As the first international sales since C-Data was founded, she overcame many difficulties and led the company to the international market. Over the past 12 years, she has played an inestimable role in the development of the company’s international market.
When I haven’t seen her yet, I thought she was a serious professional, but after chatting with her for one hour, I found that this is an enthusiastic little girl.
What is the secret of becoming a gold medal seller? After reading this interview, you will find that Anna’s success is by no means fortuitous.
1、 About hobbies
“Self discipline is freedom”. The exercise gives us the courage and freedom to challenge the unknown.
Jane: You have a good figure. Do you usually exercise to keep fit?
Anna:I am quite self disciplined. I insist on exercise and fitness on weekdays, so I keep a good figure. I have been engaged in international trade industry since graduation. Usually, whether I am abroad or at home, I only sleep about 6 hours a day. The rest of the time is work, study and fitness. I had children a few years ago, so there was another important thing in my life, looking after children. I really feel a lot of pressure every day with such a pace of life as work, looking after children, study and fitness. Most people will feel overwhelmed under this state, but I’ve been doing physical exercise deliberately before, so it’s OK for me.
Jane: How do you exercise? Do you usually go to the gym? Or do you like playing ball?
Anna: I have a wide range of sports hobbies. I think it is related to my growth environment. I come from Hainan. Hainan is located in the tropical region. People in the tropical region are usually more enthusiastic. I can play table tennis, rock climbing, badminton and all kinds of sports. Now I play more tennis, yoga and hiking.
As long as I can make an appointment with friends, I will plan at least one or two hours a week to play tennis.
Jane: Self discipline is easier said than done. I think sometimes I just want to relax after a day’s work. Will you encounter this situation?
Anna: May be phased.
When I first joined C-Data, I was full of enthusiasm and devoted to my work. I spent most of my time thinking about how to achieve my goals. Basically, I didn’t have much energy to participate in amateur activities. However, although there is little exercise, my spirit is very vigorous.
I think it’s a lucky thing for me to join C-Data. I want to thank all my colleagues and leaders who have worked with me for so many years. Without their encouragement, companionship and guidance, I would not stick to today. Some of my leaders and colleagues are not only charming in personality, but also powerful in professional fields. At the same time, they are also very harmonious in team cooperation.
Working with such excellent colleagues, regardless of sports or not, I have gained a lot of happiness and positive energy.
2、 As sales for more than ten years
“For 12 years with C-Data, C-Data has grown from a small team of several people to a large company of 600+ people, and Anna has also become the cool girl in her ideal.”
Jane: Did you come to C-Data in 2009 or 2010?
Anna: Yes. My job number is 006, and my entry date is very special, June 1, so I’m quite impressed.
Jane: I heard that you were cheated into the company by Mr. Tang. What about this?
Anna: In fact, I joined C-Data by chance.
I came to Shenzhen from Guangzhou to apply for the manager of the International Department of another company. Why did I come to Shenzhen from Guangzhou? After graduated, like everyone else, I was confused about my future. In addition, I am also very conceited. I graduated from a famous university and passed TEM-8. I don’t want to be mediocre. I want to explore and try more. The atmosphere in Shenzhen is young and inclusive, and my sister is here, so I came to Shenzhen.
During the job interview, I happened to meet Mr. Tang and Alan who were also doing business exchanges in that company. I overheard them talking about OLT front-end devices, which attracted me. Because I just sold this equipment before, I know a little about this equipment.
In the previous company, everyone called me Miss PON. Miss PON is the little girl who sells PON. Because in that company, no one was interested in PON. I was the only one with a dictionary every day to study what FTTH and PON were. Finally, I helped the company get several projects. Before 2012, many customers didn’t even have a basic concept of FTTH, but after working in that company for almost a year, I came into contact with its whole workflow.
So when I saw the equipment, I had a brief talk with Alan and Mr.Tang. It was also an opportunity for me. I was appreciated by Alan and he invited me to C-Data for an interview. Unexpectedly, I talked with Alan for two or three hours that afternoon. After the talking, I thought I hoped to work with such a boss, which is a good opportunity for me.
Although I know that I will face many difficulties, I think I can challenge. At that time, I was only twenty-four or five years old. I was still very young and unwilling to find a stable job for the rest of my life. Since I came to Shenzhen, I have to try my best.
Jane: So when you graduate, you also have a period of confusion like many graduates, right? How did you get through that period?
Anna: I think I’ve always been very lucky. Whether it is my family, or my classmates and friends, they are with great enthusiasm and positive energy for life.
