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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.

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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#tech in #sales

Young couple. Jus’ married. That was their first movie together [b’cos it was an arranged marriage]. They went to the theater early, to beat the crowd. Stood in the queue & asked for corner seats when they reached the counter.

Not anymore. You can book seats of your liking online. Thanks to #technology.

You make your own pizza online & get it delivered in flat 30 minutes. You use their kitchen as if it is your own.

You assemble your own computer online. Dell revolutionized this concept long long ago. #directmarketing

In future, you will make your own coffee in your coffeemaker @ your home. You are already doing that. Aren’t you? What’s the difference, you ask. I hear that.

You will start brewing your coffee @ your home just before you leave from office. It will be ready when you get home. Just the way you like it.

And the AI in your car will look at the traffic & suggest you the best route to take to get home faster, easier, in style & with comfort.

#Sales has changed as well. We have bots answering our customers & taking care of them. Whether they like it or not, we don’t care. Jus’ kidding.

We now know when our #customers are opening our #proposals, how long they looked at it, whom did they forward it to, their email ids, what will be our revenue next Qtr, what our competitors are up to, who our customers are talking to, what’s the latest news about our customers, who in my target segment are ready to buy / looking for products that I sell, what our customers are talking about, what our customers are saying about us etc. We know much.

But as long as emotions & feelings are there with humans, sales cannot be on autopilot. Beyond a point, that is. You still need to sell. At every touch point.

I receive many automated emails. The senders don’t do any homework on me. Why should I then bother to reply?

Your customers have a need to feel special. And they are special, aren’t they?

We can / should use #tools & #tech [b’cos this is 2020] but it is our #humantouch that will make all the difference.

#standoutfromthecrowd

#HappySelling!!

#b2b #b2c #business #entrepreneurship #innovation

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Perspective in Sales!

#Perspective roughly means “a feeling or opinion about something or someone” according to the dictionary. In other words, it’s a viewpoint or standpoint.

It has something to do with a person’s cultural background, age, qualification, experience etc.

Now, what is perspective in #sales?

It is the seller’s point of view.

According to a 2018 #CSO #Insights report, β€œThe Growing Buyer-Seller Gap: Results of the 2018 Buyer Preferences Study,” the buyers are most likely to reward sellers who provide insights & perspective during the sales process.

“To do that sellers must understand the buyer’s business, demonstrate excellent communication skills and focus on post-sale success”, according to #MillerHeiman Group,

They say, “perspective is the best way for sellers to differentiate themselves from the competition. They further state that the ability to deliver informed insights separates top sales teams from the rest of the pack in today’s marketplace.”

Miller Heiman group further says, “Perspective could be data, insights or information that helps buyers see their challenges and solutions in a new light or causes them to think differently. It could be a case study or an innovative idea.”

They are of the opinion that “by providing buyers with the right combination of mindset, insight and experience, you can differentiate your sales organization from the competition and develop more meaningful relationships with customers.”

So, we get it. It is perspectives all the way. Conveying your perspective to the buyer, making the buyer to think differently, helping them solve their problems & helping them grow their businesses will see you through.

On the lighter side, here is an example of perspectives in life:

I drew this picture today [can’t believe, I did]. What are your thoughts?

You might imagine that this is a picture of a twenty something woman with big eyes, a bright smile & full of energy. That’s your perspective.

On the other hand, someone might look at it and say “this is someone with grace, kindness & full of love at an age where her warm smile beats the best make-up kit ever made.” So, that’s another perspective.

Coming back to Sales, offer the right perspectives & insights that benefit your buyers’ businesses.

Offer perspectives & insights. Win hearts!

#HappySelling

#b2b #b2bsales #innovation #problemsolving #elevatesalesprofession

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Cold call by an Edu Tech Co.,

I received a call from an education technology company recently. The lady who called said that she is calling from an xyz company. She then went on to say that we had made an inquiry regarding their coding classes. I said “we didn’t”. She insisted we did and asked me to check.

I patiently told her that we had enrolled our son into one of their programs at our apartment few years ago. Told her we didn’t like it after one or two classes and hence opted out immediately and that we had a tough time getting back the money paid. It was such a bad experience. But we never made any inquiry ever after. Told her that maybe they have the name & mobile number from that campaign.

Neither did she listen to that story, nor did she feel sorry for that bad experience. Instead, she went on saying that we had made an inquiry, but that wasn’t true. I normally encourage such cold callers. But, I had to disconnect this call since she yelled at me. Yes, she did.

I am lost. To what extent will these edutech companies go to get customers?

They are doing more damage by making such calls.

My advise to them:

  1. Teach your sales people before you teach others.
  2. Listening is an art. Learn that first.
  3. Be professional.
  4. Don’t yell at customers, even if they are wrong.
  5. Try and give a good customer experience.
  6. Turn a bad experience into a good one.
  7. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to delight your customers.

#HappySelling!!

#b2c #sales #coldcall

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Developing a customer’s mind-set!

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

I started my career selling Publishing Software & High Resolution Laser Printers before moving into Enterprise Software.

Working with Printers & Publishers & also coming from a Mech Engg background, I quickly developed an eye for precision in printing.

