ECONOMY

Put your heart into sales

Building on its success last year, Response International is to hold its 2nd Sales Convention in Athens on May 24, an event that aspires to act as a catalyst for the strengthening of the sector. This top meeting, which provides an opportunity for sales professionals to get together once a year, is being sponsored by Kathimerini. Themes to be discussed include strategy, systems and human resources. In addition to a number of well-known speakers from the business world, the event will also be addressed by some key international figures invited to convey to the Greek audience their experience and insight into sales. Nando Parrado, an author, entrepreneur and CEO with four companies in Paraguay, will speak on «Surviving in Hostile Environments.» Walt Zeglinski, Integrity Systems president and managing director, will focus on «Establishing Competitive Advantage Through Sales Teams & Sales Processes.» Response International CEO Dimitris Papanikitopoulos will open the event, which will be addressed also by Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou. A speech on «Effective Sales in the 21st Century» will be delivered by Don Hutson, a specialist on efficiency models, author and founder and CEO of US Learning. In a recent article on the added value of sales differentiation, Hutson refers to the likely future challenges for professional sales, while forecasting that market competition will continue to intensify. He believes that decision-makers in the future will be more intelligent and discrete, while pressures on margins will be a major issue for firms. Referring in his article to the value and effectiveness of differentiation, Hutson makes a clear distinction between product differentiation and price differentiation, the latter being the choice of those wishing to be price leaders or by others not having a better way to achieve differentiation: «Discount is a compromise with your margins and, ultimately, with your profitability. If you cannot avoid it altogether, leave this option last…,» Hutson advises. «Approach your clients face-to-face and offer them your best service. Instead of giving them your margin, give them your heart,» he said in a crescendo of professional passion.