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Re-write rules!

I had to convince my client a lot to shortlist my candidate for an interview.

The recruiter at my client organization told me that the current employer of my candidate is not a big company.

I said we aren’t looking at recruiting the company.

Finally, he agreed to give my guy a chance.

I am sure you’d have guessed by now.

Yes, my candidate was selected after the interview.

What’s more?

He accepted the offer too. Woohooo!!

I can’t believe it.

And, he joined my client as well. This is phenomenal.

Now, the unexpected happened.

The recruiter called me & asked me to hire everyone from that “not so big company”. 🙂

I was & am a Sales Guy. This is what a Sales guy can do to recruitment. 🙂

Had I not convinced the recruiter in the beginning, I wouldn’t have got the opportunity to headhunt more people.

Takeaways:

  1. Don’t agree with your prospect always.
  2. Have conviction on your product & stand like a rock.
  3. Re-write rules.
  4. Just because something is done in a particular way it doesn’t mean it has to be done that way for the next 100 years.
  5. If something sounds stupid then go & challenge it.

#HappySelling

#b2b #sales #changethegame #business #recruitment #entrepreneurship

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Humour in Sales!

Babies start laughing in 6 weeks after they are born. In 6 months, they look at you and laugh. As they grow up, children laugh 200 – 300 times a day.

As adults, we laugh about 15 – 20 times a day [Do we?] or we have stopped laughing completely. That is the reason for all the stress and related disorders.

We should learn to look at our daily life with humour.

I was in a sales situation. Once, I had an appointment to meet the Head of Networking & System Support [NSS] team of an MNC IT Services company in Chennai. He was responsible for all the software purchases.

During this meeting, I was supposed to talk to him about a Data Modelling Software called ERwin [from a company called LogicWorks] and another product called BPwin.

I always learnt technically about the product, I mean, as much technical knowledge as required to sell.

So, there I was, waiting in the reception and I was called in.

I was expecting to meet only the head where as I was in for a shock when he had two people with him. And as if that wasn’t sufficient, he called four others into his cabin. They all literally surrounded me. I started sweating, first a little, then profusely.

The fun starts here now. I explained the product to the best of my abilities. These software developers, I am not sure if they were very angry that day, started asking several questions that were very technical and something that only Logic Works Product Manager can answer.

In Sales, none can make us feel awkward. 🙂

And if they try, we always have our weapon, a standard statement: “Sure, that seems to be a very good question, I will check with my tech team and get back to you”.

They finally released me from imprisonment.

Phew!

What a call, man!

Well, the story goes like this: I managed to answer all their questions in due course and sold them a couple of licenses of both the products.

But, for a long time, I used to think of this sales situation and laugh.

I should thank those software developers for asking me those tough questions. They had so much confidence in my technical prowess that even I didn’t have.

Did I make you laugh?

Think of such things in your day to day life. You will find plenty of things to laugh about. Share those stories with friends and colleagues.

Keep Laughing!!

Happy Selling!!

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How to handle objections?

I have often faced objections in Sales. It is a good thing to happen. The prospect has given you a reason to continue to interact with him/her.

I had been in various Sales situations and most prospects say “Your price is too high”. Who has not said that to me. I have lost deals as well as won deals after that.

In the buying process, if the buyer wants to move to the next stage he needs to:

  1. get answers to all his questions
  2. clear all his doubts
  3. get proof of concept
  4. reduce the risk of investment if not eliminate the risk completely
  5. be convinced that he is paying the right price and not being taken for a ride
  6. convince his boss on the RoI [Return on Investment]
  7. feel smarter by buying from you and your company or buying your product.

There are a lot of things that go into buying a product or service.

As Sales people, it is our job to reassure the prospect that they are making the right decision and help them visualize the scene post buying. We should tell them how our product is going to help them save money or time or both. Also, tell them, how it is going to improve efficiency in their process and help them do more business.

