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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. πŸ™‚

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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Conversation Starters!

How are you?

That’s weird & not what you should be asking your prospects or customers.

It doesn’t mean anything. Certainly not a conversation starter.

For you to have a fruitful discussion over phone or in person, you need to engage your customer in a way that sparks his or her interest.

If you understand their business & the person, you will readily have a range of things to speak about.

Some ideas:

  1. Innovations in their domain
  2. Pet projects they are working on
  3. What they truly care about
  4. Ask, what they are working on right now, in a non-intrusive way
  5. Milestones reached by them
  6. Their Products/Services
  7. Their People
  8. Their Work culture
  9. Their CEO
  10. Their campaigns & all the noise they are making in the marketplace

You got it.

It’s out and out their Story, their Show and your love for their Company.

Get them talking.

You shouldn’t be talking.

You just listen. And. Take. Notes. In your Mind.

#HappySelling

#b2b #sales #enterprisesales #business #changethegame #conversationstarter #engage #people #customers #prospects

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Track your competition!

Those were the days I was hungry for leads.

I used to trouble my tech support guys for leads.

Not a good lead source, you say. Hang on.

One such day, my tech support guy said “go to xyz [name of a place]” unable to bear my pestering.

Not knowing where to go, I knocked on all doors & accidentally found a training institute & met few people. Left my cards with every other department where I couldn’t meet anyone.

Two days later, the unimaginable happened.

I got a call.

Rest is history.

That turned out to be a very big order for many software for multi location.

My colleague had been in touch with his ex-colleague & friend. He casually heard him say that he had been to that place but didn’t tell him the client name.

I found it out.

Later, I asked my colleague how did he get that lead. That’s when he told me about his conversation with his ex-colleague.

This story helps me work with optimism till date.

Takeaways:

  1. Follow your competitors, if you cannot be there before they do.
  2. Be optimistic.
  3. Ask your colleagues, if you are stuck somewhere.
  4. Be at the right place at the right time. If you cannot be early, that is.
  5. Highlight your strengths.
  6. Allow the buyer to contact you & help them make it their decision to choose you. This is very important.

#HappySelling

#b2b #changethegame #sales #marketing #leads #business #leadgeneration #competition

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Copy the kids!

“Get up, Son!” called out a mom.

“It is getting late for School, Son”, she said.

You have to take bath, say your prayers, eat breakfast. Get up!

I don’t like to go to School, mom.

Why dear?

Nobody likes me there. My teachers don’t like me. Students don’t like me too.

I understand son. But then you have to go to School.

When you are the Principal, everyone will be waiting for your orders and hence you cannot bunk school.

I can hear you say “that was a good one”.

It is essential for us adults to copy the kids. Kids have abundant energy and drive. Why shouldn’t we have them too?

It’s in our minds.

Let’s get back to our childhood.

And get back our phenomenal energy & drive.

Happy Kidding!

Happy Selling!!

#sales #b2b #marketing #leadershiplessons

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Rediscovering the β€œArt” of Prospecting!

John Barrows & M. Jeffrey Hoffman conducted the webinar “John Barrows Goes Back to School: Rediscovering the β€œArt” of #Prospecting” yesterday or today [depending on where you live :)].

I enjoyed it thoroughly. What an energy & insight. Learnt about “Why you? Why you now?” technique to turn cold calls and cold emails to hot ones. How to get them to call you back?

It is important to connect with the C level but start from bottom. Bottom-up approach. That Fedex story is going to stay with me forever.

My takeaways:

1. Fake it to yourself until you actually make it.

2. Connecting with the non-buyer first to learn something that you can use when you have the live conversation with the buyer.

3. Prefer live conversations with a non-buyer over email interaction with a buyer. [more relevant now, when all of us are getting thousands of emails]

4. Look for triggers while prospecting.

5. Energy and enthusiasm are important in Sales.

6. Keep yourself busy always.

7. Do not jump on the inbound leads at once. Give it some time before you do that.

8. Do not use all that you have learnt in an MBA when you interact with the C Level.

9. Have the maturity to walk out of a deal early if there is no fit.

10. During discovery & prospecting call, disqualify more than you qualify.

#Happyselling #b2b #sales #salesprocess #changethegame

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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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How to make friends instantaneously?

My better half & I had been to a hospital recently. Ok, don’t panic. Nothing related to the pandemic. Far from it. We were waiting in the reception for some tests and watching everything roll by.

There was a tiny cafe tucked in one corner of the reception. A doctor walked up and asked for a “kashayam” and kept asking “is it ready” every now & then. “Kashayam” is nothing but a herbal drink. We Indians [that includes our Doctors too] strongly believe that our traditional herbs will help us build up our immunity.

Another doctor who just then walked in, saw this and was curious what it was. The first doctor said what it was and advised him to take it as well. The second doctor asked jokingly if he would survive taking it. He asked the cafe staff for its contents, in a typical medical style. They showed him a list on a mobile phone. Convinced, he ordered one drink for himself.

He got his drink and walked up to the reception counter and told his staff jokingly that he had not had “kashayam” after his childhood and asked the ladies there to take a photo of himself, on his mobile phone, to capture his first reactions sipping the herbal drink. They did. And he said “not bad” after tasting the drink.

He then looked at his photo, laughed & said “my face looks crumpled”. He promised to post it as his status. Then he walked up to me, a complete stranger, showed his photo on his phone & smiled. I got up and said it was looking great.

All this while, my wife and I were smiling & laughing looking at his antics. The Doctor & I became friends in a split second. He advised me to have the drink as well.

When you like someone they like you back as well. Thanks to Vanessa Van Edwards for that learning.

In #Sales, we should use #humour to make friends with our #customers and #prospects. We should do it subtly. The relationship will stay strong for the rest of our lives. I have experienced it.

How are your numbers looking up for the month? Forget the #numbers for a while, use humour and build up strong #relationships now.

Three cheers to you in advance for building up Strong Relationships!

Happy Selling!!

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Startups know how to use time wisely!

3:55 pm is your appointment. Be specific. Ms.Jules has another meeting at 4 pm.

That was a scene from the movie “The Intern”.

The movie captures the #startup scene quite well.

Among all that,

  1. The #speed with which the entire team operates,
  2. The founder getting into customer service calls,
  3. The founder taking special efforts to ensure that a customer, a would-be bride, receives her dress on time in an impeccable manner,
  4. The founder visiting the warehouse and teaching the staff how to pack the stuff after ordering an item from the company herself &
  5. Congratulating someone in the team by ringing a bell when he/she achieves some milestone

are some of the great moments to learn from.

A lesson in #customerexperience #timemanagement

And if there is one difference between startups and big businesses, then this is that: Startups know how to use their time effectively and they don’t do long meetings. Decisions are taken on the fly. People are empowered to take decisions.

In contrast, when we want to reach someone in big businesses, you always hear that they are in a meeting.

Let us pledge to use #time effectively.

Happy Selling!!

#happyselling #b2b #changethegame #sales #marketing #customerservice

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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. πŸ™‚

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!!