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Secret Art to Win: No Ego in Negotiation.

 Interviewed by Linh Pham – S3427416 – Hanoi

Dealing with business partners means a non-stop process of negotiation (Solomon 2008). Negotiation is the ‘give-and-take’ process between at least two parties, each with its own goals, to reach a common ground to settle a mutual concern (Hoang 2014). Theoretically, it sounds great. Yet, in real life, sometimes, not both parties leave the negotiating table feeling happy. Some even destroy their connection because of such big egos.

photo 1

Photo by author 2014

So here I am, in my interview session with Ms. Yuki Duong, hoping to dig more into ‘ego in negotiation’ from her knowledge and experience gaining through all the years working as Senior Executive of International Cooperation Department – Ministry of Construction. And the ultimate advice she gave me was to “leave your ego at the door and keep your eyes on the big picture. It’s all about business.”

negotiation

Reproduced from Hund 2014

Ego…

“Little word, huge influence”, said Yuki.  “Healthy ego contributes to our confidence and drives us to progress. But if you let  your ego run big, it becomes arrogance, then it invades your way to success, leads to bad decisions and your business will pay a price.”, she added.

Yuki  told me one of her business partners won a construction bidding, however, with a costly decision. “He offered the investors that his company could complete their  work with this low budget so that he could win the contract over other bidders,” said Yuki,  “he became their constructor but the budget wasn’t enough to construct a quality work. So it caused his company a lot of troubles”. Yuki nodded when I guessed it must be his ego which brought him to that situation.

Some  can’t stand the thought of ‘losing’ so their goal is rather to ‘win’ than to reach a compromise that satisfies both parties. But Yuki rather ‘lose a battle’ to ‘win the war’. “You aren’t making only one deal, you’re setting up a relationship”. She shared with me some tips to avoid damaging impacts of ego in negotiation.

Keep the negotiation results-oriented

photo 2

Photo by author 2014

According to Yuki, to end the business discussion in your favor, focus on the final result, not on outshining your ‘opponents’. “And don’t take things personally because in business you shouldn’t risk ruining a relationship just because your ego doesn’t let you lessen the offer to reach the mutual concurrence”. Also, Yuki said she has been in many negotiations with people starting with ‘want this, or want that’. “If you talk about what we can do to find a solution, it’s another approach. It doesn’t emphasize your ego, and it opens ways for much better deal”, she added.

Prepare so you won’t scare of egomania.

Reproduced from Hund 2014

Reproduced from Hund 2014

According to Yuki, in dealing with partner with huge ego, Preparation + Confidence + Flexibility = Success.

“Good attitude wins over egoistic and bossy behavior. Besides, business people like those knowing exactly what they want. Certainly, you don’t have to lay all your cards on the table, but showing concerns and creating a bond will help you achieve an advantageous deal”, Yuki admitted. Yet, confidence must be based on preparation. It helps you understanding the value of your solution and getting you ready for clients’ questions. Once they’re happy with your answers, they’re comfortable trusting that you can bring them solid return on investment (Hoang 2014).

Yuki also addressed that her job is to deal with international clients so in order to be confident, she must ‘do her homework’ and studies their cultures. “I’ve done lots of business with Japanese. They value patience and politeness. Respect their ‘saving face’ concept so you won’t ‘lose face’, either”.

Reproduced from Hund 2014

Closing

Big ego impacts negatively on negotiation process (Brusman n.d.). I agree with Yuki about the rule of thumb on ego – Tuck it in your pocket when coming to negotiating table. And if you have to sit on the opposite side of the table dealing with an egomaniac, ‘laugh it off’. Smooth sea won’t create skillful sailors. If you can’t ‘bring home the bacon’ today, there is tomorrow because negotiating is a continuous process. And even if the deal can’t be closed, leave the table as friends. You shouldn’t burn your bridges (Gary 2012).

***

(658 words)

References

 Brusman, M n.d, ‘The cost of ego’, Newsletter, vol. 5, no. 10, pp. 1-3.

 Dung, H 2014, ‘Negotiation principle’, course notes for COMM 2384 Client Management, RMIT University, Hanoi, viewed 3 April 2014, Blackboard@RMIT.

Dung, H 2014, ‘Agency Remuneration’, course notes for COMM 2384 Client Management, RMIT University, Hanoi, viewed 3 April 2014, Blackboard@RMIT.

