In this episode, we have Ashley Galina Dudarenok to discuss how live streaming is changing the roles of sales professionals in China during times of COVID and beyond.
Join us as we cover:
- The growing selling through live-streaming trend
- The emerging skills sales professionals will need to possess
- How sales professionals can use social media to engage with customers in China
- Perspectives on the leading Chinese eCommerce marketplaces
Check out this video to see the level of live streaming that’s happening in China right now.
Ashley is a China marketing expert, entrepreneur, bestselling author, professional speaker, and vlogger. She was recognized as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Marketing in 2019 and chosen as an Asia-Pacific Top 25 Innovator by the Holmes Report. She is the founder of a China-focused social media agency Alarice and China insights and training company ChoZan.
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In today’s episode, Tom Abbott has a chat with Ashley Dudarenok, a China marketing expert, who is the founder of a China-focused social media agency Ellory’s and China insights entraining company chosen. In this episode, they talk about trends in China and the evolving role of sales professionals deal to live streaming, changing the way products are.
So, Ashley, it’s great to have your thanks for joining us on the selling in Asia podcast. It’s phenomenal to be here and thank you for having me. My pleasure. So let’s just jump right in, right now, more than ever, of course, we’ve had a situation globally where it’s been challenging for people to meet face to face.
There’s been a real big push to virtual selling and virtual meeting. So what’s been going on and what we love about you is your perspective on from a China perspective, right? So what’s been going on. In China as a result of, the COVID situation. So I think the first important thing to understand about China is if you would like to see the future, you’ll probably go and look what’s happening in China right now, especially when it comes to retail, especially when it comes to technology, especially when it comes to adoption of that technology and with coffee, China has unfortunately been hit. Flask and China have fortunately been one of the first countries to also come out of it. So if we look at the latest data that just came in right now, we see that China’s GDP, for instance, It grew 3.2% in 2020, and it was minus. 6.8% in Q one. So it is growing.
It is recovering. What does it mean for sales? We see that let’s say retail sales, in Q2 still down year on year, almost 4%, 3.9%. But online retail is up 7.3% in half one this year. So what did we see? Surprisingly, one supplies, retail, right? Absolutely. And what do we see here? People are obviously adjusting.
There is a so-called new normal. That’s been established. A lot of things have changed the business models, the way we market, the way we sell, the way we communicate, the way we see a doctor, the way we educate ourselves, all these things have changed. but we see that people are still, positive.
They’re excited. They’re optimistic about the future. They’re still purchasing. They’re just purchasing on different platforms and slightly different products. So if we talk about your question was what has really changed in China? I would say. business models have changed. If we look from three perspectives, the first one business models, first, everyone is doing life dreaming.
I noted we’re going to be talking about live streaming today, and it’s literally governments doing live streaming. Talking about that. You’re cultural produced talking about the real estate in their city is talking about investment opportunities and they’re serious. We see bloggers live streaming. We see farmers live streaming selling their oranges of peaches or what Amazon, High-nine and Googling, et cetera. We see business owners, small business owners, lifestreaming. if you have this shop of underwear, Somewhere in a central heartbeat, you will lock the doors in the evening and you will sit in front of the camera and you will live stream 200. Yeah. So people, and you will advise them on how to choose them, their favourite underwear.
even the big bosses of big corporations, a live streaming, they are talking, I mean like the head of grief, for instance, the China air con manufacturer, and basically, home appliances manufacturer. He’s livestreaming about that product. And they are not just like streaming and talking about the culture and the brand, but they are actually selling during those live streams.
So this is number one. It’s not something I think that started during coffee. That’s something that just hugely accelerated during COVID-19, time. at the same time, what else? Accelerated domestic brands. Definitely are on the rise. So everybody’s interested in local, Chinese culture, Chinese heritage brands, et cetera.
We see community retail talking about sales, being very big right now. So purchases are happening within a community that is a distribution centre located next to your community. And what is a community? It is two or three houses linked together. And you can basically purchase together with your neighbours, in a tiny neighbourhood.
So we also have instant consumption, Chinese leading in that area. Absolutely. Number one in the world where people purchase something and a couple of minutes later, they expect this thing to be delivered right now. So it’s not only food. Yeah. It’s not only food. It’s not like you auto and food Pandora deliver or whatever.
And you’re unhappy when your order arrives within an hour. So in China, you can order Madison, you can order jeans, you can order. Fume you can order luxury items and the delivery will be within 30 minutes. Very often. I remember that this 18, we just had this mid-year, basically e-commerce festival second by J D Jing dong.
