Driving Deals

Sound advice from John Sikanadze, national sales and marketing executive for Dawn Wing Global Express.

Vital Stats

  • Name: John Sikanadze, 50
  • Designation: National Sales & Marketing Executive, Dawn Wing Global Express
  • Sales Team: 45 sales staff in 14 depots
  • Offering: Dawn Wing offers regional, national and global express courier services
  • Career: John’s sales and marketing management experience spans a period of 27 years, the majority of which was spent in the ICT industry. He holds an IMM Sales & Marketing Diploma.

The most important thing you’ve learned in sales?

Our bodies will only follow what our minds direct. In any situation– whether it’s making a sales call or improving performance – your attitude and mind-set will determine the outcome more than any other factor.

What’s your key to closing the deal?

That often depends on the nature, size and value of the deal, but generally speaking, I would say: (1) Link closure to resolving objections; (2) Compare cost over time; and (3) Trigger identified emotions.

The most useful thing you know about negotiation?

In business you don’t get what you ask for – you get what you negotiate. Everybody wants to know, “What’s in it for me?” So for you to get what you want, be prepared to answer that question.

What is the most effective strategy you’ve used to motivate your sales team?

Developing and identifying inspirational sales leaders who in turn are able to create a sense of purpose, pride, and commitment, which translates into improved performance across every part of the sales team.

How do you measure your own success?

Using three major criteria: meeting revenue goals, creating an environment where the entire sales team can succeed, and helping the entire company to realise its potential.

What were some of your ‘rookie’ mistakes in your early days in sales?

Hitting the road without a sales plan. Without it, you are missing the opportunity to succeed. I learnt that without the two major components of a sales plan – the sales strategy and sales tactic – you are bound to chase your tail forever because you do not understand how and how much you can sell.

What was the best and worst advice you’ve received in a sales management context?

The best advice was, “Never send an email or letter that you wouldn’t mind seeing printed on the front page of your hometown newspaper.” The worst was, “If we make a brochure, we will increase sales.”

Who is your greatest sales mentor and what lessons did they teach you?

Robert Sussman, joint CEO of Integr8 Group, taught me that taking a personal stake in advancing the lives of your sales force has a direct effect on the bottom line.

What are the key challenges currently facing Dawn Wing and how do you plan to overcome them?

The biggest sales challenge is finding industryseasoned, high calibre strategic sales persons and, more generally, sourcing well-trained IT and Logistics professionals.

For the recruitment of experienced strategic sales persons, we have no choice but to source from the industry, but for IT and logistics professionals, we have embarked on a learnership programme where we train graduates on the job.