Hund, T 2014, ‘negotiation’, image, Flickr, 11 April, viewed 11 April 2014, <https://www.flickr.com/photos/39119496@N00/14080907796/>

Hund, T 2014, ‘woman negotiating’, image, Flickr, 11 April , viewed 11 April 2014,< https://www.flickr.com/photos/39119496@N00/14100801601/in/photostream/&gt;

Hund, T 2014, ‘negotiation style’, image, Flickr, 11 April, viewed 11 April 2014,< https://www.flickr.com/photos/39119496@N00/14124108903/in/photostream/&gt;

Gary, W. 2012, Work Prep, video recording, 15 December, viewed 3 April 2014,<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wez6wbwidA&list=PLffF0z7scp3wothQixoO0p0tCnz_nJsad>

Solomon, R 2008, ‘The art of client service’, Kaplan Publishing, New York

 

 

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The Stories and Styles that Shape Organisational Culture

Created by Nguyen Tan Phat, SGS, Client Management

Meeting at his favourite location as always, I have known him for the long time.

I am working in a combined environment but full of potential, I think

With the long – term experience in journalism, he deserves the job as Senior Editor of Esquire. Being in the Sunflower’s family, he understands the organisational culture that brings up the topic of this interview. Client Management

Since the establishment in Vietnam on March 2013, Esquire is the leading magazine in men’s lifestyle. More importantly, Sunflower has been successfully merged Esquire into their organisation. It is interesting to investigate into this matter with the support of my friend, Mr. Thien Phuc. Working under Mr. Nhan Nguyen, Editor in Chief of Esquire, and Ms. Huong, founder of Sunflower, he is trained in order to identify the trend to create the content that is going to attract readers. Even his team works independently from Ms. Huong, however, she still involves in the decision making of the content. 

With more than 20 years experiences in journalism and specialised in literature, Ms. Huong is not only the leader but also a divine mentor in my daily job. She can spot the problem of the article and rationale why it doesn’t fit with the topic or viewers.

1493454_466285826823966_2138356051_oThis factor is one of elements that shape the organisational culture, the story behind the founder of the organisation. Mr. Phuc believes that it is essential because Ms. Huong has set the value of the company and his job, as the new comer, has to try his best in order to maintain the standard. Additionally, Sunflower has become a prestigious company for any journalist looking for the next level in their career, Mr. Phuc is not exceptional. Unlike other magazine brand, Esquire has only one headquarter in USA. Mr. Phuc always tries to perform well in his daily task so he can have an opportunity to be trained in the USA like his boss.

It is a chance for advancement my current knowledge

Advancement and Growth is the highest level of Organisational Pyramid to motivate the staff adapting to the corporate culture. Mr. Phuc has set this target since he came to Sunflower. Beside from internal motivation, the management style of supervisor also contributes to the drive of employees to work with their full capabilities. Instead of dividing into 4 corporate cultures like Charles Handy, Sunflower’s management style is the combination of those four, while Esquire’s team works independently and most of their staff is self – encouraged to meet the deadline. However, sometimes Ms. Huong can interrupt the topic or article before publishing it. We can see the corporate culture can be a little bit of everything from the Power Culture to Role Culture. 

bia Esquire

At the end of the day, it is all about the sales of Esquire.

It is all depend on the content of the article

During the interview, I was wondering how Sunflower could adjust the content to fit with the local but still maintain the Original Personality of the brand. Mr. Phuc explained that they have to receive an approval from International Editor of Esquire in the USA before publishing. At the end of the day, Esquire Vietnam is still in control of Esquire USA in term of the issue’s articles and topics. Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 10.15.29 PM

At the end of my interview, I have realised sometimes theory doesn’t work the way it is, and I have interpret my understanding on this following picture. Additionally, the stories of symbolic frame is the most important factor to form the corporate culture. Mr. Phuc has demonstrated how he fit himself in Sunflower and provide me an insight of theory in practice.

Word Count: 605

Additional Trivia: Don’t You Know?

  • Esquire US controls the content of any other international version excepts Esquire UK.
  • Esquire doesn’t have their headquarter in Asia, however, if they want to look for a standard, Esquire Korea will be the one.

Reference List

Casul, M 2014, ‘Organisational Culture’, Lecture in COMM2384 Client Management, 27th March, RMIT University, Vietnam.

 

Sandford J. 2013, ‘How management style affects motivation when employees work from home’, Inside Business, 23rd December, viewed 3rd March, http://www.insidebusiness360.com/index.php/how-management-style-affects-motivation-when-employees-work-from-home-7048/.

 

Negotiate with client: “Take a condom pledge”

Interviewed by Ha Van Thi- s3425525- Group 1- SGS Campus

“Nowadays, you can do anything that you want—anal, oral, fisting—but you need to be wearing gloves, condoms, protection.” (Slavoj Zizek 2014)

Figure 1. Reproduced from Newgrounds 2011

Figure 1. Reproduced from Newgrounds 2011

The relationship between negotiation and condom use is actually very weird. However, there is a truth that sex needs protection and so does negotiation, which can be explained that people need to wear many masks to protect their right and achieve their goal in a negotiation. That is a little part of what I have got after taking an interesting conversation with Mr. Lai Thanh Binh in a raining day inside his own coffee shop.

