I’ve traveled once to India when I was there to see one of my International technology customers based near Delhi.
The entire experience was fascinating and there was an “energy” that you feel when you are in this area of the world, similar to that of South East Asia and I am only talking here from personal experience and where I have traveled, but Delhi was different to what I have experienced anywhere else!
The interesting part for me was that the customer I was visiting had huge plans to develop their leading technology platforms in the country and India was one of their top-performing global markets.
Their vision was more interesting — they saw the market then as cost-driven, but in the future they believed that cost, would be counter-balanced by the in-country development of cutting-edge technology, providing the best of both worlds and giving India a huge global competitive advantage.
Many people see India as a low-operation cost center where labor and services can be exported at extremely competitive prices and that may be true…for now!
I see India and it’s neighboring countries as being a thriving center for growth and opportunity that will certainly occupy one of the top positions in the world.
And it is all thanks to the extremely hard-working nature of the people, who are one of the hardest-working nations in the world and also the opportunities that have been created through the development and mainstream use of the Internet and associated technologies.
So let’s begin by taking a look at the Internet and its future.
The future of the Internet
The Internet isn’t going away, that’s for sure and by 2030, it is estimated that 90 percent of the population will be online.
Here is an interesting article in Forbes outlining 7 predictions of Internet technology in the future.
We are all aware of how automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are driving the future, but we also (as of now) cannot ignore the “human factor,” powered and driven by Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and it’s optimal use, especially in business.
The secret to proving to the Western World or any World for that matter, that India has the best quality skills for web services is to balance Intellectual Quotient (IQ) with EQ.
Remember that no matter how much you automate, or how technically proficient you are, and the services you offer, the real key here is to be able to use emotional intelligence to understand, communicate with and learn to predict the behavior patterns of the end-user.
Machine Learning is, of course, trying to do the same and I am sure that one day it will get there but there is a huge transition period to that day and this is where the human factor will win — during the transition.
In my opinion, too many web services companies and their offerings are technology-driven and that is why people are always competing on price — someone will always do it cheaper and this is where the focus has to shift if you are to “future-proof” your portfolio of web services.
And it all comes down to one of the most important abilities and skillsets to possess in life:
The ability to sell!
Selling with confidence
You were born with the ability to sell
I have known personally and have worked with many Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri-Lankan people for over thirty-five years and I have found them to be extremely intelligent, hard-working and with high levels of emotional intelligence.
But I hate to see high-quality services sold for prices way under their true value and sometimes being perceived as “too cheap” can be more harmful than too expensive.
I am not, however, suggesting that you rack up the prices overnight and put your existing business models at risk, especially if they are working well.
Let me explain:
Negotiating in India is far different from negotiating in the Western world, especially the UK and America. It comes from cultural differences and in some ways, leads to fear from both sides as to how to present something in the right manner.
But it comes down to confidence and having the confidence in both yourself and your services.
If we look at an “ideal world” situation people want the highest quality services and at the best possible price.
I hear every single day from people who are trying to hold their pricing models, which are already way over the value of the market in an attempt to maintain profitability, but they are deluding themselves.
The Internet has slashed borders, removed boundaries of trade and equally slashed pricing and margins and now we are in a condition where thanks to the “transparency” that the Internet provides and here I am talking about conducting research and gaining information, sleazy and non-ethical salespeople, for example, can no longer hide behind their techniques and tactics to try to fool and mislead people.
The market will always go where the market will go — let it take you there.
You already have the advantage in India with a strong work ethic, a high-tech environment and the ability to dominate any pricing model — but you can get more “price points” and I believe it will increase the perception of what value you can offer to the Western World.
You are the owner of the greatest enterprise of all — the Enterprise of You!
The first aspect of sales is to learn to “sell yourself.”
You have to think about the fact you are a corporation in your own right and I talk more about that in this article here.
Building your own personal brand is in some ways, more important than your business brand — you can change what business you operate in, but it is extremely difficult to change “who you are.”
We have a saying in the technology world:
“You hire people for what they know and you fire them for who they are.”
