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My initial days in business!

Those were the days I didn’t know where to start.

I had started my consulting business and I was struggling to get clients. I was into pure play IT Consulting. Also, I had partnered with two software product companies then. It wasn’t easy.

That was the time, I was asked by some customers if I could help them find talent. I hadn’t thought of Recruitment / Placement as a business until then. I jumped at the opportunity. Like any normal sales guy would. I was and am a die-hard optimist.

My team & I went on to build a great name for the next several years. My company Gyanagni Consulting was synonymous with QUALITY. We found only highly talented people & spoke to them about our clients first. We didn’t speak about the opportunity first. Our approach was entirely different from the rest of the market.

I am a Sales guy. So, like any typical sales guy, I sold the jobs to the job seekers but only after I sold them on the Organization. I sent them an email with the JD and a list of reasons why they should consider joining my client. I doubt anyone did that during that time and many candidates had told me that that helped them take a decision.

Similarly, at the client’s end, my team & I wrote a summary page for each candidate. The summary page would have all the details and a note on the awards, certifications, attitude etc.

Several clients had told us that the summary page was phenomenal and that helped them save time. The profiles we shared with our clients were looked at with great respect.

Take away:

  1. One leads to the other. Treat all the small opportunities that come your way with utmost attention. Who knows, what’s in store.
  2. Add value howsoever small it is.
  3. Be human.
  4. Say thank you, as often as you can.
  5. Smile always.
  6. Spread the cheer.

Happy Selling!!

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Match the speed of your Prospect!

I was patiently waiting at a clients place to sell a particular software, let us call “Product A”. I knew before-hand that I am likely to meet a foreigner, a Brit working in India. And I was there to solve an urgent problem. That was a UK company into oil exploration & drilling on the coasts of Chennai.

What happens when you are the last to meet a customer on a given day is he/she would have already made the decision. But there is a distinct advantage when you are not the first to meet him. While I was waiting, many thoughts were flashing through my mind. Suddenly, I saw my competitor getting out after meeting, who else but, my prospect. I normally don’t see him unless he is closing a deal. I decided to roll up my sleeves and stay put there until I get that order that day.

I was called in. He was very friendly. Immediately, he handed over the server [I was a sales guy, technically incompetent, but can do a demo] to me, asked me to go ahead with the installation and demo. I have never handled a server until then. With no-help from anywhere, I went ahead and did a great demo that day. He was convinced.

All the stages of the sales process were started and completed that day. I called up my manager, took an approval to give a discount and quoted the price. Only verbal quote. And he typed the order in front of me, signed the order, got a cheque prepared since I asked for 100% advance. Can you believe this? What’s more? I came to sell one piece of software but sold him a suite of products.

Well, I won an additional order for another product that he had almost finalized with my competitor. And I picked up that order as well after a couple of days.

Take Away:

  1. Always [ALWAYS] match the speed of the customer.
  2. Don’t stick to your process.
  3. Get the problem fixed. Before your customer pays or even decides to buy from you.
  4. Ask for the order. If you don’t, how on earth do you hope to get it?

Happy Selling!

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Do you want to look good or stay healthy?

They are mutually exclusive, it might seem. Let me explain why and how they are not.

But before that, let us get some facts straight. Looking good is so powerful, the “in” thing to do, to go for. I get that. Not to mention the opinions people might have about you by just looking at your looks.

When “looking good” is approached separately, it may or may not be healthy. Sometimes, you may even be pursuing something very unhealthy. If you know the science behind the fairness creams, for ex, you will know this and you will readily agree with me.

But not when looking good is approached together with staying healthy. When “staying healthy” is the goal, “looking good” happens anyway. It’s a by product. You cannot help it. Even if you don’t like it, it will happen. So, it makes sense to go for good health.

This is a Perfect Analogy for “Getting Business” and “Building Relationship”. Now, if you find & replace “looking good” and “staying healthy” with these two words, it makes perfect sense. Yes or no?

So, there you get it. You go for “building relationship” and the other naturally happens. It has to.

