Meet Jerome Adzah: The Wolf of Sale-Street! –Interviewed by Madonna Oppong Tawiah

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Jerome Adzah

They say that logic is constant, while passion is not; but for this wolf, he accepted the challenge into the woods and came back leading the whole pack by virtue of his passion in sales & marketing – turning himself into what he has become today – The Salesman!

Meet Jerome Adzah – The Salesman. He supports B2B brands to increase demand and achieve scale with Sales and Marketing programs that produce results. Jerome is a SMarketing (Sales & Marketing) professional and demand generation expert with 9 years’ experience of providing services to financial institutions, FMCGs, Recruitment Agencies, IT, Business consultancies, etc.

Jerome is the Co-Founder of Deed Consulting Limited and the Marketing Manager for FC Beauty Group Limited. He’s served as a member of Curriculum Review Panel for National Board for Professional and Technician Examinations (NABPTEX, Ghana) 2019 and has moderated interesting subjects & speak up sessions on: (i) Writing a Winning CV (ii) Who Owns the Customer? (iii) Disruptive Marketing.

Let’s have a pep talk with Jerome and further delve into some questions that you are likely to have him answer!

What are/is your philosophy in life?

Do unto others what you wish others to do unto you, and this I apply even in business settings. Before you become successful, you have to push or help others in life. So even in business, we must note that we are not in competition with each other, so we have to watch out for each other, and as the adage goes in Twi, ‘wo amma wonua antwa ank) a, won twa nduru,’ and this is what guides me – the golden rule – Luke 6:36.

What do you believe in?

The beauty of life lessons, and of God’s creation

‘People judge the quality of your product by its packaging and the way you and your premises look.’

What are some transformations you look forward to seeing in the marketing world and in Ghana in particular? Any changes you would like to see happen?

Marketing is about communication, and marketing has evolved over time, and as opposed to copying and pasting marketing processes which most tend to do, I would like to see today’s marketer being able to predict the changing needs of the consumer in order to meet their ever-changing needs. This is because there are consistent changes in the consumer and the market – every minute, every hour, every day.

‘Create bundled and unbundled products to sell to different sets of customers.’

Are you in the business of training or mentoring?

Yes, I mentor people. I am a mentor with The Global Hack – the biggest online hackathon.

What would you say was your biggest challenge when starting off as a marketer, and how did you overcome it?

Coming into contact with different groups of people. As novice, you would be given a target and a product to sell which will land you before all caliber of individuals, widely varied attitudes emanating from them. What I missed and lacked then, was knowing my customer before selling to them.

It was later that I came to the realisation that knowing your customer is more important than knowing your company, or rather, the product or service you are selling; and if you don’t know your target, you are guaranteed for failure.

Knowing the customer was a challenge. I mean, how was I to know the customer in-toto, when there wasn’t access to data – like the way we do have now.

So, when did you have that epiphany – of the need to know your audience?

The lessons came with practice; with frequent engagement with the customer. Daily challenges were encountered, which offered opportunities within; and that is what helps build you up. Aside the field experience gained on a day-to-day basis, I would say that listening to experts and attending seminars helped a lot in coming to my marketing senses.

 What are some challenges you still face as a marketer/salesman?

Well I have transitioned over the years; starting off as a salesperson into a marketer and the challenges lie in the differing roles. First, is how most companies perceive marketing. Companies see marketing as an alternative – an afterthought, something they can almost do without. Yet it is for a fact that companies rise on the shoulders of marketers.

Less attention and support are given to marketers yet it is this marketing that keeps the consumers or stakeholders aware, informed and educated on companies. Marketers are left in a corner where they have to struggle. As one myself, I come across these hurdles frequently, whereby some companies allocate small budgets to campaigns yet expect more returns. Another challenge is misinterpreting that sales and marketing are the same; they are totally different units which have to work together. They are aligned but very different.

 So, which one are you?

I am a smarketing expert i.e. sales and marketing expert. I started off as a salesperson, ended up in marketing, and wielding both now.

‘The only way to tell whether your ideas are working is to measure them.’

What would you say has been your biggest achievement in your field of work?

I have worked for some companies and helped them develop and made sales and gained clients. Reviewed the Technical University curriculum. A full member of the CIMG, and also, that by far, clients are satisfied with the work I do for them.

 ‘You’re going nowhere if you haven’t got any competitive advantages.’

 What would you tell an upcoming youth who would want to enter into sales and marketing?

Have passion and stay well informed. Stay well informed because every minute, something changes. Technology is changing the face of marketing. You level of imagination should be crazy. Stay on top of your game. Research, but look at others’ work, engage people since it is not all about the books. Again, have passion – so passionate that you would want to do it even when you are not paid for it, because then, you would be ready to go all out and it wouldn’t feel like a job; then everything will come off as a bonus to you.

