I just got back from a very intense, very successful trip to Ukraine delivering Intercultural Sales Cycles Workshops to groups of 25-35 participants in three different cities. What I’m most grateful for is the huge amount of positive feedback I’ve received – I put a lot of effort into designing a helpful curriculum that goes through all aspects of a true sales cycle, from Lead Generation, Closing Sales, Delivering Projects, and Customer Support + Creating Brand Champions. Since I’m getting ready to speak at the I/O Conference in Kochi, as well as giving custom, hands-on workshops in Trivandrum on March 10th, I thought I’d summarize some of the success stories and key takeaways for people wondering about my content.
Practical Exercises That Teach You How To Improve
I’ve been delivering training for some time. Before my current role as CMO and Cofounder of Ekipa, I worked independently as a marketing consultant, among many other roles. Before that, while I was at Google, I was a trainer in presentation skills and also delivered expert training via the Google Academy, a program to certify young professionals for Google’s AdWords Examinations. Before that, even before I attended and graduated from the Yale Law School, I taught Latin and Ancient Greek to little kids at Live Oak Academy in San Jose, California.
In all those experiences, I learned that in order to make a training concrete and fixed in another person’s mind, I need to present concepts in terms of practical exercises. And every exercise I use incorporates an element of self-assessment as well as peer assessment. That’s perhaps the most important part because we’re often much worse at something than what we think we are.
For example, I teach an exercise called the One to Ten. I won’t ruin it for workshop participants, who need to see it fresh, but I will say that we use it in regions where people are naturally more introverted in order to assess for the right energy level when speaking to USA clients. Almost universally, people tend to think they’re at a better level than what other people actually see they are.
Why is this important for Indian Software Development firms and IT Outsourcing firms? Because whenever I ask them what the biggest issue they face in their business is, the answer is getting better projects. But when I ask them if they face communication issues, or have problems delivering projects, the answer is no, they do everything just fine and do not need help improving.
Did You Spot The Error In Logic?
Put another way – if I am communicating and delivering with zero problems, and my firm is perfect, then what is preventing me from obtaining better projects?
One likely possibility is that the people I talk to do not want to admit their imperfections to someone they do not know well out of fear I may judge them. That’s fine. But it’s foolish not to face the source of those issues and work to correct them.
Another possibility is that too many bad Indian outsourcing firms have ruined the party for all the quality companies out there, unfairly giving India a reputation for bad code. And quality firms have to pay the price for a few unscrupulous companies who do bad work.
In either of these cases, something is being lost in communication, and it’s up to every individual to find out what’s going wrong. In my workshops, I cover the historical basis for USA preferences for communication and working styles, with a specific focus on how these relate to India. Then we go through exercises that I’ve custom designed for your culture to get you to understand what USA clients need in your communication practices, in order for you to make yourself understood.
Some Clips From Ukraine Workshop @Kyiv
The key takeaway – the end result – is that your leads and sales prospects will actually be able to perceive the value I know you have. You’ll close more deals, faster, because you’ll be selling in a way that draws people to you instead of pushing them away.
From Olga Yakubovskaya of Bright Outsource:
“I love that Jennifer’s workshop included lots of practical tips – no bla-bla information here. Everything I learned could be used right away. And the interactive exercises showed me exactly where I needed to improve and how. Thanks for your knowledge and energy – it was very motivating!”
Almost universally, people believe they operate at a higher level than what they think they are at. If getting better projects is your goal, then it’s worth it to take a critical look at what’s going on in communicating your value to USA clients. And my perspective as a USA native who’s lived in other countries is unique. When else will you have someone from your target market tell you exactly what you can improve?
Real Examples of General Principles
I don’t believe in talking nonstop about theory. Communication issues in selling projects to USA clients are slightly different in Ukraine than in India because the business culture is different, but people are still the same everywhere. It’s not enough to say, “don’t insist on the project first” or “talk about the client’s business needs, not your own expertise” if I want to teach you how to more effectively generate leads. If you really want to quit spending so much time on lead gen with a low percentage of success, it’s my job as a trainer to actually show you examples of what most Indian software development and IT Outsourcing Companies do, and what exactly they need to do better. You’re all very smart and I know you can learn – when I show you specific examples of general principles.
That’s why I base my training on actual examples of written and verbal communications from Indian software development firms. After covering the most important cultural differences in communication styles related to negativity, harmony, saying no, creating accurate timelines, and communicating problems, we take a look at real examples of where things went wrong and we practice fixing them together.
From Yaroslav Titenok of Sloboda Studios:
“Even in the way she asks for feedback, you can tell Jennifer really lives by the same tips she teaches us. I like that her workshops also cover communications during delivery as an essential step in a sales cycle, in terms of generating continuing business. Her examples of real life email communications and how to improve them are awesome! And finally, it really helps to have someone give a training who believes in you.”
If what I’ve written about sounds useful to you, I hope I’ll see you at my in-depth workshop on March 10th at Trivandrum’s Technopark where we cover all these awesome exercises. I’m also honored to be presenting at I/O in Kochi on March 5th, where I’ll be giving a shorter presentation that introduces these themes. If you’re interested in checking out my content before you sign up for the workshop, it’s a great opportunity to listen to me for an hour and decide for yourself, plus meet and greet and ask any questions you have. Hope to see you there!
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