Coming back to the “Your price is too high” objection, I would ask:

  1. Is it, the price, the only thing you are concerned about?
  2. What are your thoughts on our Organization / Capabilities / Management / Brand?
  3. Based on the answers to the above two questions, I would tell them either a) I will continue to be with them through the implementation & post implementation and will get them the ROI as desired or b) I will go back to the drawing board, discuss internally about their specific needs, our commitments, long standing relationship and get back.
  4. In the event that we decide to give them a lower price I would look at getting them to accept for a case study on them, in return.

What are your thoughts? Please comment. We should learn from each other.

Happy Learning!!

Happy Selling!!

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Aamchi Mumbai!

I was greeted by four commandos with AK47 when I got down from the taxi @ Bandra East, Mumbai. What a privilege, isn’t it?

I was transferred from Chennai to Mumbai and that was my first visit to the city.

After 24 hours of travel from Chennai, got down at the Railway Station in the morning and took one Singh’s taxi to our guest house in Bandra.

Little did I know that the apartment in which our guest house was situated was right next to Bal Thackeray’s house. Now, you can read the first line again and make sense out of it.

What a city it was and is.

The speed with which people move and work is phenomenal. It catches with you. Or should I say engulfs you or better still sucks you in. At first, I didn’t like the smell of the city. But after few days, I couldn’t notice it.

I liked the food. That’s a lie. I loved the food.

The lady who served me lunch in a tiffin box at office came in the evening after 6 to our office complex with a lot of goodies and knocked at our doors and shouted “batata wada, puran poli hai, stairs ke pass” [meaning batata wada, puran poli are available, near the stairs]. Some days we got samosa, sabudhana wada etc. After a day’s hard work, we used to be exhausted and this was just what we wanted.

It was such an easy task to get into and out of a suburban train. You don’t have to put any effort. I mean it.

More than anything else, I liked the business climate. #Business was happening. You cannot crib about it. No one had any time to waste. Clients give you an appointment for a meeting only if they are serious.

What I learnt from my days in Mumbai is this: #SPEED.

Speed matters.

Had I spent few years in Mumbai, I would have become a more rounded personality.

Here’s wishing #Mumbai & #mumbaites a quick recovery from #Covid19. It is in their blood to fight this out. Wish Mumbai shows the way for the rest of India to get back to “business as usual”.

Happy Recovering!!

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Building trust is essential!

When I started my career, I used to cold call, collect business cards, build a database in MS Access, send mass mails [through post & not email], meet customers without any appointment [most of the time], keep all the information about the customer & his organization in my head [partly the reason for my hair fall, trust me.] [I have now started regrowing my hair, thanks to CRM]. My MS Access db those days had just the name, designation, company, address & phone numbers. Email was added much later, maybe after 1996.

Whomever we networked with or found from the market, we called them #leads [without the #]. We didn’t care whether they had any #opportunity or not.

Any company in our market was called the “Known Universe”.

Cut to 2020.

We have LinkedIn. We can do all the research here.

I received an interesting email day before. It read like this:


Hey Kannan,

I got to know about you while researching on LinkedIn today.

I want to connect with you regarding  your IT Infrastructure, Migration services, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning,……

Let me know your availability for this week or next week. I want to have a detailed discussion with you.

The next morning, another email from the same sender:


Good Morning! Have you given any thought to my last email?

I appreciate your quick response.

And yet another email, from the same sender, today. You get it. Right?

With or without LinkedIn this cannot happen. I mean you cannot bombard & force anyone to buy.

Whatever we did before #LinkedIn applies now as well.

a. We need to build trust.
b. We need to prospect.
c. We need to identify problems/painpoints/needs.

Those things have not changed.

You can’t email someone & ask for an order. No, it doesn’t happen that way. Unless you are selling personal protective equipments in a pandemic. Unless you are running a school – offine or online.

Everyone else should build trust first.

Once trust is built, you can ask for permission to send some literature & if the customer grants you that then it means that you have made the first sale.