But the reason why I am confused is also because of them, because they are too excellent and make rapid progress in their different fields. As a novice in the international trade industry, I seem a little unknown, not as bright as working in state-owned enterprises and banks.
The international trade industry is an industry that no one cares about your past experience. No matter which university you graduated from, no matter how excellent you were before, you have to start from scratch. All your results come from whether you have achieved performance and whether you have been approvaled by customers. People always say “no pains no gains”, but in the field of sales, you may have made a lot of efforts, but you can’t see the harvest. Moreover, the harvest may be accidental. However, it may be fast or long.
I think the growth of FTTH is very slow. I graduated in 2008 and entered the industry in 2009. By 2014, FTTH was still in the process of popularization. At that time, as a salesman, I must have strong toughness and insight to withstand such market pressure.
Jane:in the face of confusion, you first made an exploration, learned your interests, and then adhered to this field so far, right?
Anna:My career confusion period should be in 2009. I think the two mentors in my life helped me a lot at that time.
In 2008, I worked in Guangzhou. My supervisor was very excellent. He was a top sales. His sales philosophy and style of dealing with people had a great impact on me, but I left for some special reasons.
After leaving, it coincided with the financial crisis, and it was particularly difficult to find jobs. Large companies have many requirements, and you may not want to join small companies, so you have been constantly screening and making choices. After almost half a year, I wanted to give up. I thought I might not be suitable here at all. I was wondering whether to go home and be a teacher. But fate is always playing tricks on people. Just when I was about to give up, the turn came. I casually put in a resume and got an interview.
After entering this company, I was also very lucky. There was a older sister in the company. She had worked in this industry for a few years. She had special personality charm and had her own insight into the international market. I studied with her for half a year.
So generally speaking, there were two excellent soul mentors leading me forward. They gave me professional knowledge in sales and positive spiritual guidance, which played a great role in my later development.
Since I entered C-Data, I have also experienced many things, which has laid a solid foundation for the expansion of the whole international market.
Jane:Back to the point, you joined C-Data in 2009. As a veteran of the company, at the beginning of the establishment of the company, you need to expand customers from scratch. Would you find it difficult at that time?
Anna:It’s not just difficult, it can be said that we have experienced all the things we can experience. But maybe that’s why we can grow together. The more difficulties you experience, the braver you will be.
Jane:What do you think was the most difficult thing at that time? Or is there anything impressive?
Anna:I don’t think what’s difficult is the problem at work, but the embarrassing scene. At that time, the environment of our office was relatively simple. Sometimes, when we meet some customers, their company’s level may be higher than ours. I feel very embarrassed, but I have to face it.
After experiencing these difficulties, in the process of increasing the number of orders, you will feel that you have made a little progress today than yesterday.
Jane:When C-Data was just founded, it was neither famous nor large-scale. In a start-up company, how did you get the trust of the first batch of customers?
Anna:In China, there were few companies that made this product at that time. We did it relatively early, so we were quite famous among our domestic peers.
But in the international market, it was really not famous at all, so it was really difficult for you to make a customer trust you at that time. A few years ago, we mainly relied on salesmen to expand, maintain and persuade customers. Unlike now, there are multimedia platforms that can promote you. But I like this challenge very much, because I think it is a process of gaining trust by relying on the salesperson’s driving ability and coordination ability.
Jane:Our customers in this industry are limited. After obtaining the recognition of some customers, how do you make them your repeat customers? Do you need to take the initiative to maintain these relationships?
Anna:I think it’s not difficult to maintain a relationship. I have worked with my customers for so long. I really treat them as friends. I’m not treating them as clients anymore.
As a salesman, you should not only have perseverance, but also humanization.
In the early stage, you need perseverance in expanding customers. But when you are maintaining customers, you need to be a little humanized to deal with it, combining hardness with softness. No strategy can be applied to every customer. You should make different analysis for different customers. At this point, I think Alan’s market insight is very keen. He will give us a direction
Jane:I heard that you used to go abroad on business by yourself. Will you encounter some difficulties when you go to a distant country?
Anna:In fact, there were few business trips in the early stage, and the occasional business trip was basically in the exhibition. Later, I went on more business trips with my leaders and colleagues. Up to now, I think I should grow up, so I can go on business travel alone when necessary.
When I go on a business trip, I feel that sometimes I need to play a male role. Because our customers are basically mature middle-aged men, including technicians, and there are more men.
So when a girl goes out on a business trip alone, she has to do some
preparation, both physically and mentally.
