Managing for Creativity in Japan Talking with Foreign Executives in Japan

Advice for New Managers

“You have to be enormously thick skinned. When a client says “no I’m not interested in that” three months later you have to be able to ask them what they are interested in. Then you need to be able to get enough information from them so that you can write a proposal. If you are entrepreneurial you have to be able to not take no for an answer and think about how you can make it a yes. I have been told ‘no’ so many times but I have turned them into a ‘yes’ a lot of times.
Perseverance is important. Client relationships take a long time to establish. If they don’t happen in five minutes (and they won’t) you have to believe that they might happen in a year’s time. You need to be able to keep up the cheery demeanor the whole time because it might turn into something.
Never burn bridges and never piss of a client. Once trust is broken it’s pretty much permanent. You can’t go back – this is true for all clients but particularly for Japanese. In Japan people tend to stay in their jobs for 30 years but overseas that marketing role is going to be filled by someone different in two year’s time, you know it is.
Also, don’t discount your rate too much. If you discount they might wonder what your problem is and start thinking that you might not be very good. Always have a good attitude about your pricing and stick with it. It’s not a barter society and I don’t think people are overly impressed if you come back with something cheaper because that is an indicator of being substandard.”