Catalin Dragutoiu is our Head of Sales in Europe, supporting our growth and enabling landlords to optimise their processes through digitalisation. But what does his journey look like until now, what are his strategies when it comes to selling and what does he think about the notorious “sell me this pen” challenge?
It all started when he was very young and used to look up to his grandfather. He was the first entrepreneur of the family, a man who inspired him to always keep trying and to overcome challenges.
“After the communism fell, he did his best to recover our family’s possessions. He then started working, making sure agriculture was a means to provide for his family. He thought me about hard work and about the importance of being wise and putting money aside.”
Catalin’s first job was when he was 16 and worked as a carpenter’s help – in order to raise some money to go to the seaside. He then thought he wanted to become a Mathematics teacher and, afterward, that he’d be more suited for programming.
The journey was filled with milestones that shaped him:
“I remember I wanted to become a Mathematics teacher. One of my professors used to make us not only solve problems but also invent new ones. I created one that could look simple, but if you weren’t paying close attention, the results would be wrong. I liked that wow factor, that makes you say eureka”.
During faculty, he was soon going to discover the concept of spin selling. In an interview for a sales agent job for an IT magazine, they asked him to sell them a spectacle case as a remote holder, he went for another job, as a financial consultant.
“I was surprised to learn that, in fact, what I had to do was to sell loans to people. And the strategy wasn’t efficient at all – we had to take people from the Golden Pages, call them and convince them to buy a loan. I made so little money in the first 3 months!
But in the 4th, something changed. I watched a series about positive thinking and I understood the power and the energy of our thoughts. So I changed my mindset. I went for a more strategical approach – I was discovering the concept of spin selling.”
In short, instead of calling everyone trying to sell a loan, he went through the HR departments in companies, presenting them the advantages of buying loans through him and the company he represented.
After becoming a Sales Director and after the crisis came, he started from 0 in a completely new industry: advertising.
“In 4 years, we got from 20.000 dollars initial investment to 1 million in total turnover. We created a reseller chain, we created a brand, we innovated. I was still using the spin selling concept, which now became more clear: discover the need, present the characteristics of your product, then the advantages and benefits it brings to a client. Then start all over again.”
After a while, he started in another completely different industry: packaging.
“It was all very technical, but I always liked a challenge. I took my time to understand everything and I became the Export Manager in Romania, working with local clients and others from Greece and France. I left after 7 years, with an even better-defined sales process.
When I start in a new industry, I know that learning everything possible about it takes time, but it is the only way to succeed. For each of them, there are specific selling tactics and I am always looking to understand which are the best ones for every market” he adds.
And this is what he’s been doing since he joined Bright Spaces: participating in tech-related conversations, creating potential problems in his mind and looking for solutions, discovering the specific needs in real estate and how our product can address them.
“Of course return on investment is highly important. But there are other arguments that can convince people and it is my job to identify very specific requirements, to see what makes clients tick: maybe it’s about branding, maybe it’s about innovation, maybe about a more personal goal.”
The office stock is growing. This means that we are seeing more office spaces and fewer clients – which means that it will be more challenging to lease or sell the space. The question is: how will landlords attract them in the future?
“Sell me this pen – or, in our case, this office, is about supply and demand, and for us in particular, about the role we can play in the process. People will still need an office to work from and landlords have started to diversify their offers and come up with more flexible, innovative services. Presenting and managing their assets in a modern manner is essentially important.
There are many tasks still done manually, a lot of work done on paper or with spreadsheets, and selling cycles take a long time. We align these processes through digitalisation, in order to help our clients attract the right tenants and lease more, faster”.
Catalin says that probably one of the most important advantages of Bright Spaces is that it makes our clients’ work easier and more relevant.
“It’s important that what you do is relevant. And this means to adapt and embrace change. Using technology-driven tools streamlines your work and generates time and space to focus on those things that matter the most for each and every one of our clients” he concludes.
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