13 th March 2018
Sounds abnormal isn’t it? Why would anyone bother to think about you if you are not on top of their mind? How would you get business without reminders, follow-ups, calls, sending messages, emails? Conventional thinking encourages all this and I don’t say that one should stop doing this but let me tell you a story.
Here I was on Sunday evening with my wife visiting a local exhibition of garments, chocolate makers, food stalls, toys, play areas for children etc. etc. The place was full of noise, lots of crowd, someone even dared putting up a live music band which very few were listening.
While I was strolling around, I caught attention of a lady representing an academy of educational services offering courses on animation, programming, digital marketing etc. She was very polite, had a pleasant smiling face and was trying her best to be upbeat and cheerful though sweating from top to toe with the halogen lights straight facing her from across the wall. After explaining me few good content of courses she had for my daughter, she was keen to know what my daughter is currently doing and offered free counselling at her office “anytime when I wish to avail”. She then said after understanding my daughter’s career inclination that she should take up a short duration course far smaller in revenue for her but something which she felt will get her to know before she can get into a long-term commitment. At the end, she slipped in a very nicely made Brochure explaining everything and insisted I keep it thought I was reluctant as their one-page leaflet was quite sufficient.
Here I was all set to expect that now this lady will take my mobile number, email and will keep sending me communications till I don’t land up at their office with my daughter. To my absolute surprise, she smiled at me, nothing of the above happened and she only said “it was so nice meeting you, thank you for the patient listening and we hope you will call me in case you wish to take this conversation forward”.
Trust me, this was most unexpected and it left a lasting effect on me. I went back home, narrated everything to my daughter and kept the Brochure safely to contact her in a month’s time from now once her final exams are over.
All the selling was done. I am convinced and because there is no regular annoying (sometimes) follow-up, I am more than keen to pursue this ahead.
Can you get deals without follow-ups……..you bet – I just experienced it!
3 rd March 2018
We have a great product or a service. We have a great team and processes. ……also, we have great infrastructure. So what keeps us awake?
Sales….you guessed it!
You need a clear strategy, a good database of your target group, proper segmentation being done, profiling, an appointment diary getting booked, we need a good list of prospects, potential interests, a pipeline,
a funnel, we need to plan for forthcoming presentations, proof of concepts, dummies or sampling you may call and all this leads to a healthy order book. This is one picture every owner, managing director etc. loves to see again and again.
Ideas, analysis, course-corrections, in-short all creative juices flow when primarily you have a good order book. We don’t want desperation as far as sales are concerned. We don’t want to say yes to a business which actually doesn’t help our capacities or capabilities. Many a times, companies accept businesses or orders which they regret later. Then comes all problems of quality, deliverables and the only defence one has heard is “let me do this as I cannot refuse business” “let me get an entry, we will earn later” “let me build a relation with the my client, I will charge premium later”. This is absolutely absurd to me. I’ve not come across any client who allows you to “earn” more later.
So what needs to be done? You need a good strategy sheet to be established, thenput your fundamentals in place,make yourself marketable, build a brand, get your processes in place spot on and equip your sales team fully and you will set your sales in motion.
10 th Feb 2018
Selling is an Art, Science and Witchcraft – read this brilliant thought in SubrotoBagchi’s book recently. He has explained why and how of this in his book.
While we have to go through the various steps in B2B selling starting from prospecting, segmentation, branding, promotions, marketing, presentations etc. it’s a different ball game altogether when it comes to B2C.
I was at my local grocery shop the other day to buy soap and the shopkeeper after handing over the same to me asked “what else”?
Well, I thought for a moment and asked for a toothbrush, toothpaste, a new biscuit which I saw and ended up buying an item every time I thought all’s done the moment he used to ask me “what else”. This is the brilliance of not only the shopkeeper but the nature of his business B2C.
The process of sampling, displaying the product, enabling us to touch and feel the product, the visual impact, the smell, the taste, the experience is something which works here. Of course, the seller needs to be smart, friendly, caring, should know our taste, likes, needs etc. and all this only helps him to scale up his business with every walk-in customer.
2 nd Jan 2018
There are products and services all over. We all know we need to stand out in this crowded place. We all know the importance of branding, design, value proposition, image etc. which helps you achieve that.
Here are few words which spontaneously need to emerge from your buyer when you sell and then trust me, you’ve hit the bulls eye:
I am sure there are many more but the point is, when your buyer says anything of the above and links it to his experience spontaneously after using or consuming, you know you have a winner in your offerings.
All other aspects come later.
29 th Dec 2017
It was one of those weekdays when I had a meeting fixed at a nearby Coffee shop. Its winter in Mumbai and all of us enjoy our share of this season, however short lived it may be.
