Benjamin Von Seeger, an Axiom Business Book Award winner author and telecommunications industry veteran, defies the conventional logic of global business how-to guides with this fresh, enlightening, and provocative perspective on todays global business landscape.
He delivers hard-hitting and penetrating insights gleaned from a lifetime of overcoming obstacles to earn entrepreneurial successbeating and wooing corporate giants along the way.
Von Seeger draws on his personal experiences educating business veterans, entrepreneurs and students alike as he delves down deep into the essential elements of global business success so that you, too, can apply proven principles to your professional life.
Youll learn how to develop and leverage innate global business qualities and tactics that could mean the difference between commercial success and failure, including emotional and relational intelligence, relationship building, brand development, business strategy, and more.
Whether youre launching a business or seeking to breathe new life into an existing venture, youll get all the bricks you need to lay a solid foundation for success with the business strategies in The Rival.
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About the Author
Mr. Benjamin Von Seeger is a senior sales executive known for delivering and sustaining revenue and profit gain within a competitive global telecommunications market. He built world-class sales teams and implemented proven sales processes to exponentially increase revenue for multiple wholesale telecommunications providers.
Throughout his seventeen-year career, Benjamin Von Seeger has held key sales positions with wholesale telecommunication and colocation service providers such as CENX, FiberNet Telecom Group, Terremark WorldwideNAP of the Americas, MCI, and Mannesmann Telecommunications in Germany.
Prior to joining DELUXEHostopia, Benjamin Von Seeger was director of global markets with CENX, the first carried of Ethernet exchange. FiberNet/Zayo Bandwidth provides comprehensive broadband interconnectivity for the exchange of traffic, for and between multiple IP-centric and TDM-based networks. With FiberNet/Zayo Bandwidth, Benjamin Von Seeger was responsible for the development and management of millions of dollars in revenue from several international carrier accounts, such as Brazil Telecom, T Systems, France Telecom, Telefonica, and Telecom Italia.
With Terremark WorldwideNAP of the Americas, Benjamin Von Seeger served as a vice president, where he secured millions of dollars in contracts from the largest national and international telecommunication carriers, content providers, and other major corporations from Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the United States.Terremark Worldwide, Inc. (AMEX:TMRK) was a leading operator of integrated Tier-1Network Access Points(NAPs) and a best-in-class network services, creating technology marketplaces in strategic global locations. Terremark, a colocation and cloud-hosting provider, was sold to Verizon for $1.4 billion; Verizon paid $19 in cash for each Terremark shareabout a 35 percent premium to the stocks closing price of $14.05 a share.
Benjamin Von Seeger is multilingual, with proficiency in five languages: English, Italian, Romanian, German, and Spanish. He holds a degree in business administration and international relations from Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, in Germany, and has been awarded many professional degrees and certificates. He is currently attending the Advance Management Program for business administration and management at Harvard Business School.
Ben has also served as a visiting colecturer at Keller Graduate School of Management/Devry University, enhancing the critical thinking and learning processes of undergraduate- and graduate-level students. He also served as a distinguished panelist for the graduate-level capstone projects during end-of-term evaluations. Ben continues to support the academic endeavors of students for different universities in the United States and around the world.
Read an Excerpt
Play the Game, Own the Hustle, Power in Competition, Longevity in Collaboration
By Benjamin Von Seeger
iUniverseCopyright © 2015 BVS Consulting Group LLC
All rights reserved.
The Key to Success
My first big break in business happened when I was twenty-one and matriculating out of school and into the workforce. Young, bright, and energetic, I worked as a service associate fetching cars for top businessmen. I'll never forget a man and CEO by the name of Frank Demmer who gave me my first big break. Frank continues to work in the industry today.
I managed a fleet of over five hundred cars for a communications company in Germany. The CEO always asked to have a specific Mercedes lined up for him when he went on business calls. I will never forget that car. It was a black Mercedes S500 with a navigation system. You're laughing because a navigation system is easy to come by these days, but it wasn't so common in 1994. Back then, a navigation system was like having the latest tablet today. I was the man he could count on to always provide him with that car and that utility. My ability to acquire those items on a consistent basis showed my initiative and willingness to follow through on projects assigned to me.