Figure 2. Mr.Binh, the author and a corner of Soleil (Taken by the author)

Figure 2. Mr.Binh, the author and a corner of Soleil (Taken by the author)

Mr. Binh is a successful man at very young age. He has great experienced in the art of negotiation by previously working for Sacombank, a commercial joint stock bank in Vietnam. Now, he has become the manager at Soleil Company, which is a franchisor in charge of selling coffee shop franchise following the model of Soleil coffee.

Give client an impressive “foreplay”

Figure 3. Durex play (Taken by author)

Figure 3. Durex play (Taken by author)

An impressive “foreplay” which can reach clients’ demands will not only about the good things of your company or agency. A smart and clever manager has a tendency to talk a little about the positive aspect first, but will pay more attention to the current problems and discuss further about how to deal with it. “When you come to a negotiation, you want to get the problem solved or the suitable cost that leads to win-win situation, not to have more knowledge about what you are trying to bargain for,” Binh assisted.

If you want to have a perfect ‘night’ with your honey, you need to have a good PREPARATION with the accommodation, clothes, perfume, and also the suitable type of condom.

As well as having sex, negotiation requires people to carefully prepare all the relevant and necessary materials to critically debate and response to the client. When he still worked in the professional environment in Sacombank, a negotiation is very stressful because it only lasts in three days due to the information privacy. There is one time that his team was narrowly sued by the client because of the wrong data in the given file, which was not checked carefully before the negotiation day. After being threatened, his team had to work all the night to find out the evidence proving that his company did not intently cheat them and this problem happened due to the lack of preparation. Therefore, preparation is a good way to protect your company from many dangerous risks.

You like Okamoto, Sagami or Durex

Figure 4. Condoms (Taken by author)

Figure 4. Condoms (Taken by author)

If you want to experience a perfect night, a good understanding about the partner is necessary, so does negotiation.

Mr. Binh maintained that when he managed his new company, this factor is the key point in creating a win-win situation. People come to Binh and ask for a coffee franchise with different concerns besides profit. Once you have known about them, you can come up with the influential factors, which can impact on their decision.

You can exaggerate your own brand to persuade client to buy it with high price, but if you want to have a sustainable relationship with them in 10 or 20 years, you need to be sincere, truthful and care about their needs first.

 Negotiate with client likes have sex with your lover

 During the interesting interview with Binh, there are a lot of things not including in this paper because I see it can be inapplicable in Communication industry. So, negotiation is a professional bargain, which aims to not only sell the product or service, but also climb to the trusted partner of relationship ladder. Good preparation, sincere attitude and thorough understanding clients are useful tips for Communication student in the future. Binh talked at the end of our conversation,

Don’t spend much time learning by heart all the things you study in school. I can guarantee that those theories are useless, because negotiation is a skill, which needs to be practiced as much as possible to improve. 

Word Count: 706

References

Newgrounds 2011, ‘Condom’, image, newgrounds, 1 September, viewed 29 April 2014, <http://www.newgrounds.com/art/view/kidneyjohn/condom&gt;.

Slavoj Zizek 2014, ‘Quotes about condom’, Goodreads, 23 January, viewed 29 April 2014, < http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/condoms&gt;.

 

A game of smarts: Client versus or not versus agencies

Written by Nguyen Tran Huong Thao – s3411918 – G1 (SGS) 

Talking about the client – agency relationship, for the past three months, I have been exposed to lessons, information and stories from the agencies’ account side. ‘Every story should to be heard from both sides’, they say. Therefore, I decided to have a chat with Ms. Sohpie Lam, Marketing Coordinator and Commercial Academy at Mead Johnson Nutrition to see how it is like from the client site. With her background of 5-year experiences working in the Marketing and Commercial industry, what I have gained from the chat is totally worth it for my new try from the other site. For me, this is real a game of smarts when doing business between clients and agencies. 

Ms. Sophie Lam Commercial Academy at Mead Johnson Nutrition

Figure 1. Ms. Sophie Lam
Commercial Academy at Mead Johnson Nutrition Reproduced from Linkedin, 2014

1. They are on the same boat, but each has their own expertise

Client planning, according to Ms. Sophie Lam, is about having insights into launching products, making marketing strategies and product supporting programs. In other words, client planning people are navigators to lead the boat towards the land of brand equity and business objectives from beginning to the end of every product launching voyage, a.k.a campaign.

Agencies are sailors in this game with strategic promotion and execution plans. Each agency have their own expertise to lead the boat towards the destined harbor. For example, with Mead Johnson, Saatchi – Saatchi is chosen for a creative advertising and Awareness for their professional practice. Each agency has their own strength and contribution to the final brand and business objectives. What challenges Mead Johnson here is that how to get these puzzles smoothly combine together. Vice versa, what also challenges the agencies is how to make good collaboration with Mead Johnson as their client since differences in expertise may lead to different expectations and obstacles in a B2B relationship.