It is vital to tell the world your story if you are going to sell anything and even more important if you can get more important than “vital,” to tell that story to people if you are going to sell yourself in another country.
“People buy people” as the saying goes and this is critical in the area of selling web-services because consumers want to know the identities of the people behind the brand.
There is no real secret to the “art of selling.”
In reality, you are only putting forward a logical, fact-based “argument” for someone to buy your products and/or services.
It is no more complicated than that and I address the subject in more detail, in another article here.
Delivering the right message…
Delivering the right message to your target audience is essential if you are looking to sell high-quality web services to the West.
I will give you my own experiences here and they may help you sell your services more effectively.
Most of the companies and people I coach and mentor have a huge difficulty in articulating exactly what the do, to their target customers.
They are too focussed on telling their target customers how good they are, rather than explaining to them the ultimate benefit they will get from hiring them.
You should think the same.
Forget price for the moment and focus on what you can actually do for the end-user and don’t even worry about making it sound “sales like.”
Just tell your audience exactly what you can do for them and give them a brief outline of the process, but of course, not the detail. If you can add some testimonials then even better.
Every website should be your hardest-working salesperson!
The key part of selling any web service is functionality and in relation to the goal, that every website should be making sales.
Think about it:
The site (assuming it never goes down for the wrong reasons) works 24/7, 365 days of the year and can showcase in some form, each aspect of the business:
- Sales and Marketing
- Customer Service
- Operations and Support
- Research and Development
Customers need to no more these days from suppliers and it is easy to explain how your customer services charter, for example, give your customers increased confidence over your competitors.
So think about the services you offer in relation to the whole and that each part is interconnected.
In your first interaction with any potential customer, you should be explaining the above.
Think about how much credibility you will gain from simply talking about this and you do not have to provide anything more than the services you provide.
Just make certain that you show your commercial understanding.
When I would sell my staffing services to the technology industry, I would always make sure that I let my customers know that I understood their business and most importantly their “commercial commitments” or deliverables to their customers.
It enabled me to engage my customers at a much more senior level and also to be able to “speak their language” and be perceived as a much higher value supplier.
This is what will differentiate you from the competition, every time.
I ran a global business and I was thrown in the “deep end” when it came to doing business in countries that I had never visited before.
Growing up, I was very much tied to my country and it was my business that forced me to start to understand that there was “another world” out there.
I decided to work outside of my own country out of choice — there was little demand for the services I was offering at the time and the demand that was there, would see me operating at very low margins and in an era when starting and operating a business came with a much higher cost than we have today.
My first experience outside of the UK was in mainland Europe, the Netherlands to be precise and we are only talking about a flight lasting forty minutes from London and a culture that was hardly that different, although Dutch people learn five languages at school!
But before my first trip to the country, I made sure I understood Dutch culture and it was a practice that I made sure I continued, on the advice of one of my own mentors, who was from Malaysia and gave me the advice to always understand the culture of the country you are trying to operate in.
You should do the same.
It’s not by the way, about the language of the people, it’s more about how they live, their beliefs and customs — my entire sales philosophy is based on research and that research is conducted across the board and including countries and their people!
Remember, we are living in a borderless, interconnected world powered by the very technology you are helping to advance!
Let’s talk about language barriers for a bit and I will talk again, from my own personal experience.
When I opened an office in Mexico City, I was looking to find a location that would give me a base to operate in Central and South America.
But I had wrongly assumed that Mexican culture was the same given that they speak Spanish.
However, the “Spanish” spoken by Mexicans is different from the Spanish spoken in Madrid and add to that the fact they are fiercely proud of their own heritage and that they gained independence from Spain.
It is easy to draw conclusions without conducting proper research.
I had tried to learn the Spanish language for a few years and although the Mexican language is Spanish and different, you will be understood at the very least if you speak Spanish learned in Spain, whilst you are in Mexico.
I used to visit the country at least three times a year and on one trip, my work colleagues took me out to dinner and only this time, they refused to help me with ordering my food and I was now forced to remember my limited Spanish to do so!
Thankfully I remembered enough to get something to eat!
But for the rest of that trip, I was determined to speak as much of the language that I could and here is what I had to learn:
You cannot translate English into Spanish as some words and expressions simply do not translate!