In the initial days of my Software Sales Career, when I was wandering the Tier 2 towns and cities in the State of Tamilnadu, India, frantically searching for customers, I found one automobile dealership that had all the required DNA to become our software reseller in that region. We eventually appointed them as our Partner for the region.

The owner had done his Engineering from IIT & PG in Management from abroad. I bet, you cannot say that when you first look at him. He had that ruffian looks. But after he starts speaking, you may have to change your opinion about him. He inspires confidence, commands respect. When you are with him, you get a feeling that you can achieve anything. Yes, any dam’n thing. What a man, he is. I am yet to see anyone who is like him. My salutes and respects to him. He continues to inspire me till date.

Take Away: Focus on building the relationship. May your interactions with your clients inspire confidence in them & command respect from them. You will get a call from them when they need your services.

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Dine with your customers!

There used to be light rain almost every day in the afternoons in Singapore. The already clean roads get washed up yet again. Smell of the earth would be evident all around. It makes you feel energetic and more productive.

One such afternoon, I was learning how to hold the chop sticks. From one of my customers. I was a Vegetarian then [Vegan now] but that was a Chinese restaurant that considers small fish as Vegetarian. I had to explain several times to the bearer both symbolically [in sign language] and verbally saying “no small fish”.

My guest taught me how to hold the chop sticks and I really learnt it. You won’t believe, I was picking up rice with the chop sticks. It surely helps to eat less quantity in one mouthful and chew it well. May be, a lesson in Sales as well: Take up only what you can chew. And chew it well.

What happens when you dine together? You get to know the person personally. You get to know their interests, likes, dislikes, passion, hobbies etc. You build a strong trust based relationship. You don’t go with an agenda. You go with the flow. Eventually, you build a great relationship.

That was not the first time or the last time I dined with Customers. Even in India, I have dined with Customers. That’s a secret recipe for a great relationship. Customers want to deal with someone who is as much human as themselves.

In the last few years, I have built a style that I follow, when I dine with customers & prospects. I narrate stories from my life and what I learnt from it. That sets up the conversation. I don’t intend to close or anything. But I have probably created a strong emotional buy-in in the minds of my customers.

I am sure you have stories like these as well from your Sales experience.

I think, majority of us in Sales, that includes me, do not stay in touch with customers with whom we had built a great relationship.

Take away: List down some of your old customers and get back in touch this week. You may be in for a surprise.

Happy Selling!!

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People laughed at him!

A young boy, who was just 12 years old, wanted to start his own magazine. When he said that, people laughed at him. 15 years later, in the year 1984, he was publishing a hundred of them. And he had built one of the first Technology Publishing empires.

He was interested in Technology, Science and Computing and he found that these three areas were converging.

7 years after he founded his publishing company, he sold it to Pearsons. Then he moved to United States and started his new company Business 2.0 and reached a market cap of $ 2 Billion at one point.

He founded a non-profit in the year 1996 to “foster the spread of great ideas”.

There was another company which was started in 1984 which was holding conferences dedicated to 3 things. And our young boy attended one of the conferences in 1998 and fell in love with it.

Eventually he bought that company in 2001. But the remarkable turn around came in 2006 when he distributed the talks [in the conferences] online for free. That was a revolution.

I am sure you have guessed it by now.

The company he acquired is TED [that stands for Technology, Entertainment & Design] and the young boy is none other than Chris Anderson. https://www.ted.com/

So, what dreams are you chasing? Did people laugh at you? Are you passionate about it? For all you know you may be creating a revolution in the years to come.

Don’t underestimate yourself. If you are passionate about it and if few people have found use for what you have created, you are on your way to success.

Happy creating!

Happy Starting-up!

Happy Selling!

#startupstories #startup #story

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Sales professionals are positive thinkers!