Therefore, the game is all about how to make ends meet from both sides: Mead Johnson and agencies, the client and the services, the navigators and the sailors. What makes this game special is that, if the crew cannot work well together, they already create storms and rains for themselves to suffer.

Figure 2. Produced by the author.

Figure 2. Produced by the author

2. Unwanted storms avoidance

So, back to the point where the conflicts can happen among the crew, normally, it starts with different expectations (Edmondson 2012). When being asked about this, Ms. Lam agreed: ‘Yes, it is important to have common expectations, or at least, mutual understanding between the client and the service providers (agencies) in order to achieve the goals that we are aiming to. Both have to respect and follow them as basic guidelines’ and the effective work is one of the most basic yet important expectation to be mutually defined and understood. From the client site, ‘effective work’ here includes timing, confidential information sensitivity and agencies’ ability to bring out the uniqueness of their client in comparison to other competitors.

Figure 3. Produced by the author.

Figure 3. Produced by the author.

‘Some agencies nowadays are too confident about their product that forget to look out for what their competitors are doing for our competitors. We know that sometimes we are such demanding client but your agencies are hired to bring out the best of our brand equity, being overconfident is dangerous that they will blind you from competitors. If we have inputs, or complaints, they are inputs to make us different. We might not be experts in your fields, but we understand our product’ – Ms. Lam shared.

This reminds me of Solomon and his statement on ‘live the Client’s Brand’ (Solomon, pp.8): Agencies should be the costumers of the client, to understand about their product as well and to make the breakthrough of positioning it in the market with expertise. This, in my agreement with Ramsey (2005), is the core idea of effective teamwork expectation between the client and the agencies: Complaints can be real good inputs and teachers to show us where to fix, how to understand the product right and to not pass by unnoticed mistakes. If we understand the product, we see where it should be as brand equity. By then, we know how to make it there. It is a collaborative game of the navigators and the sailors for a bon voyage to the destined harbor.

Proof of Life photo: Skype conversation taken by the author

Proof of Life photo: Skype conversation taken by the author

Word count: 660 words (not includes title and reference list)

REFERENCES: 

Edminson, AC 2012, ‘Teamwork on the fly: How to master the new art of teaming’ in Spotlight on the Secrets of great team, Harvard Business Review, April, pp.3 – 10.

LinkedIn 2014, ‘Sophie Lam’, Profile image, LinkedIn, viewed on May 2, 2014, <http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=77410097&authType=NAME_SEARCH&authToken=B8Gx&locale=en_US&srchid=2984338761399214526005&srchindex=1&srchtotal=43&trk=vsrp_people_res_name&trkInfo=VSRPsearchId%3A2984338761399214526005%2CVSRPtargetId%3A77410097%2CVSRPcmpt%3Aprimary&gt;.

Ramsey, RD, 2005, ‘Handling Customer Complaints’, American Salesman, Vol. 50, Issue 10, pp.15 – 20.

Salomon, R 2008, The Art of Client Service, Kaplan Publishing, New York.

The ingredient cannot be missed in client retention and teamwork

Interviewed by Luong Tran Anh Phuong, s3426518, Group 1, RMIT SGS Campus.

Met Mr. Ho Hai Dang under hot temperature of summer afternoon at his house, he was so kind to share interesting experiences in working as a leader in balancing the relationship with clients and his team.

Mr. Ho Hai Dang has been working at Bao Minh Insurance Corporation since 2005 and now he is a General Manager of Agriculture Insurance Division. Bao Minh Insurance Corporation was established in 1994, that was a 100% state-owned enterprise under the Ministry of Finance. In 2004, it turned into joint-stock insurance enterprise and now it ranks the third place in non-life insurance in Vietnam. It aims to provide non-life insurances and consultancy as well as carry out financial investment in 20 different types of group of insurance commercial product such as maritime, aviation, casualty, automobile, agriculture and business activities in Vietnam.

Figure 1: Mr. Ho Hai Dang at work. (Photo taken by his colleague)

Figure 1: Mr. Ho Hai Dang at work. (Photo taken by his colleague)

The power of teammates in client retention

According to Mr. Dang, there are two main factors to acquiring new clients. Firstly, clients come to an agency because of its brand and reputation. Another factor is the ability to acquire new clients from particular team. Furthermore, he also pointed out the role of team members in building and maintaining relationship with clients.

“Normally, people think that the role and relationships of leaders in building relationship with clients is very important. But in my opinion, team members and employees are the one that play a key role to the success of each projects as well as building relationship with clients.” Dang said.

