The Nordic Countries, consisting of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, have a relatively high living standard as well as stable and predictable market conditions. No wonder these countries are also lucrative to many global companies looking for geographic expansion opportunities.
What is less known is the fact, that many foreign companies have entered the Nordics by sending out their top sales team member with a lot of growth expectations – just to find him, or her, soon reporting naked from a frozen lake in distant forest far away from any airports, CRM systems and client company headquarters.
What went wrong?
Ambitious people have always wanted to reach the tops. For some of us it is about Mount Everest, while for most business people the peaks in sales are more desirable than the low oxygen environment at 29 029 feet.
Even if you are attracted to mountains, you don´t just start climbing Mount Everest suddenly an ordinary Monday morning without making any preparations. Well, you can always try to do that, but you shouldn´t expect you will soon share with your friends the pics shot by you at the top of the mountain…
Whether you dream of mountain tops or peak sales, you will never be able to reach the optimal results without proper preparation. It simply doesn´t make any sense to go for Mount Everest, K2 or Moon – without learning first about the experiences of the people who have already been there.
The same applies to business. When you want to enter a new market with ambitious goals, you should talk to people who know the market. Trying to reach the top blindfolded in an environment where you have not been before, would be just expensive and stupid. Big time.
So, should you get worried, when you have sent out your best sales manager to meet potential Nordic clients, and he calls you reporting naked from a frozen lake in “the middle of nowhere”?
Yes, you should.
There are not less than 187 888 lakes in Finland, one of the Nordic countries. There are also local business habits you better be aware of. The likelihood of your sales manager ending naked in a frozen lake together with customers is considerably high – at least if he takes the customer work seriously.
So, you should not be worried just because his, in a strange way euphoric, voice sounds shaky due to light hypothermia. Neither should you worry, because he is literally exposing himself in the front of your best prospects.
Naturally, you may come to ask yourself, if you recruited the right guy after all. Were the expensive pre-employment tests just waste of cash after all? Is this guy even sober, when he calls you telling stories like this?
No, you should not worry about his health, behavior or your recruitment choices.
Instead, what you should really be worried about is the fact, that both you and your sales manager got surprised about the local business conditions and social habits.
Obviously, you had not done the necessary pre-work. You did not know the market well enough.
Only God knows, if he is even in the right lake?
Is he just wasting time exposing himself to wrong customers!?
Maybe he is freezing in totally wrong waters? Are the most potential clients just in this very moment spending time with your worst competitor by another lake located very far from the one where your guy is freezing?
The take-home message here is simple.
If you want to reach the top results in a geographically new market, make sure you get familiar with the local business conditions before you send anybody out there freezing in vain.
The right way to learn the market is to talk to people who have been or live there. When you are about to enter a new market, you can avoid a lot of expensive lessons learnt the hard way simply by getting onboard a competent local consulting partner.
A healthy hunger for peak sales and calculated risk taking belong to business, but we should never go out on the thin ice of unknown waters blindfolded on our own.
Pekka Rantajärvi is an Executive Consultant and CEO at Real Rainmakers, your Business Consultancy and Sales Training Partner in the Nordic and Baltic Countries.
Stay updated about Real Rainmakers Business Articles & News by subscribing Real Rainmakers Free Business Newsletter.
We work with you to grow your business in the Nordic & Baltic Countries!
We help you to optimize your sales performance trough tailored business consulting services.
- Marketing Strategy & Activity Planning
- Sales, Customer Skills & CRM Training
- Executive Coaching
- Customer Experience Evaluation & Development
- Market Analysis & Research
- Local Adaptation of Sales, Marketing and Technical Materials