False positives make you think your assumption is correct when, in fact, it’s not. Companies may believe that things are going well, and that they will be able to do business, but in many cases they are just looking at false positives.
Here are some of the false positives you may find when looking at doing business in Canada:
“Everything is ready. I just need to sell.” This is a very common misconception that once the new market is informed of our product or service, sales will follow almost automatically. It’s the belief that sending a catalog and a price list will engage buyers in the discussion to buy their product, solution or services. This ignores the client’s reality and lacks detailed understanding of local competition.
“We already met the right people.” It’s the misplaced belief that having met and/or initiated discussions with decision-makers will soon result in sales. Having the right contacts helps, but business only materializes when the solution is solving a specific problem. Knowing what these problems are, is more important than knowing the right people.
“My solution is better than anything else available in the market.” If you are walking into a market and no one else is there, it could be a great opportunity. It may mean that we realized an opportunity before anyone else. That is always possible. But in many cases (in most, actually), it may also mean that you are solving a problem that does not exist in this market; at least not to the same extent as your original market.
“We already have international experience.” International experience can mean a lot of different things. Many countries will have different characteristics than developed markets (G7). Your company may be technically doing business internationally, but in reality, you may be selling to markets that have a way of doing business that is much closer to the way you do business in Brazil. Experience in many emerging markets does not necessarily translate into being successful in G7 markets.
“All our materials are already in English.” That is not enough. Having something in the right language so that people can read it doesn’t mean that they absorb the confidence or that they understand the value that the solution brings. Concepts are “lost in translation”.
“In our case, it is different.” Every company is unique and every market is different. That is really true for everybody. Everybody is different. Believing that in our case, we are going to be different because our solution is better, that again may be true but evidence and history shows that usually, there is a reason why business is not being generated as quickly as originally thought.
We know that these are all false positives because if these were true positives, the company would be doing a healthy amount of business in Canada already. If they are still not doing business, it is because one or more of the above are not really true.
These false positives will lead us to some approaches that do not work and we will talk about that in the next newsletter.
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