And right now a lot of other players can do adore and Alibaba and Doreen are participating in this as well. because the delivery that they have achieved was eight minutes. The person clicked order an item. And eight minutes later, the item has reached his home. Now think about that. Is it a coincidence?
Eight is a very auspicious number as well. So how great is that right? Maybe they don’t disclose, but in more than 30 CDs, the delivery has happened within. 20 minutes. Just think about that. So instant consumption is also there. And in terms of technology again, health tech is on the rise, live streaming.
Everybody’s doing that, led displays and holograms right now to showcase the product better and also attract people in this online, offline locations. These are also on the rise, post COVID-19. And of course, we have a lot of. Unmanned technology and unmanned, store operators, robots that are doing the ticketing, sales, servicing, et cetera and China’s leading way here. And the final thing that really got a big push this year is definitely five G and six, three technology. China’s already building their six G plan and the stations. engineering and stuff like that. So a lot of things have changed and a lot of things have accelerated and live streaming is at the core of it all powered by consumers that want to be pampered still.
Yeah. So I love hearing this. let’s unpack some of these things because you really download it a lot of data there. But if we take a look back at, the growth, So I heard you mentioned that online sales have gone up by about 7%, half year.
Is that right? Something like that. Yeah. Yeah. while the listeners might go 7% growth in online, to me doesn’t sound like a lot given the COVID situation, but I think we have to put that into a context that. China has often led the way in the online sales period before Kobe. So it’s if you compare that number with other markets and their 7% is actually quite a lot compared with other markets that maybe have never had a lot of online sales.
Do you know what I mean? I feel like China has pre-COVID. Already was a powerhouse when it came to selling online. So for China to have a 70% increase over that is still a huge increase. Absolutely. China’s been number one, the online retail market in the world for the past. I don’t remember, is it five or six years?
Every single year. And they ended up with two, market. In the world in terms of everything else, right after the US in terms of the consumer market. But in terms of online retail, they’ve been by far the biggest. And I think that’s amazing. And I think it’s a great lesson for businesses around APAC and around the world is to really look at what China, not only what they’re doing now, but what China had already been doing.
Free COVID selling online. And I like what you say it’s about, they’re improving on and building upon what they had done before. a lot of countries, companies out there have been slow to adopt. Online sales. They’ve just been slow to the game. So for those companies that are slow to the game, of course, they might be posting your percentages of their sales online because they never sold online before and now that’s all they can do.
But I think there are certainly some things that we can learn from China as far as. you’ve really got to keep pushing the envelope and thinking about how can I do more online. So I have a little bit deeper actually. So w what are some of these trends that you’re seeing over there?
So the first thing that I would like to really cement in our audience’s minds is that in China, it’s not about selling online or selling offline. It’s not even about this kind of an altar integration or whatever. We call it in the West. It’s really about the concept of new retail and retail is the merger of online and offline, not just driving traffic from one to the next came into being with Jackie a couple of years ago.
And he basically said there will be new manufacturing, new financing, a new, this new that. And in the core of it, it’s the new retail and essentially in China, when you operate, right now in 2020, you need to be part of, one of the new retail ecosystems. And one such ecosystem is Alibaba ecosystem, which means they create, databases.
They create all the tax support online and offline Hyland software. And you as a brand, you’ll come in and yeah. Plug yourself into this ecosystem in order to understand your customer profile, better distributed. Your products on social media platforms on eCommerce platforms, and also equip your offline locations with the trackers that help you collect data, understand the consumer better and provide them with better things, better offering.
And you can be a small mom and pops. Store and be part of the Alibaba ecosystem, or you can be a large brand and be part of the Alibaba ecosystem. And the other ecosystem is J D Jing dong plus 10 cents. So they also have their own ecosystem. this concept of new retail is really something that. Pushes businesses to be a part of this new retail, not just online, not just offline and also not being in a position like in the West or, sitting there and trying to invent all the databases, all the unmanned kind of assistance, all of this tab, all of the system, just by yourself and trying to enter the 21st century in China, you can come in and all those.
Things were already created for you. You come in, you plug into this ecosystem and you are benefiting from it. Then you can learn a lot more and you can do a lot more. You can innovate, but at the same time in China, offline is still very important. It needs to be a proper offline location. You need to maximize your kind of yield per square meter.
That is why we have all these packs to understand our consumers better. but. Chinese love to touch and feel, and smell and be in offline environments. so again, this is what we’re building in China right now. It’s truly new retail. Not just, I believe that a lot of people looking at China right now, they’re like, Oh my God, all they do is basically sit there with bloggers and Dwight streaming.
