Sales Lessons from Rome – Recently Mrs Business Therapist and I made our long awaited trip to Rome courtesy of a long and slow collection of points with a well-known rewards company (no free advertising here!) As all our friends had told us, it was a beautiful and mind blowing experience. We undertook all the touristy and historic things but for me the highlight was the food and a particular food walking tour recommended by a friend.
The Romans as a rule were a delight to deal with and suffered my very poor North Belfast Italian with a smile on their face. However the business lessons that became apparent did not come from the Romans but the many Asians we encountered every few yards selling trips and tours of all shapes and sizes on open or closed top buses.
Lesson1: Adapt – These sales people were very obviously not in their home environment but had adapted to their new surroundings learning the languages required to provide their consumers with the solutions needed.
Lesson 2: Listen – Every sales person I encountered met me with a smile asked if I was interested then waited for my response and dealt with it accordingly. Communication is two way and an essential element of any sales process.
Lesson 3: Be positive – The sales people will probably get more ‘no thanks’ than a yes’s every day but their enthusiasm and positivity did not seem to be waining. In sales ‘no’ can be a positive answer allowing you to move on or diarise for a revisit. It will never leave you hanging.
Lesson 4: Get your timing right – We were very lucky to enjoy great weather in Rome except for one day when we were caught in a torrential downpour. All sane people sought cover but we thought we would plough on back to the apartment. The streets had emptied and even the tour sellers had the sense to hide or so I thought. Within minutes they reappeared with new products suitable for that time – umbrellas and rain coats! Timing can be everything to a successful business and is not only influenced by the markets but legislative and governmental changes. It is essential that you do not get bogged down in your business preventing you from being sensitive to systemic changes.
Words of warning – In Rome the traffic is constantly moving with everyone attempting to move quickly, bursting for that gap that has just appeared – all in an attempt to get ahead – just like business. When you look closely at all these beautiful Italian cars, large and small, you will soon notice that most, if not all, have bumps and scrapes – battle scars from this environment. As a small business when you move, adapt and grow it is most likely that you will also experience the bumps and scrapes – expect them and move on.
“That which does not kill us makes us stronger”
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