For a long time there has been a hole in international development and business as mission in the area of sales training.
I was excited to be introduced to the Whitten & Roy Partnership recently over lunch by one of its consultants. There are so many great organizations implementing ideas in the developing world that are not realizing their full marketing potential because of a lack of training in sales tactics or a sub-par sales plan. I've had many long conversations with a sales professional friend discussing the need for high-quality help in this area. A well thought out sales approach in developing communities can even be a force for bringing about systematic change in disadvantaged communities:
SAN FRANCISCO — Scott Roy, co-founder of an international sales consultancy, was doing research for a potential client in Cambodia when he heard about a sales tactic he found appalling.
A team tasked with selling toilets to families would roll into villages with a set of latrine components. In order to close the sale, one person made up a threat, warning that government inspectors would fine the family if they did not have a toilet, Roy said. Toilets are just one of the products and services that can deliver real benefits for rural households in low- and middle-income countries, but all too often organizations overlook the importance of the sales approach.
Many people think sales is about talking someone into buying an item they do not want or need, but those strategies are neither ethical nor effective, say Scott Roy and Roy Whitten, founders of the international sales consultancy Whitten & Roy Partnership.
They have seen worst case scenarios. But they have also seen how sales done right can help organizations that seek to improve the lives of the poor get their products and services to the last mile. That is why they are working with clients in the international development community on an important shift from product-led pitching to problem-led selling.