And then they go to Taobao or go to JD and they sell their stuff. That’s not what’s going on. That is a huge chunk that’s happening online. And also there’s a huge chunk that’s happening offline and they are merging together through this. Integration. So it sounds like what you’re saying is it’s not about this old way of thinking, which is like, Oh, we used to be bricks and mortar that’s dying.
So now we need to get online. It’s not either, or it’s this blended, this new retail that you’re talking about and that you’ve got to be equally adept at the bricks and mortar. And be equally adept as the online sales, because you’ve got customers that on one hand, they want to touch and feel the merchandise.
They want to come on and maybe try on a pair of jeans or feel it, and they may buy it in the store, but they also may want to buy it online and get it delivered in eight minutes. Is that right? Absolutely. And this experiential concept of stores is becoming important. So the stores brick and mortar needs to change.
It’s not going to disappear ever. But it’s needs to change. It cannot be just a display of your items. You need to use it as the best way for you to collect data about your consumers who came in. Did they come alone? Did they come with a friend? What are they doing? How long are they spending, looking at certain things?
Have they tried it? Did they like it? What was that common? This is a phenomenal way to understand your customers. And at the same time, providing them, a service, this and that’s true and experience. It’s that communication with clients, not just display of items. And that is the power. Most of the consumers will complete their purchases.
More and more increase in their online where they can and read the reviews where they can, rate the items where they can choose Carlos, where they can return something they don’t like, but they really need to have this, offline kind of experience. And it will take some years and we will see how it will balance out the different countries based on the culture, based on the availability of also online, offline kind of connection.
It will be very interesting. I need to see, but essentially you’re totally right. That it’s not the war between online and offline. The war is over and the winner is new retail. I love that. So you talked about how it’s we can use the brick and mortar. If you’re the retailer, right? If you’re the seller, you can use the brick mortar, the retail store is a great way to collect data, get some information to interact with your customer, because that can give you some useful data for selling online, for example.
So for those of you listening now and you’re sales and you’re maybe not so tech savvy, but think about it this way, a perfect metaphor. Is before you start thinking about using social media to sell and start posting this, that, or that, the other, why don’t you just pick up the phone and have a conversation with some of your customers, get some usable, tangible, hard data straight from your customers that you work with now.
Phone SMS, email, whatever, and then use some of that data as you try to sell to them online. So it was a similar example, but on a smaller scale. So the question that I wanted to ask Ashley, that I think is really worth exploring is while retailers can see their storefronts as a way to collect data.
So then what’s the attraction for the customer. So what is it? The Chinese customer customers are finding valuable or useful about going into an actual store. Versus buying online because we talked about the benefit for the retailer using it as a way to capture data and whatnot. But what does the average Chinese consumer get still by going into a brick and mortar store?
It’s a service it’s interaction. It’s you cannot, experience something as good. In the online environment. We are not there yet. Once we have holograms amazing re virtual reality, maybe that will be closer, but right now it’s just like watching a movie on a really bad, tiny screen in black and white, or going into the immersive real life kind of HD.
That’s the difference. So for a consumer, given the choice, everything else being equal, meaning they don’t need to spend three hours getting to your store, meaning they are getting great service, meaning they get the variety of colours and their size and whatever. They still prefer to be in physical location because, for a lot of people here in Asia, not only in China, Shopping is a past time.
It is a hobby. It is window shopping. It is the way we socialize the way we connect with our friends. It is something to do. It is the reason to go to the city and to walk in the mall and to eat something nice. And it is exploration. People love exploring online. And there are great ways to do that through bloggers, through recommendations, through search, through unexpected, popup windows campaigns that they love exploring online, but exploring offline is, again, an important activity hands your store would be attractive, I can see where people come in and they feel welcome and they can interact.
They get to feel that they are important and that, Oh, that’s what this brand is all about. Okay. Now they build a lot of reference points from what they saw online. And now they see you for real, in the offline environment, they will make a decision. They can purchase some things in the store.
They can purchase some things online. They can purchase some things through your distributor. The customer does not care, but they Come into your, again, your mini-ecosystem. And they submit by participating in this ecosystem, their data pool to you, and you will get to know them better and you will have the opportunity to build this long term investment relationship with them.
That’s what, what’s in it for a customer. Yeah, and I think that’s a really great reminder for us out there. when we’re talking about technology, we’re talking about online and blending retail with online, and I think it can be overwhelming for a lot of people. there’s a lot of laggards is out there that are just like, no, the old ways, the best way but there are some things about the traditional way of selling. That we still want. look, if there’s anything that we’ve learned from this course, the period is yes, we can adapt and yes, we can buy things online and that’s great, but my gosh, everybody still misses the human touch. We miss interacting with people and going into a shop yeah.
