Business Development Services to Natural Ingredients producers and is their flexible resource for International Business Development. Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cell +33 6 33 89 75 83.