Next step is to tell them about your work in their industry.

And then allow them time to collect their thoughts.

If they have any need, they will definitely consider you.

Takeaway:

  1. Build trust first.
  2. Generate leads.
  3. Qualify them. Convert them to Prospects.
  4. Don’t pitch. Use stories instead to generate interest.
  5. Match the buyer’s journey. Don’t ever use kids gloves. Your buyers are mature & aware.
  6. They buy.

“Sales” per se does not happen in the above process. Yet you sell. You focus on the relationship. Rest will fall in place.

Happy Selling!!

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Don’t stop dreaming!

Looking at me sending proposals or some documents to customers all the time, my son, who was 5 years old then, came up with his own imagination. He used to use his building blocks and make a laptop and work on it. Then use another piece of building block as a mobile phone and call his friends and ask “squeaky, I had sent you a document, have you received it?” and say “oh, you didn’t receive it, I will send it to you again”. And he used to call his other friends – rabbit, tiger etc and repeat the same story. By the way, squeaky was a squirrel and he was his best friend.

Today, at 12, he is using Microsoft Teams and a real Dell Latitude laptop to send, what else but, documents [homework] to his teachers and his real friends who have missed the online classes. Dream come true.

We shouldn’t stop dreaming. It is just a matter of time before it comes true. Keep dreaming all the time.

What #dreams are you chasing?

Key Takeaways:

1. Who we are, where we are doesn’t matter. What matters is our dreams.
2. We shouldn’t stop dreaming.
3. It is just a matter of time before our dream comes true.
4. We should act as if the dream has already come true.

#goals #plans #passion #business #sales #marketing

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Uncover your uniqueness!

If I were the Prime Minister of India……..

At School, during 6th Std, our English teacher asked us to write an essay that starts with that sentence.

While I don’t remember the exact things I wrote, I remember it as a love letter.

I am sure you can assume what would have gone into it.

Such things that happen early in our life shape our thoughts, dreams & everything that is yet to come. Right or Wrong?

I have carried that passion into business & life in general. All the good things started attracting me. I got sucked into it.

Passion. Fire in the belly!

When I was in recruitment business, I enjoyed dealing with people. My team & I looked out for at least one star in each candidate we worked with. And projected that to the clients. By star, I mean, some unique qualities, strengths or capabilities. It takes effort to find that. That’s exactly why we were paid high fees.

All of us have something unique in ourselves. What’s that?

Have you ever thought about this?

One thing you possess that no one else does.

You can’t hire someone else to do your push-ups for you.
— JIM ROHN

So, you have to uncover your uniqueness yourself.

Take Away:

  1. Who are you really
  2. What motivates you
  3. What inspires you
  4. What are you so passionate about
  5. What comes naturally to you
  6. What are you good at
  7. What do people like in you
  8. What gives you peace
  9. What gets you fired up
  10. What gives you that adrenaline rush

Start uncovering your uniqueness!

Happy Selling!!

#people #uniqueness #passion

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Keep hustling!

I am working out of a fish market these days. Let me explain.

This online schooling is taking a toll on me. We converted one of our bedrooms in our apartment into a studio & I work out of it. That’s where my son, who is in 7th grade, also attends his classes online using Microsoft Teams. The teachers tell them to mute their mic and also shut their video. But children wouldn’t listen. They keep hustling the whole day. From 10 am to 3 pm non-stop. No Ma’m, Yes Ma’m, We can’t see the slide Ma’m. Not to mention the answers for the questions.

Teachers ask the children to mute it. Then ask them some questions. How to answer when you are muted. Some teachers call them by name and ask them to unmute and answer. That’s better.

What I learnt from this is: Even if your prospects tell you that they aren’t looking for any product/service that you are offering, this year or this qtr, you simply ignore that and keep hustling.

Who knows when it would become a critical issue for your client. Whenever it does, they should remember you. If you are out of sight, then you will be out of mind.

