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Amazon Go

I remember the time when my ex-colleague gave a talk on BI/DW during the year 2000. He was talking about how retail companies are making use of it etc. He quoted an example: How retail outlets are placing nappies & beer bottles next to each other to see the sales soar on Friday evenings. He talked about how shoppers are saving time & reminded of some items (nappies).

He also spoke about how Amazon was using tech to recommend products to buyers then. “People who bought this item also bought……”.

We have come a long way. Let’s talk about saving time.

Enter “Amazon Go”.

A checkout-free store. What? Yes, there’s no checkout. You can just steal the items from the store. 🙂 Jus’ kidding. You pick up the items and walk through exit where your account will be debited for the products in your cart or bag.

Tech used: computer vision, sensor fusion & deep learning, much like self driving cars.

Amazon calls it “Just walk out technology”.

When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Your amazon account will be debited & you’ll be sent a receipt.

If buyers get accustomed to this tech, they might be booked for shoplifting when they go to other stores that do not use such hightech & they walkout without billing. 🙂

https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=16008589011

#retailtech #innovation #technology

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How to become a consultant?

In my first job, I used to sell two or more competing products in any category [MS Office Vs Lotus Smartsuite, MS Exchange Vs Lotus Domino [notes], MS SQL Vs Oracle WG / Ent, Scala Vs Oracle Apps etc].

In such a scenario, I was more successful, when I probed deeper & then suggested a suitable solution than just quoting for the product the prospect asked for.

When I probed, I became a consultant & was treated differently. And I controlled the deal.

So, what questions should you ask:

  1. What makes you look for such a solution?
  2. Why are you having this need?
  3. What’s the problem?
  4. How are you solving it currently?
  5. Why would you go for product X?
  6. What are the other cheaper alternatives?
  7. Can you not live with the problem?
  8. What’s the cost of not solving the problem?
  9. How long do you think you can avoid solving the problem.
  10. Have you done your research on us?

And talk prospects out of the deal than into it. That way, your conversion rates will be much higher and you will be saving lot of time by qualifying the prospects. Those that qualify will have lots of respect for you and will close for sure.

Those that don’t qualify too will have respect for you and will get in touch with you in future.

Happy Selling!!

#happyselling #b2b #b2bsales #sales

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You know sort of…

“You know sort of”

A colleague was drawing lines in the scribbling pad given by the resort while the sales conference was on. He was drawing four lines and a fifth one slanting and making it a bunch of five lines so that it would be easy to count later on.

He was drawing a line whenever our chief [Managing Director & CEO at that time] said / repeated “you know sort of”.

Those are called fillers.

You can hear these fillers often, in Zoom calls & Virtual conferences these days.

My son’s online classes are such a big nuisance. There’s a girl in his class who makes it a point to say something every minute. And it is so annoying because of her fillers – “eh eh umm eh ah”.

Years ago, I gave a talk [extempore] at College on a Republic Day and I was lost in between for the right choice of words. I used gesture to fill the gap. That turned out to be a pause during a speech. The pauses are so powerful, I read later.

These fillers are,……wait……..”you know sort of” a pain.

My colleague, at the end of the conference, counted the lines and found it to be 1131 lines. That is, our CEO had used that phrase [or filler] that many times during his talk. A big round of applause, please.

Did you like reading this post? Show your love by clicking on one of the buttons that are made lovingly by LinkedIn, just for your use. That will help me share such snippets from my life more often. Even if you don’t show your love, I will still share them. Because, I love writing. 🙂

#freestylewriting #unofficial #funatwork

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Builder Par Excellence!

He is a small time real estate developer in a neighborhood locality in Chennai.

He doesn’t advertise at all.

He doesn’t cut corners. Instead, he delivers a good quality.

He completes the project as promised, on time.

He lives in the same locality in his own house built by his company.

He follows the law of the land.

Here is what he does:

He converts a vacant plot as small as 2400 Sq feet into beautiful apartments. He has developed over 30 such projects of varying sizes in the neighborhood. Many of his projects are in a plot size of 9600 Sq feet.

I know of one smaller project of size 2800 Sq feet. He had built G + 2 floor where G was reserved for Car Parking and he had three units built in level 1 and 3 units in level 2. He had two units of 850 Sq feet and 1 unit of 1100 Sq feet in each floor. The flats were beautiful, compact and modern. All his apartments were made ready to live. He did all the wood work as well. His apartments were complete with cup boards, covered lofts in bedrooms & modular kitchens.

He had an agreement with the land owner. The owner gets all the four units of 850 sq feet and the builder gets to sell two 1100 sq feet in the market and make his money. Land Owner need not pay anything but gets 4 apartments of 850 Sq feet each in return for the land. Quite a deal, right?

He also agreed to pay the monthly rent for approx. 1 year [or till the time he completes the construction] to the land owner. The land owner was earlier living in the same plot in an individual house, the demolition of which was part of the contract. Hence, the builder agreed to pay the rent.