Jane:If you are on a business trip alone, you should not only book air tickets, but also arrange the itinerary. After you go there, you have to deal with everything by yourself. As a girl, will you feel insecure?
Anna:Usually not. When I am on a business trip, I will certainly make my schedule on the premise of ensuring my safety. I will not be particularly capricious, but sometimes I will be forced to face such a situation.
On a business trip to a country, there were only tickets that landed in the middle of the night. After landing, it was still a small town. I was dragging my suitcase alone and wanted to find a customer to pick me up. But it was very embarrassing. The customer didn’t know us very well and was embarrassed to cause trouble to others, so I finally took a taxi myself. At that time, the journey of more than ten kilometers was quite frightening, but sometimes you have to face such things. At this time, you should have a sense of self-protection.
Jane:If you encounter a problem, you must find a way to solve it no matter how difficult it is.
Anna:As an international salesperson, you have to face a lot of things. If you even find it difficult to travel and you just want to harvest orders in front of the computer, I guess it’s difficult to make a great achievement. I like to challenge a multi-faceted job rather than a single job. Because I entered this industry because I think I can face different lives, different roles and different things.
Jane:At the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 appeared, but you were abroad, and you were alone in the exhibition and customer visit. What was the situation then?
Anna:The business trip was planned long ago. Domestic colleagues were unable to travel because of the epidemic. At that time, I was abroad for the Spring Festival. I took the initiative to go alone. At that time, I didn’t know much about the epidemic situation. I was very worried, but I didn’t want to cancel the planned exhibition and other trips. Because COVID-19 was first discovered in Wuhan, customers who have made an appointment to meet will also be worried and ask you repeatedly: where are you from? Have you been isolated for more than 14 days? Some customers will cancel the trip directly. It was also very sad at that time, but I think this is a kind of growth. You should face it bravely.
On the other hand, I was also very happy, because there were very few people who could travel at that time, but I was still on the front line and helped the company win a lot of resources.
In March, even if I wanted to return home, I couldn’t come back. My flight was cancelled all the time. Finally, I didn’t return home until August. Fortunately, although I was stranded abroad, my work did not seem to be affected. Because of the time difference, I basically work from morning to night, so I had a very busy and fulfilling life last year. If I were asked to rate myself for the past year, I think I passed. I managed my time very well.
The epidemic is a difficulty, but we should also face it actively.
Jane:Here comes another question I want to ask: after working for several years, many people begin to feel powerless about many practical problems, so they slack off. For example, the topics of “involution” and “muddle along” which were very hot discussed some time ago. How do you maintain your enthusiasm for work? What keeps you moving forward?
Anna:In fact, after working for a few years, everyone will be a little slack in life and work.
I think everyone will have moments of success and failure, especially failure and loss. At work, I also experienced a depressed period, but I allowed myself to have this emotion. At this time, you may need some external forces to guide you, but you still rely on yourself more often.
As a sales, this situation often happens. You can’t always cheer at the top of the victory, but often linger at the bottom.
Jane:So even if you look very bright now, the whole process and path of development are full of twists and turns. There will be both highlights and troughs.
Anna:This is one of the advantages of salesman. You don’t have a chance to “involution”, let alone “muddle along”. The whole industry and your partners will constantly push you to face the surrounding environment.
Maybe you’re thinking about something and a lot of crises are coming. For example, a new competitor suddenly appears, or a customer suddenly says he needs you to help him solve the problem. Therefore, I think the phenomenon of “involution” and “muddle along” mentioned by the media is actually very normal and common. But as for whether to choose to roll in or lie flat, I personally think it depends entirely on your own attitude. You can’t go with the flow. You should have your own judgment and positioning and know what you want.
Even if you don’t have a long-term goal, you should have a short-term goal. How long do you allow yourself to fail? Set yourself a deadline. Because people can’t always be in an excited state, you should not only allow yourself to have highlights, but also allow yourself to be lost. Others can criticize you, but you must not deny yourself.
3、 About industries and companies
“They are my strongest backing.”
Jane:I think your attitude is very tolerant . Is this tolerant attitude related to your contact with all kinds of people, or?
Anna:About tolerance, I think my mentor is Alan. In the early stage of expanding this market, I was a particularly radical salesman. Many times, Alan always guided me to be more tolerant.
What impressed me was what he said to me: Anna, you must accept that others will make mistakes.
Up to now, I often say this sentence to myself. I allow myself to make mistakes, and I also allow others to make mistakes. But I will know how many mistakes are allowed and where the bottom line is.
