Salesman or Shopkeeper?

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A journey across the world today saw me meet, on Zoom,  with 14 businesses in Chicago. They were part of networking group and it was interesting to see how business people in a different country, in lockdown, are reacting to the current circumstances.

We are so similar, even though we divided by a big ocean, the general principles of business are the same. People wanting to develop, people looking for opportunities, people adapting.

A couple blogs ago I talked about adapt and survive and that is what I witnessed today in Chicago. Realtors saying the business is booming and using virtual programs to help them. A Life coach taking people on a different journey making sure that they were getting the most out of themselves. The personal stylist turning facemasks into a fashion item.

Positivity is real strength of the Americans. I was fortunate to go over to the states a few years ago and the impression I came away with was that America was a nation of salespeople. They go out and seek opportunity. They’re willing to invest time and money in the sales function of their businesses whereas in the UK our natural persona is much more reserved. We are a nation of shopkeepers and, on the whole,  we’re quite happy for customers to come to us as we wait behind the counter to serve them.

I think that’s the biggest difference between the two countries. Not to say once what’s right or wrong but I think where you have a challenge like Covid-19 Americans are better at looking for new opportunities than us Brits.

I think businesses that embrace this approach will come through and have long term sustainability over those that wait behind the counter hoping for customers to come back to them.