As I’ve been speaking to Ukrainian software development teams about how to help them sell more, I come across the same question – how can they compete against teams from around the world that can undercut them on price? How can they counter negative stereotypes about political instability in their region or the unreliability of their infrastructure?
I believe that every team, from every region, has its own unique selling point – and Ukraine teams have a lot going for them. In fact, a smart Ukraine sales manager could easily turn most objections into key selling points for Ukrainian teams. Here’s how:
Instability Breeds Resilience
Consistently, successfully coping with instability makes for a much more agile team. From my own experience living in a different economically unstable country (Argentina 2010-2014), there’s nothing like a heavy daily dose of unpredictability to force you to always flow past life’s difficulties instead of being stymied by them. Ukrainians have certainly had their fair share of instability, but their tech sector is still thriving – clearly, they know how to get their work done no matter what. Ask your sales prospects if they would rather have a team who’s stopped dead in their tracks by a setback, or one who keeps going and always delivers on time, and then prove that you’re unstoppable.
I’ll never forget the concern of one team leader at a recent conference in Kiev.
“How can I establish trust with clients who are nervous about the conflict in my country affecting project deliverability?” she asked me. It seems as though she had been losing business because clients were concerned that something would trigger a force majeure clause and interrupt or delay their project, and she didn’t have the right answer.
“Have you ever had to stop work on a project because of the current conflict in Ukraine?” I asked.
I interrupted her. “Stop right there,” I said. “ Tell them, ‘No. I have never had to stop a single project because of what’s going on in my country. And in fact, these are the clients who have worked with us during the period of conflict. I’ve delivered every single one of their projects on time. Here are their reviews, here’s examples of what we did for them, and you can contact them directly with any questions you have.’”
Better Time Difference
Ukraine is 1-2 hours ahead of Western Europe, 7 hours ahead of New York, and 10 hours ahead of California. This puts it in a much better position than many outsourcing destinations in Asia, with only Latin America having a lesser time difference.
To make this a key selling point, explain in concrete terms how this will benefit your project deliverability. Offer several different times during the day when both you and the prospective client will have time for meetings, and explain the convenience relative to the regions that have a much greater time difference.
Reliable Internet and Power
Communication with your client requires both reliable power and internet. Compared to pretty many other common outsourcing regions, Ukraine has it best here. Tell them exactly how often you’ve had a power or internet outage in your office in the last year. If it’s less than one or two days out of the year, you might even be better off than some USA cities – google “(name of their city) 2015 power outages” and compare the yearly figures to your own city. One example – is your client located in California, especially in SoCal? Tell them you don’t have rolling blackouts in the summer time, and ask them how many they’ve had during the last summer’s workweek. If your power or internet service providers guarantee uptime, tell them. Again, the key here is to show them proof to gain credibility.
Ukrainian Legislation Guarantees IP Rights
One of the biggest concerns for USA clients in working with remote development teams is the protection of their ideas. Horror stories of teams developing an MVP for one client only to sell the same solution to others abound – not only does this ruin the first client’s business, but it scares away many other firms from working with remote teams.
Tell your prospective clients exactly how Ukraine law protects their intellectual property in both the Ukraine civil and criminal law systems, and demonstrate your willingness to sign legally binding contracts that protect their investment in your work. They’ll appreciate the increased legal protection.
While Ukraine and USA culture are certainly not identical, they are similar in enough key aspects to make this a key selling point as well. USA clients often get frustrated working with cultures in which Yes and No are ambiguous, or when teams treat a project as a list of tasks to be accomplished as quickly as possible instead of a map to a finely crafted final product. Tell USA teams that this will never be a problem with your Ukraine team. They’ll appreciate that Yes means Yes, No means No, and that your team will come to them with their own ideas.
You Get What You Pay For
One of the biggest concerns I hear from Ukrainian software development teams is that they’re being constantly undercut on price. The best way to counter this objection is by showing that the quality of your work is worth it. A team can justify higher cost by showing sales prospects the proof – and arguing that a lower initial cost is just an illusion if it takes longer to solve problems and get the final job done.
Ukraine teams have nothing to feel inadequate about. With these simple tactics, any team can show a USA client the best they have to offer. And if you’re curious about more techniques and hands-on practice trying them, join me for my Intercultural Sales Cycles workshops in Kiev Jan 22-23 and Lviv Jan 29-30.
Read Next >> How I’ll Be A Better Entrepreneur In 2016