Sitting down and taking your time, and all of that. So I think there’s always going to be a space for that, as you mentioned, and the key is going to be. What’s going to attract people to your store. And at the end of the day, look, when we’re looking on a screen, it’s really only stimulating a couple of senses it’s sight and sound really.
But when you walk into a store it’s sight, it sounded smell. It feels it’s everything. It could taste when like there are so many different things that you can experience. In-person. So for anyone that feels like, Oh, retail, male is dead or fronts are dead. They’re not quite getting it because it’s not this or that.
It’s these. Absolutely. And what we see in China right now, tons of holograms use not on holographs. We have holograms and we also have the led displays. So imagine this you’re walking down the streets and it’s getting late. So it’s getting dark and suddenly you see this whole door of a jewellery store, light up with a huge ring, with a display of jewellery, and there’s a girl or a butterfly of something that’s.
Lies in Carrie. It’s incredible. I was literally a couple of days ago. Absolutely fascinated looking at a hot pot restaurant and the door, the entrance to that hotpot restaurant literally had this mist pouring down. And then there was enemy warrior, like a woman warrior from anime, sending that and basically making noodles as a hologram, attracting people to come into that store.
It was just. Absolutely fascinating. So obviously the more we move towards, six G adoption. The more these things will be normal because we are all going to have our own little picture and our own little scenario plate to us episode. it’s like a race that’s right. Or blade runner.
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So if you think this is unachievable and this is far away, no, it’s not far away. We see, islands of that already happening and led literally I haven’t seen so much of those led screens being adapted, in storefront ever. And right now post COVID-19 people are trying to attract, pass, buys into their stores and they’re using this really cool technology.
So we are definitely going to see that coming as well. Cool. I love that. I love that. it’s like you talked about, it’s like a scene out of the ready player. One, it’s like a ready seller. One seller gotta be ready to use technology. And it’s a message. I feel like we really need to hit home Ashley because a lot of people, there’s a couple of things.
They either feel like technology. won’t replace certain things we do, which it already has, and it will, and it should, I could go on a lot about that or they feel like they just don’t get it. And I feel like a lot of people that are critical of technology and think it won’t work it’s because they just don’t know how to use it.
And also fear we can discount. I think a lot of people are in denial because of fear. I hear that every day. They say, yeah, China, there’s no privacy, there’s this, Lord knows what the system is going to do with all this data. And it’s also scary and they’re moving so fast and we are in denial because we are really scared.
But the end of the day, what do you need to realize right now in 2020 is that the train has already departed. You can be upset about it. You can stand at the station, you can be very frustrated and you can decide not to hop on the train. Yes, but the train has departed, just like with electricity. A couple of hundred years, the electricity is coming and electricity is going to revolutionize the way its hospitals around department stores around the way we teach, the way we fly, the way we commute, the way we do everything.
And if you don’t want to be part of it, it’s your choice. The train has deposited the same with AI. The same with technology in China, they’re implementing, they’re moving fast. They’re not inventing majority of that stuff. They are not inventors. It’s not that they brought evil tack and right now, it’s happening and Oh my God, it’s also possible.
Yes, they are just implementing it. They’re at the stage of implementation, not experimentation, right? And this is the beauty of it. And it can be scary, but only if we decide to jump on the train, we have the ability to steer it in one direction. Or the other technology is not bad. A good change is not bad or good.
It’s just, it’s there. And it’s where do we steer it? It’s inevitable. And if we are not part of the discussion, if we are not on the train, so to speak and we are standing and we’re in denial and we are frustrated and we are just not moving ahead, we have no say into where this train is going. Yeah. I’m reminded of this expression.
It’s there were three kinds of people out there. People that make things happen, people who watch things happen. And people who go, what happened, And it’s we have to choose which you know, who do we want to be? Who do we want to be? And I love what you said about, it’s not China’s inventing this technology.
They’re just adopting it or implementing it. But you also said experimenting. And to me, that’s a huge thing. And I talk about this in sales all the time. Just try something. Just try something different and it doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to be great the first time, but you’ll learn as you go on.
We were talking before or this podcast episode here that we, and doing virtual sessions for over 10 years. So it made it easier for us to transition into this new reality that we’re in right now. And look, our videos that we did in 2009, not great, but they’re still better than a lot of people that I see today.
And it’s we ha we really and sad, but we had a headstart, right? You had a headstart. It may not be perfect, but you try it and you just get better, more confident because confidence, breeds confidence, and then this confidence breeds more or competence, you just get better. You just got to keep working at it.
