Working in Japan

What it’s like to work in sales in Japan (Interview)

In the last article, we have introduced what it’s like to work in marketing in Japan. This time you will find out what it’s like to work in sales in Japan. The content will be significantly good reference for you to grasp how a day of the life looks like when you work as sales in Japan because we did interview and show the real daily schedule and difficulties to be a sales based on true statement.

Case introduction

TAKAOMI KAKUNO – working in sales for one of he biggest chemical manufacturer in Shinagawa, Tokyo.

Kakuno entered the company in 2012 which manufactures DIY goods. He is responsible for consumer goods in Kanto region. His accounts were basically DIY store / Hardware store / Home center. After 6 years of experience he was promoted to Key Account Manager in 2018.

In the 3rd year (2015), he was having a meeting with procurement person of one of his biggest client (home center) and trying to convince the needs of dust mask. The procurement person was skeptical but after Kakuno showed his presentation and demonstration, the home center decided to purchase the dust mask.

Kakuno’s sales style is to show the all functions of his products by using them in front of buyers. His product-range is obviously not small, over 100 such as masking tape, adhesives, abrasives and kitchen utensils. Understanding the characteristic of each product is not easy. But through doing this he wins the trust of clients and convince them to purchase from him.

The best way is to tell what you feel after you really used it.

A day of Kakuno

07:00 Getting up
10:00 Meeting (negotiation) with customers
11:30 Lunch with customers
13:30 Arrive HQ
Meetings about sales promotion with related departments
Return to the sales office and create POPs
20:00 Going home
21:00 Arrive home

What he keeps in mind for work

    1. To communicate the feeling of using the product yourself
      ➡ Prepare dozens of demonstration examples for each category and show buyers the features of the product to be convinced
    2. Not forgetting AFTERCARE
      ➡ Pay attention to the expression and design of POP and devise so that customers continue to buy products
    3. To keep good cooperation with related departments within the company
      ➡ Collect information on hot selling and customer management trends and objectively understand each customer’s interests

His biggest mistake and what it’s like to work in sales in Japan

Kakuno also did a big mistake when he was young. Since he did not know the necessary information such as the customer’s delivery system, he could not deliver in time for the promised sales promotion campaign, causing a large-scale out-of-stock problem. He was accused severely, but at the end customer has forgiven him and said “we have only you.”. Through this experience, he realized the importance of listening to customer interest.

To be sales in Japan is probably harder than in other countries, because it is so that customers, clients whatever who purchases things are regarded and treated as god in Japan. Services should always be perfect, too. So people who get services find it fantastic. On the other hand, people who provide services are put under such a big pressure. We hope his experience and life style will help you to decide if you want to work in sales in Japan.

Yuki Nagahori
BA in German / Japan Country Manager at editorial company → Sales → currently sales planner based in Hamburg, Germany