He explained that, when two leaders, managers or CEO have a meeting to discuss about the project that they are going to do, they are apt to focus on the policy, strategy, and signing contracts. But how they collaborate, how the project work out and the success of the collaboration that depends on implement of the staffs and employees. To elaborate, in order to bring the best result for the project, staffs and team members have to work hard in research information about clients and their competitors, understand client’s SWOT and markets.

In business, it is essential to maintain relationship with clients. As Solomon (2008) stated that “Great Work Wins Business; a Great Relationship Keeps It”.

“It is better if you show clients see how you care for them. For example, making a call to ask clients about their jobs and health, or ask them going to quan nhau. Be proactive and don’t let your client do this before you.” Mr. Dang said.

He also mentioned about the CRM (Client relationship management) in insurance industry and take CRM at Bao Minh Insurance Corporation as an example. He said that CRM in life insurance work better than non-life insurance. Moreover, in Bao Minh, each department would take responsible for its customers and clients. As a result, it cannot provide the best care services for customers. He hopes that Bao Minh Insurance Corporation will establish a CRM department that specializes in customer caring service for all departments’ clients.

 

Effective teamwork

Mr. Dang claimed that, in order to have best result in work, a leader should consider the division of work that make sure all his team are happy with the job offer.

“A good leader means he knows and understands clearly about his team member,” Dang said.

“In my opinion, a leader should base on team members‘ personalities and abilities to divide suitable tasks for them. Besides that, a leader must have ability to evaluate fairly team members’ contributions and show them what they do well and not well. Help them to face the difficulties and encourage learning from mistakes.”

In addition, he divides the tasks in public with the purpose of building team spirit in his members, give them chances to support and help colleagues and more importantly they enhance knowledge as well as gain experiences from each others.

Figure 2: Proof of life: Me and Mr. Ho Hai Dang (Photo taken by me)

Figure 2: Proof of life: Me and Mr. Ho Hai Dang
(Photo taken by me)

 Word count: 623

Reference:

Solomon, R 2008, The art of client service, Kaplan Publishing, New York.

Baominh, 2012, ‘About Us’, Baominh, viewed on 29 April 2014, <http://www.baominh.com.vn/en-us/category-637-about-us.aspx>.

 

“Do more than is required”- exceeding the client’s expectation

Interviewed by Nguyen Anh Sang, s3449962, G1 (SGS)

 

The great thing about ”Do more than is required” is that it is always moving forward. When it is applied, the effectiveness of work will be pushed further. This is interesting because it is not only an ordinary thing to do but also an important point that people have to bear in mind when working with clients. Can you make the clients appreciate your skills, products or services? How can you make your clients happier than the day before?

To answer those questions, I had a chance to interview Nguyen Thien Lam, Account manager of Saigon Live Media. He had over 6 years experiences in this field and worked with many clients such as: Enchanter, Techcombank, Nutifood  and some agencies such as: My share, Dentsu and Satchii and so on. Thus, he is a live dictionary to learn many things from.

Why “Do more than is required” is so important in client management?

“I think that this ideal is a lodestar for everyone working with client. It’s simply because if you can accomplish your work and show more work to the client, it is the way to impress the client what you are capable of as well as set the bar so high that other competitor cannot duplicate the thing you do and the service you give”, Mr Lam said. Surprising clients by exceeding their expectation is a good way to ensure that they will come back in the future. He added.

Besides, he advised that showing what you know about the client’ needs or problems or the competitors will make your client amazed and believe that you will be able to do more than they require. According to Solomon (2008), before telling the client’ needs, tell them what you know . Thus, Lam’s advice is very useful for working with client.

How to exceed the client’s expectation?

“ The very first thing I do is inviting my client to the coffee shop. I want to create a friendly environment so that I can find more about their needs and do something that they won’t expect. Sometimes, their needs are impossible to serve. At that moment, just try to complete their plan.”

Figure 1: Reproduced from Ramesh (n.d.)

Figure 1: Reproduced from Ramesh (n.d.)

He also shared an experience to make clients” Wow”. He used to work with Enchanter which was a sponsor of a television program. After completing the client’s plan, he did something more by holding an event for Enchanter. After that event, more than fifty articles were written about Enchanter. Thus, his client was so happy and decided to give the sponsorship for six months, instead of three months as planned.

Moreover, he suggested that people should try to be an expert in their field in order to make clients happy. And when clients are happy, you will satisfy and maybe exceed their expectation.  It is simply because the more knowledge you have, the more professional you are when working with clients as it can save time for clients on looking things up. When you become an expert in your field, you are on the level which enhances and keeps a good relationship with clients (Casul 2014).

The final question I asked him is: “What certain attitude do you think that is needed when working with clients?”

“I am transparent, empathize and I am a good listener”. He quickly answered the question.