Now when I encounter some more problems, I can deal with them with a more peaceful attitude. I won’t say that I am as unruly as I was then. How to face and solve the problem next? This is what I will think now. I think the communication industry is also an inclusive industry. Over the years, you will see different new people come in, but many familiar faces are still there.
Jane:Not to mention the industry, I feel that colleagues in all departments of our company also have their own characteristics. For example, colleagues in the technical support department will be relatively calm, and colleagues in the sales department will be very enthusiastic.
Anna:I think it has something to do with our corporate culture. When facing problems, we like to deal with them in a humorous way. We get along very well. We will not blame each other and shirk responsibility when we encounter problems, but will give each other some support and strength to face them together.
Speaking of this, I am also very grateful for the colleagues of technical support and R & D. Over the years, we’ve been like family. No matter what the problem is, as long as I throw out the problem, everyone will solve it with me. They are my strongest backing.
Jane:What do you think of the current market of communication industry and the future development of our company?
Anna:I think the communication industry has always been a sunshine industry. People can’t live without communication. There will be more and more demand for communication, so it will continue to change.
For example, with the rise of 5g mobile communication technology, its peripheral products and supporting service facilities will certainly rise to promote the development of the whole industry. So I’m optimistic about the development of the communication industry. I’m glad I chose this industry.
For our company, at present, there are still great prospects for the development of our company. According to the feedback from customers and the market, there are still many demands for new products and new technologies. Some new products and technologies will be developed in the next 2-3 or 5 years.
Having been with the company for so many years, I believe we can develop better and better. But at the same time, I hope we can build our own brand. When I stand in front of customers one day in the future, customers can recognize our brand of C-Data . I hope my little wish can be realized as soon as possible.
4、 Anna in life
“Just be yourself.”
Jane:It is said that you already have children. In recent years, “tiger mother” and “push kids to be the best” are very popular in China. For children’s education, everyone doesn’t want their children to lag behind others when they are young. You have been to so many countries and met so many different people. Do you have any different views on children’s education?
Anna:In education, I’m a little chilled. I pay more attention to children’s communication skills, social skills, emotional ability, and the expansion of interests and hobbies.
As for study, it doesn’t matter even if their grades are not best. What I care about most is attitude. When you study, you study hard. If you want to play, you play wholeheartedly. This may have something to do with the foreign atmosphere. I hope he can grow up slowly and become independent, rather than parents convey the pressure to him.
Especially in the area of interests, I respect the children’s ideas.
Jane:I think you and Ms. Dong Mingzhu have something in common. You are very brave and courageous, so I think your success is inevitable. What do you think of yourself?
Anna:Compared with Dong Mingzhu, I am still a junior.
I think one of the similarities between me and her may be that I look very strong. Many of my clients, their first impression of me is that I look like a strong woman. But after more contact with me, they will feel that the little girl is very kind.
When I work, I will be very persistent, but in life, I still attach great importance to feelings. Maybe this is the multifaceted nature of people.
Jane:As an excellent working lady, do you have any experience or suggestions for females or everyone?
Anna:I am very afraid of ease. I especially like challenges. As a girl, I am also learning these points.
The first point is economic independence. It does not mean how strong you should be, but that your income should at least be able to maintain your life.
The second is ideological independence. As you just said, I’ve always been strong and brave, but in fact, I’m afraid I can’t do many things when I get old. So I will treat every day as the last day of my life, as said in the book. Since you don’t know what will happen tomorrow, live today first.
The third point is that people must continue to learn and enrich themselves. In fact, I am lazy, but I will listen to audio books. I will make friends and travel. In these processes, I will also think about some things.
Finally, I think as women, we should maintain our love for life. Constantly cultivate your interests, explore some new knowledge, maintain your curiosity about the world, and then keep pace with the times and don’t go with the flow.
Now my goal in life is to try what I haven’t tried as much as I can. Even if I get old one day, I won’t have regrets. I also hope the epidemic will end soon so that I can go out and enrich myself. Sometimes people may ask me: what makes you so passionate that you can persist in an industry for so long. I think the key is that you must go out. You can’t be a frog at the bottom of a well.
As international sales, we can easily fall into a misunderstanding: it is dangerous to face a computer and a mobile phone all day without looking at the surrounding environment. I will observe the surrounding market and environment to see what others are doing. I also want to know whether I can achieve this goal set by the company and what I can do beyond this goal. This is my favorite way, but I don’t mean that everyone should be like me, but everyone should explore and find their own way.
“It’s never too old to learn”，it is really important.