How Heads of IT Companies Were Learning Sale Skills at “Shuvar”

According to the latest statistics of Forbes, 87% of CEOs of the American companies were starting their way in business from sale skills. The participants of a Master Programme MSc in Technology Management of Lviv Business School LvBS have decided to practise such sale skills directly at the market. So, on Saturday morning the visitors of the market “Shuvar” in Sykhiv have had an opportunity to buy products from the owners and managers of IT companies from six cities of Ukraine. What was the result of it?

Who has participated?

As has already mentioned, the participants from Lviv, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Uzhhorod, and Ivano-Frankivsk volunteered for the experiment. Among Lviv companies, representatives from Softserve, Eleks, Lohika, Data Art and Core Value had a chance to sell products. In particular, people from SoftServe, Eleks, start-up BIOsens tried to sell “Svizhe Myaso”.

The company Lohika and Odesa outsourcing company OSSystem chose “Kovbasy”. The representatives of Lviv Radio Electronic Medical Equipment Factory “REMA”, start-up Force and SoftServe were selling fish. Among other shop-assistants, the participants from Innocode and CoreValue were learning to sell frozen fruits and berries, and from AUTO Software, Cypress Semiconductor, ProLEGO – fresh fruits.

SoftServe together with Limelight Networks and Eleks operated grocery. There was fun at the Christmas fair and artificial Christmas Trees sale, where start-up Brainify, KindGeek Software, Artelogic, V.I.Tech and Eleks were working. The specialists from Intelliarts and DataArt tried to sell flowers. And Lviv Business School had a chance to train their skills in selling “Borsch set” and products of the shop “Dido”.

What is the point?

The experiment’s participants could create with the help of paper, sticky tape, markers, laptops and phones to increase number of sales.

The Academic Director of a Master Programme MSc in Technology Management, Anastasiia Markuts told that the behavior of the participants was different: somebody was immediately leaping into action, and somebody was examining the territory.

“We intentionally were not giving any clear recommendations to the participants. We wanted them to experiment and make some mistakes. Before starting to sell, in the business school we sold this idea 23 times to the management staff of “Shuvar” and to each of their managers and shop-assistants. We will definitely do such exercises again, this is not the only time”, she said.

In such a way, new ideas and practices of work at the market had to help entrepreneurs to sell the services and IT solutions in their business better.

Doctor of Science of Cambridge University, Mykhailo Vynnytskyi, who teaches a course “Sales Management” and “Management Decision Making Toolbox” on the program MSc in Technology Management of Lviv Business School LvBS, remarked that to make products or services, but not able to present or sell them, is a general problem in Ukraine, not only in IT area.

“Sale is a thing that is very difficult to be taught in a classroom. I can teach people to manage sales process, but the ability to sell is like riding a bicycle: you should fall off from it several times to understand how to balance. In sales you need to understand how customers look like, how to communicate with them, how to attract their attention. Why Shuvar? Because here for sure there are customers in the morning, and also there is a variety of products. People, working in IT industry, on the whole, go seldom to the market, that’s why it takes them out from their comfort zone. And any new thing is always useful. Somebody from our participants was afraid of that stress. But now, two hours after the beginning of the experiment, I see that people have not already had any fear, they got excited. If to bring two very different groups together, there will be a profit for both of them.”

Also, Mykhailo Vynnytskyi remarked that according to the latest statistics of Forbes, 87% of CEOs of big American companies were starting their career with sales.

“Sales are communication. If you can communicate with your employees, sell an idea, inspire, motivate, you have the most important functions of a leader. Our program was aimed at not programmers, but at people who have to become managers and who need communication skills. Communication skills and sales skills are, in fact, identical things.”

Vox Populi

Yaryna Boichuk, the Academic Director of Lviv Business School was taking part in sale of “Borsch set”.

“The impressions are wonderful! If we always did our routine work with such a fun, with which we sometimes do something unordinary, we would have a better result. And online sales in Facebook give a result: some people I know have already come to buy three sacks of potatoes!”, she said and added that concerning the skill she developed during the experiment, it is activity. Because, if not to do anything, nothing will happen, the same as in life.

Dmytro Bibkov, PMO Agile Expert from SoftServe, also had a good thing going. As he said, they did not choose what would be sold the best, but what is anyway necessary to sell. His team at a sale point with meat gathered a lot of people around it.

“It was not very stressful for me to go out “in the fields”, as the teachers of a Master Program have prepared everything very well, they came in advance and distributed leaflets. Thus, the shop-assistants gave way to us and they even were consulting us how to improve sales”, he told.

The experiment was interesting for an entrepreneur from a psychological point of view, too. Dmytro liked to convince people, who have already had a shopping list, to draw their attention to his services despite their lists.

Yaroslav Kizyma, Director of Lviv Radio Electronic Medical Equipment Factory “REMA”, has had positive impressions, too.

“As at work I mostly communicate with people on the phone, so I liked real life communication. At our sales point we had an idea to prepare recipes from various kinds of fish in advance. So, what do people like most of all? Everybody likes a discount and a present. Therefore, we were offering some discounts and a recipe as a present for those people who came to our shop.”

The editorial staff of also tried to buy fish from the Dnipro. And it was a pleasure to meet a hero of one of our sections “Whose Office Is the Best?”, CTO of Innocode, Valerii Shypunov, who was dealing with frozen berries.

In overall, both the participants and the organizators stayed satisfied. People were moving around and looking back to the cameras, but they were buying actively. The shop-assistants liked the help, though at first they listened to the word “students” with a caution. As Anastasia Markuts has explained, when people at the age of 30 came, the marketers stopped worrying about their goods and left their products in the trust of the “students”. Therefore, the participants MSc in Technology Management have gained an interesting practical experience.

Photo Oleg Tverd

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