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Japan's Latest Sales Trend: The "Hunter" Method

20 Dec, 2005 By: Tetsuo Kubo imageSource

Japan's Latest Sales Trend: The "Hunter" Method

A recent sales trend has begun
to spread throughout the Japanese office equipment industry—the “Tele-appo
Business Method.” This method focuses on calling prospects, soliciting them with
such words as “inexpensive” or ”beneficial”, making an appointment for a visit,
and then convincing prospects by “persuasion” sales.

Tele-appo Method is a “hunter-type” sales technique that targets mid to
small-sized companies and requires each salesperson to make 200-400 calls per
day to companies’ decision makers—preferably presidents. This system is similar
to a call center.

It is much different from the “farmer-type” sales attitude where relationships
of mutual trust are steadily established and replacing machines is regarded as
important. This method has been criticized by some people in the industry who
claim that businesses that use this method are just “treading water.”

According to a Tele-appo manual we attained from a copier sales company, this
method allows a new employee to “obtain sales power in a short time of period.”
This obviously can be a huge advantage as long as the salespeople are capable of
mastering the sales talk necessary to successfully solicit new customer. This
method, however, requires little copier or solutions knowledge. It also
suggested that salespeople can offer a free PC or cash back when they visit

The manual, which is considered the “Bible” for Tele-appo Method, also points
out that salespeople should not allow prospects to speak words of refusal, and
even if they refuse, they should make an appointment with a decision maker

Even if they cannot reach the decision maker on the phone, the salesperson
should attempt to find out information for the next call, such as the name of
the executive, when he or she is usually in the office, and the brands, models
and ID numbers for the existing copiers and faxes.

Some local governments in Japan have promoted the call center business in order
to increase employment, and have subsidized the call center-type companies such
as the copier sales businesses using the Tele-appo Method. This has helped the
Tele-appo Method broaden in the copier industry.

Initially, local governments imagined that the call center business would be for
large companies to respond to customers’ inquiries on commodity products such as
copiers. But many of those call centers subsidized by local governments have
turned out to be locations for Tele-appo Method sales.

NOMDA Eying ITEX 2006

At ITEX 2005 in February, we handed a letter from the Nippon Office Machine
Dealers Association (NOMDA) to Mark Naler of the BTA in an effort to open talks
between office equipment dealers in the U.S. and Japan. To advance this further,
it was proposed by the NOMDA board of directors to dispatch a group of
inspectors to ITEX 2006, which will be held in Las Vegas March 14-17.


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