The ins and outs of sales coaching in China

China Paradigm interviewed Yoann Delwarde, CEO and co-founder at Infinity Growth. In this business podcast, our guest throws light on sales coaching techniques and public speaking experience in China. So, ready to learn how to achieve sales success in Shanghai?

Methods and frameworks for sales coaching in China

Success in B2B selling calls for methodologies and strategies. Delwarde avails oneself of a funnel model to achieve greater sales success in Shanghai. He explains that the first stage is “targeting”. Salespeople need to decide on who they are targeting and be cognisant of how to best communicate with the target audience. The second stage is called “proposition” and consists of delivering a clear value proposition to potential customers. This stage is followed by what Delwarde calls the “closing stage” where one signs the contract and close the deal. Yoann Delwarde explains that the sales process does not end there since salespeople then need to “exceed expectations” and, finally, grow by performing cross-selling, renewal, and referrals.

The key takeaway is that to achieve sales success in Shanghai, one must apply different tools and methodologies. At each stage, Yoann Delwarde might advise using a checklist, a framework, or other sorts of tools to optimize the chance of success. When asked how he can advise customers to deal with varying issues in varying industries, Delwarde replies that his job is not to know the answer to the questions but to be able to ask the right questions to find the answer.

‘Actually, there is the spirit of coaching, where we believe that the coachee – the person we are coaching – has the answer already. So, the key is not about the answer that I can give. It is about the question I can ask to make them realize what they know and what they don’t know

What about using LinkedIn for China’s B2B digital sales?

LinkedIn is one of the rare examples of an overseas social media hitting the jackpot in the Chinese market. With an audience of 50 million people in China in April 2020, China is just preceded by India and the United States. The platform entered the country in 2014 after establishing a JV with two local players – China Broadband Capital and Sequoia China.

sales coaching in China
Source: Statista; Leading countries based on LinkedIn audience size as of April 2020

Since then, it has gained popularity among white-collar workers. LinkedIn China still tries to educate the users by providing demos and by enacting coaching features for college students all over the country (learn more about LinkedIn China with our latest interviews).

During the interview, Yoann Delwarde explains that LinkedIn is especially useful for B2B businesses during the so-called “targeting stage”.  Even if the proportion of Chinese workers present on LinkedIn remains small, each company has some employees that use this social media. Accordingly, when it comes to China’s B2B digital sales, Delwarde mentions that the American social media can be used as a gate of entry to reach key customers. Moreover, to adopt a top-down strategy, Delwarde explains that people with many connections – “centers of influence”, as he calls them – may give access to different professional circles in China. Thus, it is important to understand who these KOLs are and how they can introduce you to potential partners and clients.

The importance of selling with integrity in China

One of the keywords during the interview with Yoann Delwarde is certainly “integrity”. While movies and popular culture have brought the image of salespeople into disrepute, our guest believes that selling with integrity remains worthwhile in China. By refusing clients for whom he believed he was not the right person, Delwarde has built trust and was later rereferred to more potential business partners.

achieve sales success in Shanghai
To achieve sales success in Shanghai salespeople should consider selling with integrity

In China’s collectivist society, trust remains an integral part of doing business. Building a positive personal relationship with one’s network is a key factor for the success of B2B deals (learn more about trust and Guanxi in China). This idea of trust and credibility is mirrored in Delawarde’s guidance on how to contact people via email. Indeed, our guest uses the triangle of Aristotle credibility, logic, and motion – to increase the chance of conveying a strong message and explains that mentioning your experience and relation with a common business partner may increase the odds of conveying a positive image.

‘In every industry, you have a key opinion leader, who can really connect you (with potential clients) and then together you can create a partnership so that you support each other and create an ecosystem’

Related reading: How to conduct brand advertising for B2B business in China


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