So here was I waiting for my client to appear (I have this habit of reaching atleast 10 minutes before the meeting). As usual, just as it was time for my client to come in, this time I did get call from him that he will be late. That’s Mumbai traffic for you but I always wonder why in my last over twenty years of working was I not late for any appointment beyond couple of times. Anyways.
While I was lost in these thoughts over a coffee, walks in a person looking hurriedly across the coffee shop. I presumed, he too must have invited someone for a meeting. In the next five minutes, I saw him change three seats, ensuring he was comfortable, had a good ring side view of the shop, was facing the door so that he can see his guest coming in, checked upon the chair where his guest may sit, asked someone to reduce the volume of the music playing in the shop, glanced through the Menu card, made sure he was nearer a charging point for his laptop (just in case), got his laptop and note book out from his bag, ensure the light from the window didn’t reflect on his laptop screen disturbing visibility and then looked at his mobile handset to check messages patiently.
What did this teach me. The power of preparedness.
No matter whom you are meeting and where. If you are not familiar with the place, the client’s comfort etc. all those small things which matter so much, you may not leave a good impression in meetings outside your office.
18 th Dec 2017
This may sound like the title of a tele-serial which ran on Indian Television for ages (KyunkiSaansBhiKabhiBahu Thi).
As Companies, we switch roles to play a Customer to our vendors and a Vendor to our Customers. Get in the shoes of both and the world changes suddenly, Why?
Let’s look at what qualities you want to see in your Customer?
Gives you feedback
Of course pays you on time
Recommends your products or services
Engages with you on various platforms
Sometimes is accommodative for circumstances beyond your control
Now imagine the same “You” becomes a Customer to some Vendor. Now do you practice the above and are you a good Customer? Why suddenly, you don’t value the efforts put in by your Vendor. Unless he has not deviated from what is promised or recommended, why does the equation changes?
The problem somewhere is the standards you set with your Customer deliverables are what you expect from your Vendor also and if that’s not delivered, things go out of control. I also know few Companies who are pathetic in their deliverables but expect the world from their Vendors.
Walk The Talk and see the results for not only growing business but also building a long-lasting and healthy relationship with your Vendors too who are so crucial equally.
30 th Nov 2017
Whenever I read this sentence, it makes me feel how simple marketing is. Not really as we all know.
The challenge is how do we tell the stories. It needs skills in language, vocabulary, expression, choosing the right words, creativity and finally relevance to the target group. Copywriting is often underrated leave alone Content which is so crucial.
Try selling a product, service or a concept with a way you have not thought about earlier. From step one, do something completely different ie. from identifying your TG, segmenting it further, preparing the sales kit, having the value proposition to closing the deal – what can we do differently.
Customers are emotional always. Brand loyalty cannot be built overnight. The stories you tell, the pain you highlight alongwith the solutions you provide, have to relate to a large portion of your TG to get the desired results.
Ready to tell a story?
17 th Nov 2017
Random as they are but over a period and in our everyday professional life, we discuss these aspects time and again. We experience these ourselves, take great pride in advising others on how well we know this subject and miss the bus when it comes to implementing ourselves.
Here’s how you can be assured you will lose your customer:
Not knowing what, where and when to sell: Segmentation and profiling becomes so crucial. How often have we heard that it was a great product but couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Lack of preparation: Very less research done on your customer history, profile and the real needs. We are too busy selling our product rather than finding out what he really wants to buy from you.
Ignoring technology: What can tech do here? I know my customer (that gut feel), I’ve been selling like this for ages and though diminishing (which very often we don’t know due to lack of data) we are happy selling with those results. Have we bothered to know how tech can help here?
Customer Service: You must be joking. That’s for the service industry, that’s for the B2C only. I have a great product, I offer great prices, customers will buy and they will never judge on my service standards.
Touch points: Ofcourse I have a website and I do digital marketing. How responsive am I? I read recently an article in a Business magazine on a revolutionary product and when I wrote to them from the given email on their website, I didn’t get a response till date.
There could be many but these listed above just brushed my mind today.
24 th Oct 2017
What do you call a car who is stunning in looks and performance? We say “she is a beauty”. Why do we but naturally refer it as feminine? Has it got to do with some underlying emotions which reflects in our expressions. Spot on.
Why don’t we still call the most expensive smartphone as a “he” or a “she”. We still say “it’s a great product or a phone”. We’ve yet not reached to give this category of a product a gender. Think about it. Then consider Woodland shoes and we say its “macho”, “rugged”, clearly indicating the gender linked.
Ultimately, Brands are governed by emotions and that’s the pinnacle which every marketer needs to achieve for its brand. Successful brands are those which have emotions attached. The tag line re-emphasizes the emotion and you need to be clever in this too. Nike, Visa and many more such brands have mastered this.
It could be a product or a service, how do you get the human element in this?