One day, as I handed the keys over to Frank, he started a conversation with me. He said, "Would you like to come work for me?"
His request seemed to come out of left field. Frank ran a technology company, and I was just a kid who was barely done with school. Couldn't he see that? Didn't he know I was just the man who ran the fleet for his company?
My problem was that I immediately proceeded to set up barriers and think of what I couldn't do. I put myself in the driver's seat of the situation and told myself I needed to shut this down, for both our sakes. I outright confessed that I knew nothing about technology. This was very true. At the time, I didn't even know how to use a cell phone. In those days, cell phones were new on the market, and it was a luxury to own one.
Frank is an incredible guy. He taught me a pivotal lesson that day that was later reinforced by months of training and years of working under him. I will never forget his response. He said, "It's not about the cell phone, it's not about technology, and it's not about how much you know or don't know. It's about relationships."
At that moment, he gained my attention. I was hired and thrown into a six-month boot camp for sales representatives with a hundred other people who were just like me. The caveat to being part of the class was the knowledge that it wasn't easy; we would either sink or swim. However, after I saw the first paycheck I earned and the prestige of being part of Frank's company and management team, there wasn't an ounce of failure left in me. I was determined to succeed no matter what. Clearly, not everyone shared my will and determination. When we graduated, there were only about twenty of us left. Among those twenty, I was at the top of the class.
When you are in a room that used to be packed and realize that you are one of the few still standing, it makes you think twice and hard. Many times I thought about the ones who weren't moving on with us. We were all given the same tasks to complete and tools to use. I was astounded at how many weren't able to keep up with the class assignments and ultimate requirements. Why was I still standing? Why had Frank chosen me and not the others employed within the car-service division?
Ultimately, it came down to consistency — with the cars as well as with the class assignments. In both situations, we were all given the same tools, yet I succeeded in providing the most consistent and efficient results. We were all taught the same things in class: how to talk to a customer, how to deliver boilerplate, how to make an offer, and how to close a deal. Learning the material mattered a lot. However, I was always at the top of my business because of how I applied the material and techniques thereafter.
There it was. I had to give Frank the credit because of what he had said to me. His wisdom ended up being so true and profound. It was about discernment. It was about being relatable. These were the elements of establishing relationships. All of the individual parts were coming together for me now. All I really needed was to commit to learning the technicalities of the business. Unlike the moment when Frank asked me to join his business, I now felt confident in my abilities. I was ready to get to work. After that, I worked for Frank for over six years, and my success only grew thereafter.
As proven by the failure rate of that boot camp, not everyone is driven and will succeed in the business world. It's just not possible because it is so competitive, and rightfully so. More importantly, schooling can teach you the book smarts of business and work experience will teach you street smarts, but your ability to assess a room, to speak to everyone as if you are addressing each person individually, is what gives you that competitive edge and confidence to close deals.
I saw this theory prove itself when I moved to the United States. I intended to sell my ideas to a female executive who was very high up in a technology company. I was so bold that I didn't even make an appointment to see her when I arrived in the country. I just walked into her office.
I had a reputation for putting a lot of effort into my overall appearance, and this day was no different. When I arrived, I looked smart and dressed for success. I approached the assistant's workstation with purpose and told her I had a meeting with her boss, Jamie. There wasn't a question about whether I belonged in the office or not. I'd already convinced myself of that. So, it is true that you mold and teach people how to treat you. Without hesitation, the assistant granted me permission to enter Jamie's office.
At that time, Jamie was selling network equipment solutions, and it just so happened that I was selling fiber networks. Today, you can see that there is a natural marriage there, but back then, we were breaking ground and trailblazing this new business opportunity.
I remember walking into Jamie's office and saying, "I have an idea of how we can combine our two companies." I immediately had her attention, but I didn't stop there because I was on a mission. In the next couple of minutes, I began to lay out my intentions. I told her that with my contacts and her technology, we would sell our business products jointly.