I am passionate about Sales. I truly believe that Sales is one profession that is unlike any other. No business can survive if Sales does not perform and perform well. Come to think of it, all the sales folks across industry verticals share some common traits. They are all performers. They all think they are born to win, lead, educate, help, bring about a smile, change the way anything is done, change the world. They all generally treat people very well. They trust others. If you look closely at Sales people, they will not discourage other sales people. I answer my phone with courtesy and talk with enthusiasm to the caller and answer her questions in the most polite manner even when I know that I have no use for what she is trying to sell – be it a personal loan or a credit card or a car loan. It is a frame of mind. Positive one at that. If you are a true sales professional you will get what I am saying. That positive frame of mind is what makes us different. That’s what makes us go out in the market, do prospecting, meet clients, build relationships, build trust and finally truly help customers achieve what they want to. No pitching. No “Sales”. No hype. No “Marketing”. What I am good at is what I will do. And leave the rest to the professionals who are experts in the respective areas.

Now you know why I love Sales.

Let me tell you a story. Week after week I was projecting a very big number from one particular account in my reports. My manager asked me not to project it. But I continued projecting it. That was a time I wouldn’t listen to anyone. And speed did matter to me as well. Usain Bolt wasn’t known then, else I would have considered him my role model. In this particular account, things were moving at the speed of a tortoise. But I wasn’t ready to give up. We had a meeting with our Principals [whose products we were selling] and I continued my projections even in that meeting without naming the account since there were other competitors. So much so that the Country Manager asked for a meeting with me and my colleagues after that session. Obviously, when the number I quoted was far higher than the sum of all the other numbers quoted by all of them [present there] put together. I was confident. I was asked what was my plan, how will I make it happen, how did I break up the numbers and what are the billables. I answered them all. Our Principals promised to work with us in that account. Eventually we won that order. It was huge. One of a kind. Record breaking during those days.

The message I am carrying with me all these years is this: I am a successful sales person who strongly believes in helping customers. There is no other sure shot smart way, I can think of.

Hope I pumped up your energy levels. You have it in you. Don’t forget your past successes. There lies the recipe for your success. Feel the raw energy in your veins. I listen to peppy music. I keep a hand grip on my table and keep pressing it from time to time. More importantly I keep a list of accounts on my table that I have won so far in my career starting from my first job. That inspires me a lot than anything else. Try it out for yourself and let me know.

Happy Selling!!

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Best investment advice!

What is the best investment advice you have ever received?

“It is not stocks or bonds or mutual funds” says Dave Kerpen. Now who is Dave Kerpen? I will come to that in a bit. Let us first finish what we have on our plate.

He says, your best investment may not even be starting your own business. It’s virtually free to invest, takes just a few minutes of your time, and the payout is HUGE, he says.

“It is GRATITUDE”, says Dave Kerpen. Yes, that’s the best investment advice.

Dave Kerpen is the Co-Founder of Likeable Media, a Social media marketing firm, and founder of Likeable Local.

Now, List down what you want to be Grateful for, today. You will then realize how blessed you are.

When you are grateful for what you have in your life, you have made your investment. And your investment doubles, triples, quadruples. There, you got it.

As a Sales professional, I am thankful to my clients, for the business they do with me, for the opportunity I get to serve them. Thank you.

Start making your investment today. What better day to start than today?

#inspiration, #gratitude, #investment, #thanksgivingday

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We are what we experience!

This happened in my life long ago.

I was not married then. I had just started my business in Bangalore. One night, I went to a Darshini [that’s what an eatery without tables & chairs is called] about 2 kms away from my home for my dinner. After dinner, a strange thing happened.

I suddenly felt giddiness & fell down. I quickly managed to get up without any help & started walking few steps.

Then, I squatted near a car that was parked there. One couple came near the car. They too had come to the same eatery & had just finished dinner. They were probably heading back home.

I didn’t own a bike or a car. I used to hire an auto. Also, I wouldn’t mind walking 2 kms one way.

This couple came to me & asked if I needed any help. I said “no”. But they still said they will drop me home. I didn’t want to take the help. Since they insisted, I told them where I stay & they said their home was also nearby & don’t mind dropping me home. They advised me to consult a doctor & dropped me in front of my home.

