Posted on Leave a comment

Narrow the focus!

A delicatessen or deli is a retail establishment that sells a selection of fine, unusual, or foreign prepared foods. Delicatessen originated in Germany during the 18th century & spread to the US in the mid-19th century. [Wikipedia]

17 year old Frederick Adrian DeLuca borrowed $1,000 from family friend Dr. Peter Buck during the year 1965 to start something on his own. Dr.Buck suggested the idea to help DeLuca make money for college to study medicine. DeLuca’s plan was to begin a “fast-food venture that provided a healthful, less fattening bill of fare”. He named it as “Pete’s Submarines,” which sounded like “Pizza Marines”, so they changed the name to “Pete’s Subway.” Eventually in 1968, it was shortened to simply “Subway” as it is known today. They reached 1000 stores in 1987 & 1100 in 1993 when McDonalds had 800 stores that year. In 2018, the company had 43,700 franchisees worldwide. [Wikipedia]

DeLuca decided to focus on one type of sandwich, “the submarine sandwich” when other delicatessens sold a hundred different things from soups & salads to chips, muffins, doughnuts, cookies, ice cream, beer, coffee, tea not to forget the newspapers, cigarettes & lottery tickets.

Today, Subway sells more than just the submarine sandwich. They carry salads, breakfast, sides & drinks to signature wraps. But they are still remembered for the subs. And they are present in a number of countries – from Antigua and Barbuda to Virgin Islands.

When you narrow the focus, you become a specialist in that domain and your customers remember you for that “one thing”.

#Happy Selling!!

b2c #b2b #marketing #sales #brandidentity

Posted on Leave a comment

#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

Posted on Leave a comment

Healthy Competition!

I am not sure if you had seen this tweet from Burger King that actually asks its customers to buy from McDonalds. Here it is:

This is not the first time that a brand has shown some love for its competition.

During Aug 2018, when swedish furniture giant IKEA entered India, online furniture retailer Urban Ladder welcomed them with a tweet and a video. Please see below:

Keep your #competition close to you and your #customers closer to your heart!

#HappySelling!!

#b2c #b2b #sales #innovation #creativity #changethegame

Posted on Leave a comment

An Underdog’s strategy!

Have you ever seen a business welcoming its competition, much less with folded hands?

When IKEA entered India during Aug 2018, online furniture retailer Urban Ladder did just that. “Namaste @IKEAIndia Welcome to India,” tweeted Urban Ladder along with a gif of its staff welcoming the furnishings giant with folded hands, reported DNA India then.

“The retail ecosystem is one of the most exciting industries today—it’s fast-paced, constantly evolving, and ever so demanding. As the retail sector enters a new phase, home-grown brands like ours need to find ways to stay ahead in the game.” wrote its COO Rajiv Srivatsa, in an article published by Live Mint, in Aug 2018. Here’s the link to that article: An-underdogs-winning-strategy-against-Goliath.

Some of his strategies, as mentioned in that article, are:

  1. Ear to the ground: Listen to your customers, offline & online.
  2. Adopt an omni-channel approach.
  3. Know your strength & exploit it to the hilt.
  4. Get the pulse of global trends.
  5. Speed & Relevance will differentiate brands.
  6. Meet the demands of the consumer.
  7. Know your customers well.
  8. Build a strong supply chain with a local flavour.
  9. Assure Quality & ensure that your product fits the demands of consumers.
  10. Utilize tech as a key differentiator.

HappySelling!!

#b2c #b2b #sales

Posted on Leave a comment

What makes a good story?

My wife, son & I are big fans of Mr.Harold Finch, Mr.John Reese, Ms.Root, Ms.Shaw & Mr.Fusco.

These people save people who are in danger by risking their own lives. They are selfless, true patriots, good at heart, efficient & fast. We will not hesitate to recommend them to anyone.

We finished watching the last episode of the last season of #PersonOfInterest on Prime yesterday.

That’s, only the second time so far. With Covid-19 still restricting our social lives, that’s not a surprise.

We love the series. Yet, we are unhappy with certain parts of the story. We wanted the team of protagonists to win all the time. I hope #JonathanNolan takes note of this. 🙂

Here’s the snapshot of the #Story:

Harold builds “The Machine”, an AI that gets its feed from the Gov data, public cameras et al. It watches people, sees violent acts of terror, identifies the danger to people & then segregates those numbers [social security] into relevant & irrelevant [b’cos gov considers them so], sends relevant numbers to the Gov & irrelevant numbers to Harold’s team, who then get into the act of saving them.

The storytelling in this TV series keeps you on the edge of your seat & is definitely worth emulating in our marketing stories, to capture our customers’ attention.