And to learn to speak Spanish, you must learn to think like a Spaniard!
this is really the key — learning not only to understand people of different countries and cultures but also learning to think like them.
Is it easy?
No of course not, but when was anything in life that was and is worth having ever going to be “easy?”
It is all about putting in the work, going the “extra mile” and doing what your competitor won’t.
Creating your value proposition
Let’s get to the heart of the matter and help you define how to approach your target audience or a specific customer.
Your goal is to offer “gold standard quality and service” and at the most competitive price.
It all begins with research — if you are an SEO expert, for example, you must know the past, present, and future of SEO — people, in reality, buy the future because it will help them understand the “now.”
If you simply concentrate on the “now,” you are putting yourself in competition with most of the other SEO specialists.
In my companies and when creating my value proposition, I would always sell the fact that one day, my services will probably be obsolete because of technology, but my “thinking” would always be unique to me and if I am a true entrepreneur, I will always have a vision for, and of the future.
You should think the same.
Your research will identify the problems of the past, present and future issues of SEO in this example, and that will allow you to work predictively, or proactively.
Your job is to work pro-actively — to know the problems of your target audience without having to waste their time asking them questions that the right research would have already given you the answers to. You must work in anticipation. You must know your industry inside-out.
The approach is to put forward a logical “argument,” but I like to term it a “no-brainer” value proposition where your customer will want to buy from you.
After conducting research, it all comes down to the message and we have covered that earlier — remember, you must tell your customers exactly what you do and show them the outcome of your services.
Next, you should show the processes and procedures that are behind the message and the secret here is to build trust, through demonstrating that you have clearly thought out the steps from.
Now it comes down to creating the offer and here you would have to know what others in the local market would be providing services for.
Don’t worry about price at this stage, just compare your Value Proposition to that of the in-country companies and see how you stack up.
If you do this correctly, you can still compete on price, but at a higher price than you would probably have gone in at, but you will be able to maintain quality.
But you can hold this back and simply put together a one-page PDF, for example, to illustrate what I have just talked about.
Finally, use emotion!
People love to be “emotionally touched” and this is where the emotional intelligence aspects come in but don’t be “cheesy.”
Imagine yourself talking to a friend with passion and that friend is not your customer so you have nothing to sell — but they should feel your enthusiasm, your belief in what you are doing and the trick is to convey that in what you put forward — whether it is a video, document or both.
But…please keep it real!
People buy “perceived value” — they equate the price of a service or product to the value they believe they will receive.
Putting it all together and in summary
With all of the above in mind, it is now time to take action.
Here are some simple steps:
- The Internet is not going away and web services will be in huge demand
- No matter what technology is on offer, today it is all about learning the end-user behavior when developing and selling web services
- Learn how to sell and especially how to “sell yourself”
- Really “dig deep” into what it is you are offering, how you differentiate yourself from the competition and for this part, focus on the “you” part
- Now turn that offering into a commercial benefit to your client — focus on their outcome — create the message
- Give an overview, but not the detail of the processes and procedures you will use — this will serve to build trust
- Sell the future, not just the “now”
- List the overall goal of every website in the world to show your commercial understanding as well as how each component of a business is interconnected — this has nothing to do with the service(s) you offer, it is purely to show that you understand the world of business in relation to web services
- Now study the culture of the country you are aiming to sell to — get “under the skin” of that country, the customs, and the people
- Look at how business is priced in that country for the services you are going to offer and resist the temptation to simply “undercut”
- Craft a one-page marketing document with graphics if possible to clearly illustrate all of the above, but don’t talk about price.
- Use the power of emotion
- Get out there and market!
I hope this can help you sell your web services to the West and truly market yourself as a high-tech service provider who can offer the highest quality services, but at the right price.
I want to reiterate that I am not suggesting you put your prices up overnight or not at all if you are happy with where you are, but I do believe that you can and get more price points.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this first post I have made specifically for Clickdo India and I must extend a thank you for someone who inspired me to start my blog in the first place and that is Fernando Raymond.
Connect and please feel free to get in touch with me!