So I think anybody, they need to get on board, the train, as you say right now, and just start experimenting and see where it’s going to go, because we’re not going backwards. That’s for sure. Absolutely Tom and I love how you said, perfect. There’s no such thing as perfect. We all know that, but even more importantly, when I just go to China in 2006, I remember that phrase, which was probably the first business lesson that I learned in China.
And it was. I looked at all these advertising, walking on the street and I saw these ads and they were so horrible, just horrible colours, low resolution, you clearly cut pictures, like really crude. It was horrible. And I would ask a couple of people that worked in advertising, but then I said, how do you allow these things to go out?
how do you basically, how did these get a pass? And then the person seriously looks at me and says, Perfect. It’s just not fast enough. And for me, that phrase completely changed the way I understood it because everything was happening so fast. While somebody still editing that picture while somebody is still coming up with their offer, let’s imagine an international brand.
Yes. Somebody is already doing business. Somebody who’s already had this offer and yes, it’s ugly. But it works and over time they’re going to improve it, but essentially the speed with which the world is developing right now. But I will, again, I’m focusing on China and with China speed that is even faster and the speed of the world, you just cannot be perfect.
It’s not fast enough. So you need to be. Good enough and then just go good enough and go, and basically push beyond same. Thing’s happened with live streaming. Look at live streaming. A lot of people look at it and go Oh my God, it just happened in 2020, no live streaming. Was that in China for two years, two years, we have more than 200 platforms in China where you can go to live stream.
It’s not three. It’s not four. It’s not Instagram live 200 platforms. And what do we do with, yeah? Do it live streaming, obviously. E-commerce right now has totally stolen the party. But at the same time, we have. We have an education sector live streaming, especially since the beginning of this year. We have literally primary school kids learning for half a year through live streams.
We have continuous education courses, this and that. We have offline entertainment being fully taken online through life stress. We have, let’s say tourism, also being, all like museums, et cetera, live streaming to support there. operations, et cetera. And when we look at the numbers, e-commerce live streams, we, by the end of this year, it is predicted that we’re going to have 524 million online lives through me users in China.
That’s 40% of the Chinese population and that’s 62% of China’s internet users. Think about that. They’re going to be on live streams. When you say on live streams, you mean watching the live stream, watching live streams and purchasing from live streams. So one and two people purchasing from a live stream. That’s incredible and this has happened in two years. They experimented. They have a lot of platforms. They’ve done good things, bad things, tried it. And now they were right at a place where, as I said, you are an owner of a small noodle store in Shen Jen, you sell half of your noodles too in clients. And you say another, sell another half the noodles because you have five phones and you’re left streaming on five platforms and people place orders on your live stream.
If you are selling underwear and you are a tiny store selling pink for children, you are live streaming. If you are in B to B business, for example, you are an actor, you’ll go into an expo. Yeah. And let’s say you’re selling chemicals. Yeah, you have a booth in the offline location, in an expo, but at the same time, you have five phones and your live streaming to your customers online.
So you are having this offline setting because people come and ask you questions in a physical space, but your life streaming to people that cannot be with you and you are doing twice, three times, four times more scale. Yeah, it’s amazing. Oh, I love that. and I just love it’s all about. Just get started.
Just do it. You don’t remind me of this quote by Aristotle who says, begun is half done. begun is half done. And it’s consistent with what you said. Perfect. Isn’t fast enough. And there are so many people out there. So all the viewers and listeners right now, if you’re sitting on an idea and you’re just waiting for that script to be perfect, you’re waiting for the perfect list of the target.
You’re waiting for the right camera or the right technology or the right phone, stop waiting. And just start, you talked about live streaming. We actually did live streams on Google Hangouts, like five or six years ago. You were live streaming. So it’s this is not new stuff. The platforms change the technology changes, but the concept is still there.
So it just gives it a try, just put your foot in the water and get going. I love that. Perfect. Isn’t fast enough. And who wins the race? It’s always those people that are first, out of the Gates quick, they try things. They fail fast, they make improvements and they’re ready to go. Oh, and they’ve taken market share.
They’ve got customer loyalty. They’ve got a fan base and they’re making money while you’re still trying to figure it out. Get started. What are you waiting for? And the most important who wins people that compete people that get in the game. If you’re not in the game, there’s no way you’re ever going to win no chance at all.
So why don’t we just spend a couple of minutes talking a little bit more about live streaming, so I’m sure there’s a lot of people who are watching and listening right now who are like, okay, so I’m in sales and I’m selling whether it’s B to B or B to C. what are some ways that I can start live streaming that would apply in my day to day context, what are some things that the people should be looking at right now, as far as live streaming and in a sales context?