Dissecting it further, I think, the framework for a story is:

  1. You need a purpose. [borrowed that term from Harold].
  2. You need problems to solve.
  3. You should become God. Ok, you become a saviour of sorts.
  4. But let them be the hero of your story. Or identify themselves with the hero.
  5. Show proof, maybe case studies.
  6. Be honest. Let truth be told. Flaws can remain. We are just humans after all.

Happy Storytelling!!

#HappySelling!!

#b2b #sales #marketing #business

Posted on Leave a comment

Why do you find Pizza Hut next to Domino’s?

We went shopping. Our son, who is 12 years old, noticed something during the trip.

Once we got back home, he asked:

Why Domino’s & Pizza Hut are next to each other everywhere?

That’s a good observation, I told him.

This is called as #NashEquilibrium named after the mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr.

In game theory, let us say, there are two players – Alice & Bob. They choose strategies A & B respectively. Then (A, B) is a Nash Equilibrium, where the players don’t have any other better strategy other than (A,B) that maximizes their pay-off in response to the other player. [credit: Wikipedia]

NE applies to a #zero-sum game whether there are two or more players. If you add up the profits of all players & subtract their total losses then it sums up to zero.

You don’t gain by changing your strategy in response to your competitor if they also don’t change theirs. On the contrary, you stand to lose if you change your strategy. The optimum level is discovered and each party sticks to the same strategy.

This is the reason you find,

KFC next to Taco bell [& Burger King & Mc Donald’s].
Pepperfry next to Urban Ladder.
Max Fashion is followed by Reliance Trends & Pantaloons.
Petrol bunks located next to each other.
Starbucks, Costa Coffee & Barista next to Coffee day.
Restaurants are grouped together.
Jewellery shops in the same location.
Silk Saree shops all lined up together.

You may want to watch a TED-Ed video titled “Why do competitors open their stores next to one another? – Jac de Haan” [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jILgxeNBK_8]

This is the reason you find Amazon’s “The Great Indian Festival” overlapping Flipkart’s “Big Billion Days”.

This is election season everywhere. Some countries have two players whereas we have multiple players, in India. 🙂

Find your Nash Equilibrium Vis-a- vis your competition!

HappySelling!!

#b2b #b2c #sales #innovation #entrepreneurship

Posted on Leave a comment

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

Posted on Leave a comment

Become a Leader!

What are the sure shot ways to get known as a #leader in your #career?

It’s nothing less than what we guys in #Sales do, to get the clients attention. Some interesting #analogies here. #Lessons from Sales.

  1. #Volunteer: I know you have a #KRA to achieve. But what will show you as a leader is the amount of contribution you do towards organization’s goals even if it is not directly linked to your KRA.
    • In Sales: At times, we do some good things for the clients that may not be related to what we sell. Call it genuine interest in helping clients.
  2. Publish Papers: Write Industry #BestPractices, #ApproachPapers, how you solved a particular nagging problem with your creativity, you get the idea.
    • In Sales: We write White Papers that are completely unbiased & may not narrow down to what we sell. This improves our credibility.
  3. Do what others don’t do: Stop cribbing, stop talking bad about anyone, stick to your goals, keep up your deadlines, have no excuses.
    • In Sales: We don’t do anti-marketing. We have conviction in what we sell. We solve problems. We deliver. On time. We keep up our words.
  4. Connect with your peers across the globe & learn from them.
    • Sales: We learn from our competition & from our clients.
  5. Work with others. Don’t go solo.
    • Sales: It takes the whole company to sell.

#HappySelling!!

#HappyLeading!!

Posted on Leave a comment

What’s your Social Selling Index [SSI]?

Before I get to that, in today’s world, you exist only if you are in #Instagram, #LinkedIn, #Facebook etc. Right / Wrong?

Couple of things to do:

  1. Post regularly on your subject matter.
  2. Share other people’s insightful posts. [like this one :)]
  3. Like & Share valuable comments on other’s posts. [I encourage you to start with my post :)]
  4. Be resourceful.
  5. Have a social media playbook.
  6. Have social media goals.
  7. Create a content calendar.
  8. Be creative.
  9. Be helpful.
  10. Stay on course.

LinkedIn Social Selling Index is a measure of how effective you are in:

a) establishing your personal brand

b) finding the right people

c) engaging with insights

d) building relationships

B2B buyers like to deal with Sales professionals who have been referred by someone they know or trust. So, it is important to connect with people in your industry and build trust and confidence. They may be referring you to someone they know who might fit your buyer persona.

Here’s my SSI in this pdf. I dropped from a score of 78 to 72 now. This is computed daily.

You can find yours here: https://www.linkedin.com/sales/ssi

HappySocialSelling!!

HappySelling!!