The first line in this post is a Pangram – a sentence that contains all of the letters of the English alphabet [not Google’s parent company]. πŸ™‚

This is to check the typeface or fonts. Initially, I used to wonder what the meaning of this sentence is.

My clients looked at the samples I gave them, with lenses kept close to their eyes.

I gave them both image & text samples.

I met clients in their shop floor where printing was on. I have seen the printing units of many newspapers / magazines / security printers / big printers / small printing shops.

At one point, I started thinking like the way they think. Call it “mirroring customer’s mind-set”.

From then on, I was forever on the “Problem solving mode”.

Some lessons learnt:

  1. Understanding market needs
  2. What’s your expertise?
  3. What’s the [one] problem that you are solving?
  4. Who is your customer?
  5. Who are his current vendors?
  6. Why should they buy from you?

I strike the best conversation with customers when they are at work but are little relaxed & are in a vacation mode.

These festive times are one such time if your clients are from the manufacturing sector.

I met a Senior editor at a magazine at a time when he was just then blessed with a baby girl. He gave me a box of sweets. That was my first meeting with him. I came back to office & shared the sweets with my colleagues.

#HappySelling!!

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New Sales Playbook post Covid-19!!

Covid-19 has altered the business landscape. Forever.

Sales playbook that we used so far does not work anymore.

Post Covid-19, I don’t think we are going to return to the previous style of functioning.

Right now, customers expect us to #bemorehuman.

Some food for thought:

  1. Do we care for our customers? Genuinely?
  2. Do we understand their feelings?
  3. Are we treating them like humans?
  4. Are we helping them solve some real problems?
  5. Are we making them feel special?
  6. How are our products going to help them during this pandemic specifically?
  7. Or, are we selling our product like we used to, by talking about our “product” & the “benefits”?
  8. Are we making the right connection between the buyer & our brand during this pandemic?
  9. If yes, what are we doing to achieve that?
  10. Are we helping them smile during these difficult times.

If the answer is a resounding “YES” to at least 7 / 10 questions above, we will sail through this period safely.

If not, it is time for us to take a re-look at our Strategies. Did I say “strategies”? I am sorry. That’s not the word right now.

….re-look at the way we connect with the buyers – would be more appropriate.

#HappyConnecting!!

#HappySelling!!

#covid19 #sales #business #newsalesplaybook #care4customers

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Forbes Cloud 100 2020, list of SaaS companies

#Insights from the #Forbes #cloud100 2020, list of #SaaS companies.

Along with the list of #skills that are #ondemand right now.

Some Insights from the Forbes Cloud 100 2020, list of SaaS companies:

The following Industry Verticals are leading the current technology landscape.

  1. Enterprise AI
  2. Data Analytics / Data Intelligence
  3. Data Management / Data Platform
  4. Cyber Security
  5. Sales CRM / Sales Enablement / Sales Engagement / Customer Engagement
  6. Customer Communications Software
  7. Design Software
  8. DevOps Software
  9. Team Management / Collaboration
  10. Robotic Process Automation
  11. Collaboration Software
  12. Payments Software

And the Companies in the above verticals are:

  1. Enterprise AI – DataRobot, C3.ai, Dataiku, Dataminr
  2. Data Analytics / Data Intelligence – Databricks, Sisense, ThoughtSpot, Collibra
  3. Data Management / Data Platform – Snowflake, Confluent, Rubrik, Veeam, Cohesity
  4. Cyber Security – Tanium, Netskope, Darktrace, BitSight
  5. Sales CRM / Sales Enablement / Sales Engagement / Customer Engagement – Pipedrive, Seismic, Gong.io, Highspot, Outreach, Segment, Freshworks, Braze, Sprinklr, Gainsight
  6. Customer Communications Software – Front, Intercom, Podium
  7. Design Software – Canva, Figma, Invision
  8. DevOps Software – GitLab, JFrog
  9. Team Management / Team Collaboration – Asana, Monday.com, Notion
  10. Robotic Process Automation – UIPath, Automation Anywhere
  11. Collaboration Software – Symphony Communication Services, Miro
  12. Payments Software – Stripe, Checkout.com

The Skills that are in demand:

  1. Artificial Intelligence
  2. Machine Learning
  3. Data Science, Data Analytics
  4. Data Management
  5. Cybersecurity
  6. Sales
  7. Mobile Development
  8. Internet of Things
  9. Robotics
  10. Fintech

#jobs2020 #jobs #techtrends2020 #postcovid19 #trending #techjobs #skillsdevelopment

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Microcall

A friend of mine called up the other day. It must have been a couple of years since we met or spoke. Yet, we spoke like as if we last met only yesterday. That’s real friendship.

The call didn’t last for more than two and a half minutes. Microcall, if you wish to call it that.

That’s when an idea struck me.

I ask customers for an hour of their time. Worst case, 30 minutes. That’s too much to ask for, I now think.

Whether it’s an Intro call or a Discovery call, it can be done in 10 minutes flat, to start with.

Ask them, “would it be a great idea to catch up for 10 minutes on Wednesday post lunch?”.

I hate wasting my time or my prospects’ time.

I tend to be specific, clear and achieve something in every interaction.

It is possible to do that in a short call/meeting as well.

Happy Calling!!

Happy Selling!!