So if you’re a salesperson, I would say there are two major things that you need to really prepare for, first of all, You need to get your sales skills compatible with the digital environment. And very often we have sales script and we have our consumer profiles and we, throughout the years, a month, we receive some sort of, acquainted with how to sell, what questions to ask when it is.
One-on-one very often, it’s a one on one scenario, but imagine you are right now on one of those TV shows in the nineties, in the U S. And you are selling a frying pan to a million Americans, and you tell them that just now, only for you, this bet is nine 99, and you can place your order just below here. If you buy right now, the second one is going to come to a tough price, and you’re going to give us your favourites on.
So that’s exactly the style that you need to adapt. And this is definitely a lot of adjustments, right? So this communication, one too many that come through number one, Obviously you need to showcase that you are an expert in what you’re selling. So you need to understand a lot about this pen you’re selling.
So this, we usually have kind of tech number two, you need to be an entertainer. And unfortunately, this is what a lot of salespeople are either uncomfortable with or totally just totally horrible app. So when you are doing live streaming. Presentation, you don’t need to make full of yourself, but you need to be entertained.
You need to be interesting to watch. Otherwise, people are not going to give you that face as they would when you are doing it offline setup. So yeah. Changing your style. And number three, of course, it needs to be educational. So telling the story. You need to have, we have a scrape, but this time it’s not just, that’s great.
It is a story that usually goes through a couple of live streams. Like you have your own T serious, you go from one episode to the next and you’re telling this long, good story. People really appreciate that. and of course, including a couple of, What topics are bringing in a couple of things, people as experts, all these can be added on top.
What kind of platform to choose? As I said in China, for instance, 200 platforms, there’s a lot of stuff you can do. One of the best platforms, for example, to South fruits, is, . one of the best platforms to sell, outfits is, wait house, or you do. A turbo life, et cetera, if this doesn’t matter, but you really need to get your message and your format straight.
And the second thing that you need to start doing as a salesperson right now, when it comes to live streaming is, you need to go through a sales training, which is focused on streaming. Oh, it’s simple things. what is the light, how to, what are the punch phrases? What do you need to repeat every couple of minutes?
How to make sure that the engagement doesn’t fall, do you need to send them, let’s say in China, it’s very common. Every couple of let’s say 15 minutes chunks. You give them the price and they need to like your posts with little hearts, like nonstop. They press hearts. That gives you more exposure. So every couple of minutes you have to send that and that keeps you at the top of the page.
So a lot more people view you, all these things are not difficult, but they are not obvious. And what I love, and I see more and more in China right now in 2020. and I told, ready to Q three, we see that companies big and small B2C and B2B stop training their sales teams. To be life streamers and you will see an army of people standing there with those light thrings cameras.
You’ve seen them. And this is awesome. They talk about literally they talk about selling cars and they talk about selling snacks and it can be, as I mentioned, multiple times for me, the most hilarious example was what I saw literally this tiny shop or we’re not selling his whole story is a concept store.
It’s pink underwear for kids. That’s it. it doesn’t go more niche than that in character, on the imprinted, on it. That’s what he sells pink underwear for kids. And he’s, Lifestream involved that and he’s got people and he has achieved a certain level of success. I’m starting to train and prepare for that is really important.
And then just do it the more you do it, the better you become in China right now, the moist, in-demand skill. When it comes to sales, associates are living through me. And now fast forward, two years in the rest of the world, what is going to be, how comfortable, how good are you on video? Are you educational?
Are you expert enough? And are you entertaining? Can you do that? Can you tick those boxes? If you can, your lifetime success and employment is probably if not guarantee that you’re at least say for a couple of years. I love that. the number one tool. That I think everyone needs to succeed in sales is adaptability.
They’ve got to be able to change into flex because again, the technology has changed, but it’s changed. All the time for decades, the technology has changed whether you were a door to door salesperson in the fifties, the 1950s, and that’s how you were. And then you’ve got the phone and now you’ve got email coming in and you’ve got SMS and WhatsApp and that we chat and you’ve got a whole bunch of things happening.
Social media, LinkedIn, Facebook, you name it, the text changes and now live stream. You got video. So you’ve gotta be able to sell on zoom and then live streaming. So it’s just, the tech has changed and we’ve got to have the mindset right. Change along with that. So let’s just wrap up here, actually.
What are some of the social media platforms that if you’re within China or beyond China, and you’re trying to reach the Chinese customers dimmer, what are some of the platforms that reps need to be really proficient at and comfortable with? So when it comes to China because there are basically two universities, one is China, there’s just little universe and there’s everything outside of China.