Figure 2: Mr Thien Lam, account manager of Saigon Live Media and me

 

Put yourself in the client’s shoes and ask: “How would I like to be treated? and then find out the most effective way to do that.” is the lesson I have learnt from the interviewee.

 

Word count: 590

References:

Casul, M 2013, “Client Retention”, lecture inCOMM2384 Client Management, RMIT University, Vietnam, viewed 4 May 2014, Blackboard@RMIT

Ramesh, P n.d., image, Client’s expectation, n.d., viewed 4 May 2014,<http://www.buzzbinpadillacrt.com/how-to-get-the-best-out-of-your-pr-agency/&gt;

Solomon, R 2008, “The art of client service”, Kaplan, New York

 

 

“Excuse me, Mr.Client, but I have a better offer”

Written by Thinh Dat Duong – s3411886. Group 1 – SGS campus

 

Mr. Leon Shears is currently in charge of the marketing department of Grant Thornton, the world’s 6th biggest professional service firm, they provideassurance, tax and advisory services to privately held businesses, public interest entities, and public sector entities. With experience in the industry, he has shared his insight about client acquisition as well as client retention.

On client acquisition and retention

Client acquisition is the most important because without client, you have no business. But retention is obviously important. The cost of acquisition is very high. Achieving a new client takes a lot of time, a lot of preparation, a lot of men management and discussion, communication until you get that new client. Once you have that new client, you have to make sure your service is good, you provide exactly what he wants the way he wants it, to make sure when you ask him to come to sign the contract next year and he would say “Of course”. It should be a seamless transition from one year to the next.

You have to find out what the client wants. Quite often, the client will not know exactly what he wants, he thinks there is a problem, he thinks there is something going on that he wants to solve. It’s the supplier’s responsibility to extract and ask the questions, keep asking questions: “Do you think this is where the problem lies?” so the client, not only tell the supplier what is the problem, but the client feels comfortable, satisfied that he has explained the problem properly.

“The extra you do will show the interest you have with the client’s business”, he said.

He mentioned an example of the extra. You’ve got 2 warehouses. Both of them have 5 members of staff, and both are about 40% full. In a regular audit, you would say you’ve got 2 warehouses, exact number, exact staff. Tick. Correct. That’s what you’ve told me, that’s what I can see. Perfect. But wouldn’t it be sensible for the audit to say, “Excuse me Mr.Client, there are 2 warehouses, with each only 5 employees and only 40% full, you could perhaps take the goods out of this warehouse, out them into that warehouse, and that one will be 80% full. You still got the flexibility. And you can have the entire building, which you can either sell, leased for money, or you can knock down, build something else”.

It’s about getting involved in the business. You’re no longer a client supplier, you get to build a team. ‘If you don’t pay attention to building a strong relationship with your client, you run the risk of being shown the door, no matter how terrific the work’ (Solomon 2008, p.97).

Communication with client

One of the most important aspects of a client-supplier relationship is communication, by getting to know each other. (Reproduced from adrianejolly.com)

One of the most important aspects of a client-supplier relationship is communication, by getting to know each other. (Reproduced from adrianejolly.com)

The secret of any relationship is communication. The only reason you argue with your mother is because she does not understand you, ad you don’t understand her. The reason you argue with your girlfriend, is because you’ve said something, and she has taken it a different way what you meant.

Know what you want to say, so you really know yourself. You want to know who you’re saying it to, and get to know them as the best you can. You want to know the language they understand (the sort of words you can use). And of course, the channel that you use to communicate, is it verbal, written, pictures, tvc, a movie, a book?

Put yourself in the other person’s shoe. What do you want to hear from the supplier when you buy a motorbike? Are you interested in it has 125cc engine? Not really. Are you interested that it has double coil suspension? Maybe, maybe not. Are you interested that it can run 100 miles on a gallon? Yes. That’s important, that affects my pocket. Is it important that the brakes are double-disks? Yes. That’s my safety.

“The manufacturer/supplier must always know what the client wants to hear”, he concluded.

Word Count: 658

The author and Mr. Leon Shears from Grant Thornton. (Photo taken by the hotel’s receptionist)

The author and Mr. Leon Shears from Grant Thornton. (Photo taken by the hotel’s receptionist)

 

References:

Solomon, R 2008, The art of client service: 58 things every advertising and marketing professional should know, Kaplan publishing, viewed 28th April 2014

Image references:

Adriane Jolly 2013, ‘Improving communication with prospects and customers’, viewed April 30th 2014, < http://adrianejolly.com/improving-communication-with-prospects-and-customers/&gt;

The coin of success: Leadership & organizational culture

Interviewed by Hang Ngoc Tran-s3426291, group 2, RMIT SGS Campus

You may have experienced in feeling like an outsider of unfamiliar culture. The awkward feeling appears as you have just landed in another planet. It is difficult if the employees cannot feel like the insiders of an organization. In fact, each organization shapes its own culture. Organizational culture is “shared belief, values, customs held by the organization’s members” (Prentice Hall 2007). The leader will be the one who brings the culture to the members of the organization. Interestingly, leadership and culture are two sides of the same coin (Schein 2004, p.1).

