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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

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#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

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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

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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

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How I landed my first job…

That was 1992. Landed up in Chennai after my Engg graduation.

Took up a Scholarship exam conducted by NIIT. Those days, if you were not studying at NIIT, you were missing something.

Got 50% scholarship for 1 year course.

Paying them back with this post now. 🙂

NIIT didn’t sell software courses then. They sold dreams. You visualized your future.

Little did I know then that I was going to land my first job through them.

Also, underwent a course in Sales at NIS, National Institute of Sales, a div of NIIT then.

Loved my Sales course more. We had role plays & our tutor at times even recorded the call & played it back. Life rolled by.

One day, saw an Ad in the NIIT notice board for Mktg Exec at Sonata. My classes were between 7-9 pm & the student service center was always closed by then.

Went before 5 pm one day. Met them. They said it’s closed. First rejection.

Told them my name & that I’m doing a course at NIS as well. That’s it.

I went to my classes.

Later, after few days, they located me.

I got my first job.

Enjoyed my work so well that I could write a story now for every deal I closed, even after so many years.

Learning:

1. Branding can take you places.

2. Love your job / choose one that you love.

3. Strike while the iron is hot!

4. Marketing is nothing but weaving stories.

5. Product is a given. It’s marketing that makes all the difference.

#HappySelling

#work #job #b2b #career #dreams

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LinkedIn Tip: How to network!

If you want to connect with someone you don’t know, here is a tip:

First follow them. They will get a notification that you followed them. They will look at your profile and if they are interested, they will follow you back.

If they follow you back, you know they are interested.

Now, you can send them an invite to connect.

They will not say “I don’t know”, instead they’ll accept your invitation to connect.

I used to see a veteran walking his dog every morning in our neighborhood. First, I saw him. He saw me. Then I smiled at him. He smiled back. This happened for several days. Then we started saying “Hello, Good Morning”.

We then became friends and spoke to each other. He eventually became someone whom I trusted and consulted for advice. He treated me like his son. I treated him like my dad.

He and his wife even visited our home and invited us for their younger son’s wedding.

Learning:

  1. It is possible to get to know & network with anyone. Did I say anyone?
  2. You can sell to complete strangers [who else will you sell to], but make them your friends first.
  3. Sale happens when there is an exchange of value & reward. Prior to that become likeable.
  4. People buy from people. They know. And like.
  5. Whatever we did offline to crack into an Account applies on LinkedIn as well.

Happy Selling!!

#b2b #changethegame #sales #marketing #likeable #network #linkedin #tip

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Networking in Sales!

That was Year 1996.

I had just then started selling to Corporate. Until then, I was selling to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Selling to corporate called for lot more skills than selling to entrepreneurs & small businesses.

Networking skill is one of them.

We didn’t have #LinkedIn then.

I was hanging out where my clients met.

Road shows, seminars, conferences, product launches, workshops and any event where the corporate was in full attendance.

In most cases, the event would be conducted by our Principals – Microsoft, Oracle, IBM etc. We used to get a stall outside the hall to showcase our solutions.

Do you know how and when I met my clients?

During tea breaks and lunch time.

I sacrificed my lunch to go around and meet people. When they were having their lunch.

It used to pay off.

I would introduce myself. Exchange business cards. Would ask them if they are looking for some help.

I then promise to visit them soon and talk further. They’ll agree.

If there were 2000 people in attendance, I would have met at least 40 customers. That was just 2%.

But I have 40 contacts now.

I would start my outreach immediately after the event.

I provided value to my prospects before they bought anything. And I provided more value after the sale.

Coming back to networking, I networked not just with prospects and customers but also with competitors, partners and principals. Literally, anyone in the Eco-system.

I would know about the purchase of Air Conditioners by my prospect through the AC vendors, even though I was selling only Software.

All those strategies apply these days as well. On LinkedIn as well as otherwise also.

Stay tuned for more stories.

Happy Selling!!

#sales #customers #prospects #networking #skills

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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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America, August, Apple, Amazon – A’s & the Aces!

You must have read the news, I am sure.

Apple became the first $ 1 Trillion company in terms of market valuation in August this year, followed by Amazon, the second $ 1 Trillion company.

What makes Apple & Amazon tick?

One thing I am sure, they are focused on Customer Experience & making lives simpler for their customers.

Daniel Martins, an independent researcher says: “It’s too high of a bar to assume that they’ll succeed at everything that they do.” “But at the same time, I think Amazon is the best combination in the world of the scale of a large company and that entrepreneurial DNA with the spirit of a startup.”

So, that’s the secret.

It is reported that Apple took long to reach there whereas Amazon sprinted to get there. Amazon took 3 months to cover the last 200 billion whereas Apple took 15 months to do the same, news agencies reported.

Apple was founded in 1976 & Amazon in 1994.

Amazon generates an annual revenue of 178 Billion & in 2018 it may make a paltry sum of 8.5 Billion as profits. It employs around 550,000 people worldwide.

While there are differences between these two Trillion Dollar Giants, the common thing is this: They both know how to market and sell.

Jeff Bezos = Bill Gates + Warren E. Buffett, in terms of Net Worth.

Between Apple and Amazon, one sells at a premium whereas the other lowers prices consistently. You know who.

Some ideas to follow:

  1. If you do Marketing right, everything will fall in place.
  2. Create great Customer Experiences.
  3. Create excitement – on your products & services – and for people to work with you
  4. Have an entrepreneurial DNA.
  5. Have the spirit of a start-up.
  6. Be agile. Respond faster.
  7. Make lives simpler, better & a lot easier.
  8. Sell your dreams. Products will follow.
  9. Create a community of believers.
  10. Last but not the least: You can even start today. And Create. [I didn’t say “Compete”, for a good reason.]

Happy Creating!

Happy Selling!!

#sales #startup #ideas #marketing #branding

Contact us at:

Sales at zignalytics .com for any help in Marketing / Sales / CRM.

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An Interior Designer reveals his secret!

I asked him how me manages his customer data, in the hope that I will generate interest for a CRM.

He is my friend. And it was a casual conversation. He laughed & said “we don’t have too much data to manage”.

What he said after that makes sense.

He said that he & his team complete the interior designing of a flat or a villa or an office space & hand it over to customers. We make sure that they are happy, he said. They refer customers to us & most of our business comes only through word of mouth & referral, he added.

He said, he mostly gets invited for the inauguration of the property. It is there he meets his prospective customers. Now there’s the secret sauce. Hang on for a second. He said, if those people, his customer’s friends & relatives, who come for the inaugural function, like his work, they will take his business card & call him when they have a need.

This is nothing but in-bound marketing coupled with social proof, touch & feel & non salesy approach all put together. What more can you ask for? He has all the relevant marketing strategies with right mix & proportion. It is a well oiled machinery. It will take care of itself.

He should only concentrate now on deliveries, quality, speed & customer satisfaction. Fantastic, isn’t it?

Some pointers for us, to work on:

  1. Be where our customers are.
  2. Be non-salesy.
  3. Provide social proof.
  4. Let the word of mouth spread.
  5. Provide good customer service.
  6. Create a community of happy customers.
  7. Let our customers touch & feel. Test Drive, Free Trial, Freemium, Freebies, what have you?
  8. Get referrals. No sales involved with the referred prospect. Our customers do the marketing & sales for us.
  9. Pick up the phone. Meet face to face.
  10. Be friendly. After all, we don’t live to sell or do business & make money. Only.

Happy Marketing!

Happy Selling!!

sales @ zignalytics .com

#marketing #inbound-marketing #wordofmouth #referral