So when it comes to China, you definitely need to be very good when it comes to Taobao life. That’s the biggest. They saw this opportunity early on. And for the past two-plus years, they’ve been investing into having the most stable, the most, the coolest platform to support like streamers.
They have bloggers, they have companies like, yeah, streaming, literally it’s like landing on Amazon and tapping into the homepage and seeing. All the products that you are searching for. I actually be in life right now. And people present to you why that product is the best. It’s absolutely amazing. at the same time, let’s just pause for a minute.
So for those that are just trying to conceptualize this, and I like an example that you shared earlier, it’s like in the eighties and the nineties, when you’re watching the home shopping network or QVC, where it was. One person doing a pitch of their product, Live streaming.
But what we’re talking about now is it’s like platforms where it’s that’s all that’s happening and it’s hundreds of live streams happening at once. Hundreds of reps selling their products or services at one time on these multiple platforms, like 200 platforms and then hundreds or thousands of people selling on these hundreds of platforms at one time.
And if you want to get noticed in a noisy world, you gotta be pretty darn good on camera. Is this what we’re talking about here, Ashley? Absolutely. You need to be good at it. And of course, on the platform itself, imagine Amazon, right? You go on Amazon and you see a home page. there are some products that are recommended to you because you’re purchasing them all the time.
So you can. See that these products are not only recommended because we purchased them all the time, but they also picked them once that a life right now. So if I’m looking for it and your bag, it will not be just, Oh, here are the bags, but it will be okay. This is the product. And this shop is right now talking about this product.
So I click on it and it opens and I have usually a one license. Streamer. And sometimes this one life stream is interacting with another live streamer. So two of them are talking and they are showing me the product and they are funny and they’re knowledgeable. And sometimes they are tearing bags apart.
Sometimes they are burning down. They do whatever is necessary to convince me that, Oh my God, this is the best deal right now. And because I’ve caught them on livestream again, it can be a great deal. It can be an additional, tiny gift that they give me, but they basically motivate me to purchase right now.
Got it. Wow. Okay, cool. That’s exciting. So aside from the live streaming platforms, what are some of the so social media platforms or, instant messaging platforms that reps need to really be aware of right now? So of course in China, no social media right now is actually also e-commerce and a lot of eCommerce platforms are becoming social media.
So this merger is happening right now. It’s not that the platforms are merging. It’s just that the functions, Expanding into each other’s category. So we don’t have fuel. Absolutely. And we don’t have your social media platforms anymore and we don’t have pure e-commerce. Platforms anymore. So they’re literally competing.
And the thing that sets them apart is really the focus I would say, and the touch and feel a little bit and some functionalities, but most importantly, the user base, because China is such a huge market. There’s so many people and we of course have very niche, segments of consumers. So it’s not that we look okay, this is the platform familiarity.
Excuse me, there are hundreds of sub groups of millennials, and many of them have their own kind of social media go to community to go to a place. And because in China, there’s so many people, those niche communities of which we have more than 60 in mainland China, they have a, enough audience to survive and be successful.
They are, obviously we chat, but we chat is really not a social media platform. It’s really not an eCommerce part. It is an operating system for life in China. It is where everything happens, where you donate to charity, where you call your grandmother, where you are stocking your friends, where you are reading the news.
Where you are, working and your boss sends you contracts to sign where you assuming your friends. This is what we chat is it’s literally an operating system for life. there is way bore, which is very old, they started in 2009. Old for China, social media platform is so microblogging. They got a lot of investment from Alibaba, so they have the money they have the users they came out of there declined very nicely.
And right now they have a lot of new kind of functions and shops, and there’s a lot of the power away bore or the bloggers. They have a lot of bloggers on that platform. And people go to watch number two hot topics, which is like gossip, right? What is hot right now by your city, by your region? What are people talking about?
What is basically trending? And number two, they go that too. I’m pretty sure to watch their favourite blogs and in China, just like in a lot of things, Asian cultures, fandom being a fan of something, or someone is really big, look at Japan, right? We have good Zilla fans. So in China, we also have fans of people, groups, TV, Sirius is et cetera.
It’s live very important community. And for them we bought is the most important place to go this year. Obviously, I’m a very popular app Doreen and in the West, it’s called tick tock. So in China, everybody’s on doggy and everybody’s watching those addictive videos. What’s cool about it. It’s purely entertaining.
what’s cool is they’re trying to blend in a lot more sales functions and promotions. And apart from ads, this kind of shops, but people buy only by impulse, something that’s very cheap. Like you wouldn’t go to Dorian to buy something serious. You would buy something within, I would say, 50 to a hundred RMB that doesn’t hurt.