To my surprise, I was in her office less than five minutes before she abruptly pulled the plug. "The meeting is over."
"Did I do something wrong?" I said to her.
"No, go speak to my assistant and we'll talk again next time."
I said to myself, Damn, I messed up big time. The meeting was only a few minutes, and now I was out on my behind. Worry and fear filled my heart, and I asked myself if I had really bungled the whole thing. And if so, which part didn't she like? I was frustrated that I couldn't read the situation. Knowing her after all these years, I am convinced that this was her way of testing her candidates' overall business acumen.
Regardless of how I felt, I waited to speak to the assistant. When I approached her workstation, she handed me an appointment card and to my disbelief stated, "You're having dinner with Jamie tonight at 8:00 p.m. at Morton's Steakhouse in Miami."
A few hours later, I was sitting in front of Jamie at the restaurant where she became very candid with me. "I wanted to speak with you about something. I couldn't do it in the office, but I am going to be appointed as the CEO of a new organization and I need someone to run global sales. You are the guy to do it."
It was like déjà vu. Her offer had the same poise as Frank's six or so years before. "You don't even know me," I countered, not knowing what to believe. "You barely know my name, and you haven't seen my résumé or my work expertise."
Her response was just like Frank's. She said, "I don't want to see it. I don't care."
Six months after my initial dinner with Jamie and being engaged with her team, I closed her company's biggest deal for $6.8 million. I made it happen in a short time, and the deal came at a crucial moment, just when we needed to build our credibility in the market to increase our revenue stream. I later asked Jamie, "How did you know I was the one who could make it all happen?"
"You just know. Do you know how many hundreds of people walk into my office without getting my attention? You were in there five minutes and my attention was all yours."
In so many words, she was saying the same things that Frank said about forming relationships and having confidence to pique people's interest. When I walked into a room, I didn't go in with the charged bravado of ego. I went in with confidence and all the scruples of someone who is guided by a large amount of book smarts, street smarts, and most of all, emotional intelligence.
Let me reinforce and repeat that: above all, emotional intelligence is the key to success. It's not about having the most powerful handshake or getting heads to swivel in your direction when you enter the room; that stuff is all gravitas. I have discovered that confidence and self-assurance can go a long way. Clients can smell it, and they eat it up. Closing deals, however, is all about establishing business relationships. We will be examining emotional intelligence and the importance of relationships in greater detail later in the book.CHAPTER 2
Creating a Global Corporate Environment
During my time as a visiting colecturer at DeVry University and its Keller Graduate School of Management, my students would often ask, "Why create a global company?" The answer is twofold: the Internet and the shrinking of the market. A starter company will strategically launch at a global level because selling products online increases customer sales globally and is cheaper than establishing a brick-and-mortar store. Entering the international market is the most efficient way to expand business potential.
So why should you take your established business global? Well, with the power of the Internet, your business is already global whether you realize it or not. The difference is how you choose to capitalize on your international customers' perception. You see, every business has eyes on it thanks to social media, the Internet, the need to increase market share, and the globalization of the entire economy.
Imagine you are a performer on a stage telling a stream of hilarious jokes to the crowd in front of you. As you speak and the audience responds with laughter, you come to realize that there is power in this performance. You know this audience well, and they become like putty in your hands. You know how to play them, and you do it well.
Now, imagine that your sixth sense is picking up something in your peripheral gaze. You turn to see that the curtain that once hung behind you has been lifted, revealing another audience. Some of them are chatting to themselves while others are giving you their rapt attention, demonstrating a strong interest. As a performer, you now have a choice: you have the opportunity to wield this power and duplicate your performance to both audiences, or leave it be and simply hope that the second audience grows to love you as much as the first.
This is a parable of the global economy set on the stage of the Internet. We now engage clients with ease, and sometimes without realizing that we are onstage and performing for customers who don't even speak our language or share our own culture and traditions.