In Chennai, during that year, there were floods. The rented house was in ground floor in an individual house and it was flooded too. The owner moved out of that house and stayed with his relatives for few days. Then, he met the builder and explained his problem. The builder then arranged one of his unoccupied flats for the family to stay. They stayed there for about ten days. The water had receded by then and the land owner moved back to the rented house & stayed there till the builder handed over the apartment.

This is not how business is generally done. But this is how relationships are built. The builder could have easily said that the floods was not his doing and he could have referred the land owner to the force majeure clause of the contract. But he didn’t. He solved the problem by going the extra mile, by doing something outside the contract, by being simply human.

Now there’s some lesson for each one of us in this story.

Takeaways:

  1. Go out of your way to help customers.
  2. Respect the contract but do more than what is committed.
  3. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes & think.
  4. Timely help has more value.
  5. Always be human.

Happy Selling!!

#happyselling #b2b #b2bsales #sales

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True Stories!

Two true stories, today:

  1. Customer Care team at a food products company received a call.

Customer: I recently bought a pack of your Parota. This is not the first time I am buying this. I love your parotas. There is no complaint on the quality even now.

Agent: Thank you so much Ma’am. Please continue.

Cust: This is such a small thing. I feel bad to report it. But since you should correct it, I am reporting this.

Agent: No problem Ma’am.

Cust: Always, you pack 6 nos. of Parotas in each packet. But this time, there were only 5 nos.

Agent: We will definitely look into it Ma’am. First, our sincere apologies for this goof-up. Thanks for bringing it to our notice. We will ensure that this doesn’t happen in future. As a thank you, we will send you a fresh pack of Parotas. Please message us your name and address. Please send us the batch no. also for us to correct this at our end.

Cust: Sure, I will do. Thanks.

Call disconnected. End of story? No.

Now, the climax in the story.

After 5 minutes, same customer calls back the cust care team.

Cust: I called just a while ago and reported a problem reg Parotas.

Same Agent: Yes Ma’am, I remember.

Cust: I am sorry. There is no problem. The pack had the right number of parotas as usual. My husband had eaten one of them, which I didn’t know. I am sorry for this. Please close the ticket & do not send me a replacement.

Agent: Ma’am, we thank you so much. However, we will still send you a replacement as promised earlier as a thank you for your contribution & your precious time to add value to our services.

Takeaways:

  1. Most customers are honest.
  2. Most forward looking companies trust their customers.
  3. Great companies really solve their customers’ problems.

I always trust my customers & address their issues. In return, I win their hearts.

I will write about the other true story in my next post. Watch this space!

happyselling #b2b #b2bsales #customerstories #trust #customercare

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“Somebody belongs somewhere”

“Somebody belongs somewhere”.

What? Say that again.

In this day & age, we are still seeing inequalities of all kinds in employment. Recently, a fast-food major, tweeted something that was not in good taste. I was shocked to see that.

So, you will do anything to get clicks. Right?

Utterly wrong. And so cheap.

Does anyone in these companies think before starting such a campaign?

In this internet age, brands can kill themselves in a matter of few seconds. With wrong judgement. With poorly written copy. With arrogance. With position of power. While underestimating the power of the medium that they use, to run the very same campaigns.

How great brands get wiped out? Think about it.

Customers will forgive you for anything that you had committed. What they won’t forgive is this: How bad you made them feel while dealing with you. For ex, that tweet by this fast-food major made them lose all the women as their customers, in a matter of seconds. Did I say they tweeted on International Women’s day? Yes, they did.

Arrogance: In one-word, if I have to sum it up all, this is that.

I look at it as an opportunity for all small & upcoming brands to make a name for themselves.

Personally, as a shopper, I will buy from smaller brands or brands that treats it’s customers like God. It’s a win-win.

What do you think?

#marketing #b2c #b2b #sales #campaign #adcopy

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How to connect with prospects on LinkedIn?

I send invites to prospects on LinkedIn to connect. Most of the time, I write a note. But I never try to sell. Do you know how will it be at the receiving end?

  1. Let’s say I received an invite from a person I don’t know. Just because I don’t know him/her, it doesn’t mean I won’t accept the invite.
  2. I do business with complete strangers but I make them my friends first.
  3. Whether I buy product/service or sell product/service, I need to build rapport first.
  4. I need to trust or become trustworthy as the case maybe.
  5. If you are not interested in investing your time and effort in building up this relationship, this will get nowhere.
  6. Do not forget to personalize the invite. Address the person by name. Understand what they are doing and talk about it. If they were in news recently, connect with it.
  7. GOLDEN RULE: Never sell anything without building rapport & trust or without getting to know the person offline.

Take a look at one of the invites I received recently. It teaches you what you shouldn’t do.

#HappyLearning

#HappySelling

#b2b #b2c #sales #marketing #prospecting