And you saw it as cool. You just purchased. but it’s again, very, yeah, , it’s basically like purchases at the checkout counter of a store, Something that you’re just like, Oh, why not? Sure. Easy. You don’t even know. Yeah. Yeah. So you are being interrupted because you go to Dolby into again, to look at the pictures or not pictures, but videos of kitty cats and people dancing, and it’s all silly.
And again, doughy in and the power of bites. Dan’s company behind Dorian is in that algorithms in there. I powered whatever it’s called and whatever it means these days by AI-powered, the algorithm that makes sure that they understand not only what you say you’re like, but how do you actually consume content?
What do your friends consume? Where did you go? What did you message to your friend? What are the keywords? They put it all together to create a. Personalized timeline just for you that you just cannot stop scrolling. It’s scary how good it is. If you think Facebook or YouTube ads are getting you across internet, try doughy and not Tiktaalik, but Dorian.
It’s scary how good they are. and this is the power of what else we, of course, have read in Chinese called shall the whole shoe. It is a recommendation kind of personal experience, sharing platform. People love it because it’s user to user. So essentially you go and you review something that you, it started when people went abroad and they brought in the product.
Cosmetics, outfit or some of the travelling destinations or that travelling agenda, et cetera. And they reviewed it. So right now you go that and you are looking to discuss, cover something new. You’re looking for somebody to recommend your high quality. Usually. International, but right now also a lot of domestic brands.
Is there something that you didn’t know before? So a lot of mother and baby, a lot of cosmetics, most of the women, most of the people on the platform are women. It’s more than 90 well, 95% of users, women. It’s huge. This year in the particular post copied, we have cool, an amazing platform as well for B2B marketers, where you essentially it’s like Chinese Quora and you go and you really introduced.
Your industry, your, complicated products. That’s why it’s good for B to B sales because usually, it’s not something obvious its information beyond obvious. Why are you so good? Your tack, your kind of insider information a little bit, you can also your brand, et cetera. So drew who is really powerful when it comes to that.
There’s Billy. when it comes to younger people from higher tier CDs, They love watching videos, especially this bullet common functions, like the two of us are talking and then they’re hundreds of bullets. Basically, people commenting while we talk appearing on the screen. And some people in, I would say, some younger people find it very entertaining and that’s the reason they own this platform.
But a lot of older people, I would say about 45. I find it extremely annoying. So it’s either. All right. yeah, Billy BT is very good because they are still a cheap top platform. They’re still new to advertising and this whole e-commerce boom. So they are really good at, and again, as I said, in China, there are 60 plus platforms.
You can find, for instance, platforms that specifically target, elderly women. In the first, second and third-tier cities that do square dancing, they go to the squares and they, yeah. Talk about a niche market. You’re talking about a niche market and you can sell them. You won’t believe it, but you can sell them.
For instance, silk scarves. They love those sales. Yeah. The silk scarves you can sell to them. this has thinning products, like three times picturing my mum right now. And she’d be one board. Yeah, so all that is happening in China. And, this is very exciting. That’s really cool. So this is great.
For me to wrap this up, I’m thinking for any sales professionals out there, not just in China, but around APAC and the world, it’s looking at, what’s working now in China and that’s today, but that’s the future. that’s your future. And to me, it’s just technology. it’s it’s adoption.
It’s. Being willing to experiment to try new things, to adapt, to fail fast. Perfect. Fast enough to me, that’s something I’m going to be thinking about, for the next few weeks, for sure. Thanks so much, Ashley. This was really great. I love these conversations. It’s good to reconnect and to chat about what’s going on in your world, right now.
Yeah. Thanks for joining us. Thank you so much. And if I could just give a little slogan and to this whole episode, I would say, remember how a couple of years ago everybody was talking about, we are all in sales. Doesn’t matter what you do. We are all constantly selling to each other. You don’t need to have a sales person in your title to be in sales.
We are all in sales. A couple of days ago, a friend of mine from China said we are all in show business. And this is what live streaming is all about. So if you’re not comfortable being on camera and putting yourself out there, the time is over. We are now at this day and age, all in show business. And of course, we’re still in sales.
Let’s go get them, guys. I love it. If you’re, if you don’t think you’re in show business, you’ll be out of this. Great. Alright, thanks so much, Ashley. Great to see you again. Awesome. Thanks, everyone takes care.
- Tom Abbott is the author of 'The SOHO Solution' and 'Social Selling' and the creator of the online sales training platform SOCO Academy. Sales leaders engage Tom for his proven solutions to building high performance sales teams that exceed targets and for motivational keynotes that energise their audiences.
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