People buy based on emotions, and they – advertisers know better to touch on emotions, knowing that is the only thing that does not undergo much change. Attitudes can change towards things but emotions stay the same. So, learn from the great marketers of today and yesterday.

Inferring from [the above] answer, can I conclude that you are pursuing sales and marketing because you are passionate?

I developed passion for marketing when at a very young age I started selling “Red-Red” (gari and beans with fried plantain), and felt so fulfilled knowing that I abated people’s hunger.

So, on ‘how to turn your hate into passion 101’ – tell us about yours.

When you have passion, there are hurdles you will gladly want to leap over. Even when you don’t have the passion, you can nurture it by engaging in the trade. That’s one way I grew the passion.

Surround yourself with motivation and motivators; those who will give you the nudge and push you with validation. Have a target – someone to look up to, keep learning so you don’t remain stagnant. Marketing and sales are about the external customer who is exposed to your competitors’ products, thus the need for you to read, learn and remain relevant to the industry.

 Who is your Alma Matter?

St. Thomas Aquinas

 Tell us about your life during that stage in high school.

I grew up in a catholic family where we were trained in accordance with the faith, and attending a mission school as St Thomas Aquinas, deepened my faith even more.

I was the SRC secretary and later became the vice president – where I was the mouthpiece of the student body, striving for the collective interests of the student. I said less, yet diligently delivering duties as expected. I won the ‘most sociable student’ during a speech and prize giving day, which I would say was because I seemed to always come to the rescue of bullied students, thereby earning me the chant; ‘no one is above the law except Sir J!’ (Laughs) Yea, Sir J was my nickname.

Generally, I was quiet, diplomatic, and funny when need be.

 ‘Don’t throw money away by promoting products to everybody; focus your efforts on people who are ready to buy.’

 Would you say that has made an impact in any way, into what you are doing now as a marketer cum salesman?

Aquinas shaped me. I allowed it to pass through me as opposed to passing through it. The discipline alone from a catholic school has done a great job imparting moral lessons into me.

I offered general arts, and with economics as an elective course – studying marketing principles, definitely made me develop an interest in marketing.

 ‘In the last century a business used to interact with its customers, nowadays it has to engage with them.’

When you aren’t creating leads and signing deals, what do you do during your free time?

I have meetup sessions with friends and those who have business ideas looking forward to have them materialise. I also look out for what others are doing to draw inspiration from them.

 ‘Shows and exhibitions are great places to promote your business and products to people who are almost ready to buy.’

With your listing on an international body as Pengo, it is noteworthy and we congratulate you on that. How have you managed to climb through the ranks within a very short period of time?

The GOD factor, determination and hard work. Learning, education – a matter of adding value to yourself, coupled with passion.

You have to invest in your education. Make time for yourself. Do professional courses. Be a people person. Selling is no longer just selling; it’s about striking the right networks.

 What would you say has been your number one secret to your success?

I keep challenging myself, since that is the only way you can grow.

 ‘Markets and technologies never stand still, so you must aim to be ahead of the game rather than chase behind a trend.

In times like this – of the Coronavirus pandemic, how do you think marketers can thrive, considering the fact that purchasing of some goods and services are rather on the low?

With some industries, there is nothing one can do to sell; some would need just a little push while others would sell in these times regardless. The question here needs targeted answers though, since the dynamics of each industry is quite different. For instance, the telecom industry cannot be compared to say the travel and tours industry. It is essential then to keep in touch with your clients in these times; educating them, informing them. Marketers must then rethink and re-strategise, diversify, add on another product or service if they may. For example, the business of dispatch riding has boomed now compared to before, and as a marketer, one can diversify into currently booming areas of business. COVID – 19 has unmasked how marketers can easily meet consumers from the comfort of their homes with digital marketing. Even trainings are being offered online, which is good; first because it is cost effective and reduces a lot of risks like human traffic. The times we are in has definitely transitioned marketers from traditional to digital.

‘Every business needs to understand where it wants to be in three to five years and how it will get there.’

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I look forward to being one of the most influential marketing professionals. I should add, that Prof. Hinson is one that I admire when it comes to his field of work.

What are your top five reads that you would recommend for that up and coming or colleague marketer and/or salesperson?

The Art of War by Sun Tzu, Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne and books by Dan Lok, a few being Unlock It, Influence, and Sold.

Any last words?

Marketing first; It’s been said that ‘adepa na eton ne ho’ (good things sell by themselves) but that is no longer the case. It is up to marketers to make known to consumers the amazing products that stand still on the shelves.

Thanks for your time Jerome The Salesman, and we wish you the very best in all your endeavours.

If you want an expert’s advisory on everything sales and marketing – traditional or digital, talk to Jerome today at jerome@deedconsultingltd.com