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

LinkedIn Top Voices 2020: India

LinkedIn Top Voices 2020: India is out. In case you missed it, you can view it here:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/linkedin-top-voices-2020-india-abhigyan-chand/

In a world where people, ask you to double tap for a surprise or copy paste others’ stories or narrate stories about how they gave a job to the most deserving candidate or ask you to click on these icons – “like” or “celebrate” or “support”, if you like working from home or office or both, here is a list of people who genuinely drive engagement on their posts with their insights and tips in their domain.

If you are not following them, you should, depending on your interests.

LinkedIn has released Top Voices 2020 in various categories:

  1. Data Science and AI
  2. Design
  3. Education
  4. Entrepreneurship and Small Business
  5. Equity in the Workplace
  6. Finance and Economy
  7. Frontline Health Care
  8. Frontline Retail
  9. Job Search and Careers
  10. Marketing and Advertising
  11. Sales
  12. Sports
  13. Technology

Also, LinkedIn has released lists region wise.

Here is the complete list: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/linkedin-top-voices-2020-meet-professionals-driving-todays-roth/?published=t

#HappyLearning

#HappySelling!!

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

Ideas are nothing, it’s the execution that matters!

That was a time, a friend of mine & I were deeply engrossed in discussions on what to start. I was running a small Professional IT Services firm & he was employed with an IT major then.

We met during the weekends and spoke about everything under the sun. We kept our eyes and ears open & saw what was happening in the market.

Once, he had just returned back home after a short trip to the US. He asked me if we should develop a taxi hailing app. That was much before “Taxi For Sure” or Ola in India or Uber in the US. I am not sure what happened next and why we didn’t jump into that at that point in time.

I have learnt one thing in life. You have to take risks. There’s no easy route to success. And it’s never late. There’s always an opportunity. Or ways to differentiate what already exists.

If you are chasing a dream of starting up on your own, I advise you to start it as a side gig and work on it passionately outside of your 9-5 job. Rajiv Srivatsa, COO of Urban Ladder, an online furniture retailer said, in Aug 2018: “In the next 20 years, the strongest brands in any category will start purely online, reach out through the power of these marketplaces, and, as they build a sustainable brand, look at other channels to expand to.”

Put on your thinking hats!

Get creative!

Build something!

HappySelling!!

#b2b #b2c #sales #entrepreneurship #business

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

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, “The 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

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

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]. 🙂

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!!