Keep Hustling!

Happy Selling!!

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I lost the deal!

For every success story that I report there are 99 other stories where I have miserably failed. A friend asked me to write about my failures so that we can all learn. So, here it is.

There was a logistics start-up to whom we sold over 20 licenses of a CRM App. After an year they didn’t renew it. They said they are revamping their sales & marketing and that they will come back in 6 months.

They came back to us after another year. They looked at the product again. We went through the sales process as if it was a new prospect. We didn’t rush. Nor did they. It came to the proposal stage. We submitted our proposal. They said the price was too high. We revised it. We revised it again. We revised it the fourth time.

Pause for a moment. What do you think now?

If you think I won the order, you are wrong. I lost it.

Ok, let me break the news.

Finally, on the day we were supposed to get the order, they told us that they are going with another vendor. And they said they were getting a better deal than what we had offered whereas we had finally offered them a price THEY ASKED FOR. Still we lost it.

What this prospect did was that they decided on another CRM product even before calling us. They used us to reduce the price of our competitor, the world’s #1 CRM platform. We had no clue of this till we lost it.

This is not a one-off case. Customers are getting intelligent. Truth is you can’t win all the deals. Also, not all the customers will go with the world’s #1 CRM Platform.

What we need to do is this: Qualification. During this stage the prospect should convince us why they want to buy our product.

Take Away:

  1. Don’t get carried away by what your prospect says.
  2. Qualify. Qualify. Qualify.
  3. Don’t submit your proposal without knowing who your competitors are.
  4. Walk away from the deal early if you think there is no compelling reason for the prospect to buy from you.
  5. Get the commitment of the prospect’s top management.
  6. Convince them to buy in phases. You will know if you are being used.

Happy Selling!!

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Take good care of your people first!

I love those days when I was responsible for a large team. There was a guy in my team who complained he had so many calls to handle. In the same team, there was another person who was hardly having any work to do. I told the first guy that the second guy would be happy if he also had so many calls to handle. The second guy nodded his head in agreement. If someone does not have enough work, you know what happens next. The inevitable would happen. It is important to ensure that your team gets enough work to do.

We had a team that was handling Siebel support work at a clients place. It was tightly managed. No one had any free time. Suddenly, one member was down with some illness. He had to be sent back to his homeland. This happened when I was working in Singapore & my team member who was unwell was from Indonesia. The medical reimbursement covered his expenses to some extent. I spoke to him over phone one day after he reached Indonesia. And I understood that he needs financial support.

I went to my CFO. Asked her if she could help my guy. She promised she will do whatever she can. I wasn’t sure if that would meet his expenses. So, I decided to raise funds for him.

I decided to start the collection from my boss. So, I went to him. He was the Founder & CEO. I didn’t have to speak much or try hard to convince him. The moment I spoke about how Dennis badly needs our help & my initiative of raising funds outside of what the company can do, he smiled & took out his wallet immediately & gave me a generous amount. That moment, remains etched in my memory.

I then went on to all the heads & everyone at office. We collected a respectable sum. We handed the cash & the list to our Accounts. They sent it to my guy back home. I felt really happy.

My boss, who set the ball rolling with my fund raising, was none other than Mr.Harish Nim. He walks the extra mile in keeping his people happy. The company he founded [Emerio] grew leaps & bounds. Two things stood out, in my view: 1. Strong customer relationship 2. People management.

Take Away:

  1. Care for your people as much as you would care for your customers, if not more.
  2. Let your customers know they can reach anyone in your company anytime.
  3. Be generous.
  4. Don’t always follow the processes & policies. They are fine but that doesn’t mean you can’t break them to do something good.
  5. Trust your people. Your people expect more trust not more pay.
  6. Ensure your team has enough work & you stand out of the way.
  7. Let your people take breaks from work.
  8. Enjoy your work.
  9. Take risks.
  10. Be a role model.

Happy Selling!!