As businesspeople, it is our job to turn around and face that new target audience. What I'm saying is that just because you're not aware of eyes focusing on you doesn't mean you're not being noticed. The beauty of it is that the power is all yours. You have the power to maintain brand integrity while tweaking your message to appeal to countries, cultures, and traditions to which you've never even been exposed. The key is to think outside the box and act as a global executive.
What Global Means and What It Takes
If anyone can do it simply by putting up a website, then going global means being strategic about the markets you enter. If international customers are engaging with your company for the first time by way of social media or your website, going global means creating a website that speaks directly to that audience. Your website will be accessible to eyes overseas. Use it to demonstrate brand agility by not only being live in other countries but also achieving a lasting presence in every major city around the world.
It will take time, strength, and fortitude to do this. However, the benefits far exceed the work involved. When I am asked by graduate students and business executives what it takes, I automatically hammer out this list:
strong investors and business relationships
global managers and teams who understand international and local business and cultures
strategic business partners
presence on the Web and integrated social-media strategies
the assurance that the business can expand globally
I mention that last point because I want you to be aware that this market isn't for everyone. You can't take a pool-table company global the way you can take a phone company global. It's just not possible — unless the market for pool tables is extremely large and you are able to get pool-table stores in every major city. That's not the kind of work I'm talking about when I say to take your business global.
The Power of Language
Building successful business relationships is often easier when you and your prospects are speaking the same language. However, this often requires much more than just saying the same words.
You've decided that you want to make your website appeal to a global market, but once they have eyes on you, how do you ensure that you are conveying the right message and business strategy? What I've found with my business in the past and also today is that your message is a moldable fixture in this venture. The intent to assess this message is included in my planning for the next four months, with every market that I serve. The message from your organization has to be the same and must be culturally sensitive and appropriate from platform to platform.
When you approach these new markets, take a look at your brand in the context of that new country and do your market research. What do the people there spend their money on? What is the perception and culture like around your product? Who is your new audience, and what words would they want to see in your slogan?
When my students ask what they need in order to succeed in a global environment, my list is short and to the point:
ability to overcome language and traditional barriers
Spending adequate time on message is worth the effort it takes. It always comes down to word choices, and you will need to have your message translated to the common language and adjusted to the cultural context of the country.
Just think about all of the intricacies of language. If you've ever taken a language course, you know how difficult it can be to translate words and phrases into other tongues. Think of the minor differences between American English and British English. The same word in each country can mean something vastly different. We also use different words for the same items: Americans say French fries, the British say chips.
When translating from your native language, you will discover that it's not the literal words that change from country to country, it's the connotation of the words. A connotation can cloud the meaning of the word and derail your message and business prospects. Those who know both the language and the culture will be savvy in their ability to translate your message to that specific market. They will convey the context as well as the literal meaning. A great example of this is Spanish, the most spoken language in the world after English.
You must master a language and culture in order to achieve a uniform feel in the market you are prospecting. I love languages and had to learn them out of necessity in order to master different cultures and business markets. I am currently proficient in six languages, but I realize that this is not possible for most busy chief executive officers.
Excerpted from The Rival by Benjamin Von Seeger. Copyright © 2015 BVS Consulting Group LLC. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Key to Success, 1,
Chapter 2 Creating a Global Corporate Environment, 6,
Chapter 3 Developing a Brand, 11,
Chapter 4 Know and Love Your Business, 19,
Chapter 5 A Brief Reflection on Strategy, 28,
Chapter 6 Corporate Culture: On Trust, Team Building, and Integrity, 31,
Chapter 7 Business Is Personal, 47,
Chapter 8 The Importance of Relationships, 51,
Chapter 9 Relational Intelligence, 56,
Chapter 10 Book Smarts vs. Street Smarts, 60,
Chapter 11 Know Your PC, 74,
Chapter 12 The Self-Discipline of Sales Calls, 88,
Chapter 13 Developing an Advisory Board, 100,
Chapter 14 Studying the Competition, 107,
Chapter 15 Parting Wisdom, 113,
About the Author, 115,