Now when I look back at that event, I thank them profusely for their act of Kindness. Such a Grace & Kindness are really very rare.

I wish to carry that grace & kindness forever with me in my life.

We are what we experience.

#kindness #grace #compassion #experience

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15 Tips for Winning a Sale!

How many times have you been so close to closing a sale but lost it in the end? I have been there many a times. But I didn’t lose the lesson. Let me sum up my learning and guide you to make a successful closing.

1. Ask for the order:

If your prospect keeps postponing the order without any real reason then they are trying to avoid you. You need to have the courage to ask them for the order and hear their real objections.

2. Qualify, Qualify, Qualify:

In the prospecting stage, we all make this mistake. In order to have as many prospects as possible in our pipeline, we try to qualify in a hurry and let some prospects into the pipeline but in reality they aren’t ready yet or do not have the need or money or both.

3. Probe, Probe, Probe:

Ask as many questions as possible during the sales process. Questions only lead you to find the real objections, find the real needs, know the budgets, get to know the decision makers and buyer’s perspective of your brand / product / company.

4. Face the objections and solve them:

Unless you face the objections and solve them you will lose it to your competitor. If there are no objections, then it means there is no need or you simply haven’t sold enough.

5. Assume you have won the order and talk about the next steps:

When you reach the closing stage in the sales process, ask them if they would need the delivery in a week or can they afford to wait for a fortnight. Would they prefer to get their people trained at their office or at your office?

6. Nurture the prospect:

Create the need if there is no need in the first place. Make them want it. Keep feeding them. Grow the relationship. Become the only face to remember for their needs.

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs

7. Figure out the reasons why they will not buy:

Early in the Sales Process, write down the reasons the prospect may have for not doing business with you or for not buying now. Try to address those. If it’s not possible to address them, drop it and move on to the next prospect.

8. Read the buying signals:

Have you implemented this for any other customer in our Industry?

What’s the RoI?

Can you provide me a cost savings calculation with your solution Vs competitor’s or Vs current systems.

How long will it take for you to deliver?

9. Align with the buyer’s journey:

Understand what stage the buyer is in right now and align with the buyer accordingly. If you are behind, it will be an insult to the buyer and if you are ahead then it would mean you are jumping the gun and in a split second the buyer would have got his reasons to reject you. Now, the prospects do their homework online prior to calling you, the salesperson.

10. Be confident.

11. Be Persistent. This is the key.

12. Build Trust. No one wants to do business with someone who is not trustworthy.

13. Be Patient:

It’s a marathon and not a sprint. Sales is not a sprint but a marathon!!

14. Put their needs before yours.

We get it. You have monthly targets to meet. But that’s not the prospect’s problem. They are not there to solve your problems. On the contrary, you are there to solve their problems.

15. Help them buy. Don’t sell. Ever.

All of us like to buy. Don’t we? We think the product or service that we are buying is going to make us a super hero. It is going to make us look modern. Belong to a cult. Put us in the upper crest. Will help us reach our goals. Make us knowledgeable. Make our lives easier, comfortable and efficient. Now, help the prospect achieve his / her goals and help them buy.

Happy Selling!! [I hear you ask: doesn’t this contradict the 15th item above? :)]

 

 

 

 

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What are your Goals for 2019?

Choose from the options below:
 
1. To be a good parent.
2. To read more books.
3. To make more money.
4. To spend more time with family.
5. To visit new places.
6. To help as many people as possible.
7. To be good in thoughts and actions.
8. To get fit, to eat healthy food & to stay healthy.
11. To work less but be more productive.
12. To achieve more than what we set out to.
13. To keep pushing our boundaries.
14. To inspire people.
15. To protect our planet.
16. To talk less.
17. To spend less time on social media. 🙂
18. To spend more time with friends, face to face.
19. To be a responsible world citizen.
20. To enjoy whatever life has to offer without harming, injuring or causing inconvenience to other living beings of the planet.
 
Wish you a Very Happy New Year !!
Happy Selling !!