Figure 1: Flipping the coin (Adapted from the Mojo Company 2012)

Figure 1: Flipping the coin (Adapted from the Mojo Company 2012)

“Leadership is the art. It requires a strong passion of heading to achieve the best success together with the team”, Ms. Pham Kim Phung says. Ms. Phung is a corporate communication and public relations manager for more than 7 years at New Markets Pte Ltd. New Market is 100% foreign-owned company since 1994. It invests in distributorship of heavy industrial equipment and marine engine in Vietnam. Their major clients are state-owned enterprises and private companies. As Ms. Phung points out that being a good leader and getting your team mates involved in the organization’s culture are never easy tasks. “What you have learnt from theories are just the basic steps, you have to prepare yourself for larger waves of reality”, Ms. Phung says.

Climbing the organizational pyramid 

Figure 2: Adapted from Global Recognition Inc. n.d

Figure 2: Adapted from Global Recognition Inc. n.d

At New Market, employees receive bonus no less than their three-month salary. For long-term employees, they will receive suitable bonus for their long-term contribution. For working hours and condition, “we follow the government’s labor laws, our working hours is from 8am to 5pm”, she says. At the “involvement” stage, getting employees or teammates involved in the project or organization is also important. “You have to make they feel the organization is their home, they are the pieces of the project”, Ms. Phung says. Solomon (2008) also believes that “we are smarter together than we are alone”. Reaching the top of the pyramid is one of the difficult tasks to complete. At leader position, Ms. Phung believes that a good leader is also the one that gives the employees chances to grow with their skills. “A great leader will produce more good leaders who are better than him or her”, she says.

Four requirements of leadership

Ms. Phung explains that these requirements are essential for effective teamwork. Firstly, “we should understand and share targets to the team and make sure all team members will play each assignment, which is related tightly to the others”, Ms.Phung says. Kotter (1990, p.7) suggests that the idea of getting people going in the same direction is “not organize people but align them”. If they receive suitable task, they will push the speed of the project. Secondly, when the project is on its way, leader should track all team members’ results on a basic schedule and discussing very often methods of achieving targets. Thirdly, rewarding is very important to maintain the motivation of the whole team. Her mindset is similar with Kotter (1990, pp.9-11). The teammates will feel their efforts are recognized. This is one of essential stages in organizational pyramid. This will also help increase the quality of the work. However, remember to reward on suitable time for every good result. We have to recognize the team members’ efforts at the right time. Last but not least, evaluating every target including evaluation of method, timeline, investment on human resources that were achieved. We should keep all team members updating the latest success of the whole team.

Figure 3: Adapted from Kanketa Systems n.d

Figure 3: Adapted from Kanketa Systems n.d

To achieve the targets, team members are the crucial pieces and the leader is the one knows which pieces will fit with each part of the project. Organizational culture and leadership support each other and stick together like the two sides of the same coin. We have to hold this coin tightly like holding our success.

Figure 4: (Proof of life) Me  & Ms. Phung

Figure 4: (Proof of life) Me & Ms. Phung (Photo taken by the author)

Figure 5: Ms. Phung & her V team

Figure 5: Ms. Phung & her V team

Word count: 668 words

References: 

Kotter, JP 1990, ‘What leaders really do?’, Havard Business Review, pp. 1-11.

Prentice Hall 2007, ‘Organizational culture’, course notes for COMM2384 Client management, RMIT University, Vietnam.

Schein, EH 2004, ‘Organizational culture and leadership’, 3rd edn, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, p.1.

Solomon, R 2008, ‘We are smarter together than we are alone’, The art of client service: 58 things every advertising & marketing professional should know, Kaplan, New York, pp.100-101.

Images references:

Global Recognition Inc. 2012, ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the organizational pyramid’, image, Global Recognition Inc., viewed 27 April 2014, <http://globalrecognition.award-search.com/pl/why-use-recognition/Basics-to-Motivating-People>.

Kanketa Systems n.d, ‘Business growth for continued success’, image, Kanketa Systems, viewed 3 May 2014, <http://www.kanketasystems.com/business-growth/>.

The Mojo company 2012, ‘Flipping the coin’, image, the Mojo company, 9 May, viewed 26 April 2014, <http://themojocompany.com/2012/05/culture_and_marketing/>.

 

“WHO NEEDS RELATIONSHIPS? I DON’T NEED RELATIONSHIPS” – says no businessman EVER.

Interviewed by Le Dao Tuong Vy – s3309943, Group 1, RMIT SGS Campus.

