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Are You from South of the Border? Doing Business in Queensland

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by Mark Smith

about 2 years ago

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I first started doing business in Queensland in the late 1990s . I was offered a transfer to our Brisbane office to recruit accountants into permanent positions throughout south east Queensland. It was a relatively new office, and I was a relatively new consultant, with just two years' experience. I had already built a successful temp business, recruiting accountants into temporary/contracting positions in Sydney, and I was keen for a new city and discipline. This opportunity seemed to be the perfect challenge for me. Once I was settled in, I embarked on the quite arduous task of winning new clients for Brisbane business. 

This was not new for me, as I had undertaken business development previously on the North Shore of Sydney, and, consequently, I assumed that I could leap into the task using all of the same techniques. 

Boy, was I wrong! Queenslanders – and, more specifically, Brisbanites – are unique. It sounds a little clichéd to suggest that every market is different, but in winning business, as in politics, everything is local. Now, of course, if you are selling a product rather than a service, then you can ignore my assertion entirely. 

Business to business or personal services need to be responsive to the unique demands of the local market. As a recruiter, I realised pretty quickly, that when I met a prospective client for the first time, I needed to establish within the first few minutes whether I was dealing with a native Queenslander or someone who was from 'south of the border'. My colleagues would call me and everyone else from NSW and Victoria 'Mexicans'...because we were originally from south of the Queensland border! 

If I knew I was dealing with a fellow 'Mexican', than I could share my pedigree with them, knowing that we shared a common heritage. If I was dealing with a true blue Queenslander, than I would keep my origins a secret! The message in all of this is simple, particularly in the recruitment industry, that a one size fits all service is unlikely to work. A personalised, tailored and (in my case in the late 1990s) uniquely Queensland service was the best way to win new business. 

Today, our people2people team in Brisbane are the same. They provide a very personalised approach, tailoring their service to our clients in Brisbane and throughout Queensland. As a 'Mexican', they regularly inform me that they don't do things that way there in Queensland!

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