Anthony Solimini has bought the Hong Kong sales management franchise from the Sandler Sales Institute in the US and plans to target MNCs and large corporates. Solimini was awarded the franchise at the end of last year and has been hiring local staff to offer the training programs in Cantonese.

In his past life, Solimini was a long-term cash management banker having worked with Standard Chartered, HSBC and then ABN AMRO between 1994 and last year. His last role was head of sales for corporate cash management for Greater China at ABN AMRO, a job he resigned from in August.

At that time, FinanceAsia reported that Solimini was setting up a cash and treasury consultancy, working with companies on a contract basis to assess their cash management needs and train their staff. He expected most work would come from companies going through the RFP process to select a new cash management bank or reaffirm their relationship with an old one.

But Solimini says he changed his mind on the consultancy idea when he returned to the US in between jobs. "The more I looked back on my career, the more I realized that there were actually very few good sales people in Asia," he says, explaining his decision to pursue the Sandler franchise in Hong Kong.

"If you ask most sales people how they sell, how they close, or why they are successful or unsuccessful, most won't know. Most salespeople and sales managers think that increasing the number of calls they make is an enlightened decision and very aggressive. But it is a strategy that doesn't necessarily work. We teach a system to save time, increase effectiveness, and gain respect of your clients."

Solimini says the Sandler Institute's philosophy is built around a reinforcement-based program that teaches salespeople to take control of the selling process, with emphasis on pre-qualifying prospects before making presentations.

The institute is based in Maryland but has franchises in 160 locations in the United Sates, Canada and Europe. Hong Kong is the first Asian location.