 

“Business is about relationship and relationship allows great work to flourish” (Solomon 2008). What about relationship? How can you build it? How can you keep it? These questions are possibly among the oldest questions in any business. Without a doubt, relationship is one of the most important factors to a business. Building a relationship is hard and it is even harder to keep it. Before my holiday on April 30th, I had a very interesting conversation with Mr. Vo Hung Dung about relationships in business. Mr. Dung is the Director of Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vietnam, also known as VCCI.

dialoose_1291590629_VCCI Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vietnam

(Reproduced from VCCI 2014)

In 1963, Vietnam’s government established VCCI. It has been the bridge connecting foreign business with Vietnam’s market ever since Vietnam’s government decided to allow foreign business to enter. This is the most important communication channel from overseas to Vietnam and vice versa.

According to Mr. Dung, after joining VCCI, he has been managing three main services: import and export Certification, short-term classes and event-planning service. These services contribute to the relationships between Vietnam and foreign business. VCCI gets involve with the communication field by developing its event-planning service. The event-planning department differentiates itself from other agencies by organizing solely big-scale conferences, seminars and shows for VIPs. The guests invited to these events are expertise in their fields from many big companies in other countries.

Mr. Dung shared a story about how VCCI got its first client in event service. As mentioned earlier, VCCI has provided another service, which is education. The courses provide businessman from other countries knowledge about Vietnam’s market so they can invest and adapt more easily. Vietnam’s companies through these courses can also have better understanding about foreign market. By providing the education service, VCCI attracts more Corporations and firms seeking for business opportunity in Vietnam. Since VCCI and Mr. Dung himself have become such experts in this category, the Corporations that took part at first decided to entrust Mr. Dung again with event-planning service. These foreign Corporations then became his first clients. In other word, the relationships that VCCI has with their clients go way back in the past. With his network, Mr. Dung invited many experts from Vietnam and overseas to talk at the conferences and seminars. Moreover, not only that Mr. Dung helps strengthen this bridge, he also makes it easier for Vietnam business to strive into the international zone. This service under management of Mr. Dung has contributed greatly to the profit of the organization and also to Vietnam’s economy.

10298879_1438205646427393_9029733810713793945_n

VCCI International Bridge

(Illustrated by author)

Mr. Dung kept repeating relationship is not a one-day and one night thing, people have to put effort into it. Relationship needs to be nurtured. Once you win a client from your competitor, be aware that it is still not the end for your competitor. Mr. Dung emphasized about the quality of service, the most important thing that will maintain the relationships in the long run. There is millions of organization competing with each other everyday and the only thing keeping them survive is the quality (Martin 2009). Since the day Mr. Dung joined VCCI, he has never seen any loss of clients. He shared the key to these success relationships was mutual understanding. To him, good communication leads to quality service and quality service maintain the relationships. 10264848_1438200563094568_1194264900265996164_n

Keys to Successful Relationships in Business

(Illustrated by author)

Apparently, Solomon (2008) also agrees with Mr. Dung’s point of view about how important it is to build and maintain good relationships in doing business. In addition, Martin (2009) and Mr. Dung both have identical opinions on the crucial impact of quality service to relationship between the company and the clients. You can win the client with good pitch, but the quality of the service will keep them. That is exactly what Mr. Dung believes in and work hard for it.

10155264_1438207976427160_1274879603488619897_n

 Interview with Mr. Vo Hung Dung – Director of VCCI

(Taken by author’s friend)

 

Word Count: 626 (Not include Title and Captions)

Reference

Martin, W. 2009, Quality Customer Service: Satisfy Customers – It’s Everybody’s Job, 5th edn, Axzo Press, US, viewed 28th April 2014.

Solomon, R. 2008, The art of client service: 58 things every advertising and marketing professional should know, Kaplan publishing, viewed 28th April 2014.

VCCI 2014, image, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vietnam,vcci-hcm, viewed 27th April 2014, <http://vcci-hcm.org.vn&gt;

 

 

Semester 1 2014

Dear Future Client Managers,

Welcome to Semester 1, 2014! Dung and I are excited to potentially read almost 60 new interview articles from across Saigon and Hanoi this semester.

As you can see there are over 180 articles in this blog since its inception. Feel free to browse through the various entries and see what your peers have to say about client management issues and what they have discovered thanks to a wide array of interview subjects who are experts in their field both locally and globally.

A word of caution though: NOT ALL ARTICLES ARE GOOD EXAMPLES. I have tried to “Like” some of the entries that are recommended and have deleted past entries that didn’t make the CR mark. But it takes time to curate the entries so there are a few that have ‘slipped’ through the radar. If you have any concerns about these examples please send your lecturer an email to confirm if you are looking at a good example.

Alright… make sure you check the task brief on Blackboard for Assessment 3 for particulars of the interview article. Good luck!

~Mel C

 

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