A Business Development Agency? A Sales Agent? A Hired Gun? A Consultant?
The Answer is Yes. RGA has been all of those things at different times, based on the needs of my clients and my ability to bring results to their goals.
Earlier in my career as RGA, most of my efforts for clients were focused on direct sales and securing local sales agents in national or regional territories. Over time, many clients wanted to employ the sales person directly, but needed that individual to be knowledgeable about local/regional/international business practices, acquainted with valuable local contacts, and savvy about why certain efforts in particular nations would result in successful sales and gaining market share. More recently, in the last 5-10 years, I have enjoyed providing even greater value at the strategic planning and business operations levels.
I’m actually uncomfortable with the connotations of the word “consultant.” Most of my clients over the past 20 years have been individuals with whom I have shared common perspectives, and we have enjoyed challenging each other on how best to achieve business goals through rigorous debates that sometimes result in unique solutions. In these cases, I am truly part of the team, offering a perspective from outside the bubble of the company’s senior decision makers. Not ironically, some of RGA’s most valuable contributions have emerged when I disagreed with those senior executives and we instead came up with hybrid solutions.
RGA’s intent is to contract with a relatively small number of clients to enable a high level of direct and personal input. When deeply involved with the nuts and bolts of my clients’ business, I can see connections that often make the difference for providing the greatest gains.
Whatever the engagement is called, it must be an honest relationship. RGA is not going to tell the client what they want to hear, if we don’t believe it’s the best for thatcompanies defined goals. I will always work to back up ideas and concepts with research and evidence, but sometimes it’s my 30 years of experience that provide the insight. Obviously, the client makes the final call. Trust and directness of communication, often in a confidential setting, are incredibly important for providing the greatest benefits to our engagement.
I also only enter a contract if I am highly confident about being successful. I am willing to take on efforts that require steeper learning curves when the prospective client has a bona fide interest in making that effort, knowing that our shared outcome is a challenge with certain unknowns.
Sometimes my endeavors include quietly investigating people or companies to discover the “way things really go down” in their particular countries or regions. Often, a few weeks or months of such investigation may determine that you or your company would NOT want to invest time or money with a particular person or operate in a particular place, giving you the opportunity to redirect your resources to more efficient long-term considerations for a better ROI.
Finally, RGA strives to be a major contributor to the development of expanding outside of the client’s “home market” in line with the client’s work ethic, culture, and values. I will work to set a personal example to establish the style and approach which characterizes my client’s dealings with the marketplace.