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Pink buffalo with white horns….

Imagine this animal and then think about a scenario where a salesperson has to sell this at trade fair.
You thought right, it will draw lots of attention at the beginning, buyers will ask lots of how’s, why’s and where’s before settling for the final ask, how much milk will it produce and what is the offer price.Despite providing huge initial attraction, it will eventually boil down to the most fundamental questions of cost and benefits.
Yes, it may not apply to all the but surely to many.
For us sales guys who try to sell technology, we do all the great stuff to start the selling and build the attention, but I guess most of us fall short at the end when the user evaluate cost benefit. And that is why usually the conversion ratios are poor for all of us. The key question to ask is not what we are selling and how we are selling but what is the buyer buying and how is he buying. It is never about us, it is always about the buyer. And the easiest and best way to understand is by reading our behaviour when we are buying.
Few key sales behaviour which stood out when I was buying things.
  • Monks with suits: You will rarely see movies projecting salesmen in good light. A good and sustainable salesperson is simple going and very nice human. They are actually monks with suits. Why? Well ask yourself how many times you feel good buying from an arrogant salesperson, and promise to get back to them. Until unless it’s a giffen good, being good makes good business sense. We usually go to one specific paediatrician when in need. Does he charge less? No. Do we have to wait in queue? Yes. Actually meeting him is always pleasing and genuine besides his good knowledge.
  • A credit card salesman told me, Sir I understand u may already have a credit card, but I can offer you a brilliant credit card with no cost but good benefits. If you allow I want to speak for few more minutes. I said not now but call me on a Sunday, which he did and I got another creator card.
  • The car salesman asked me in detail what is my daily travel patterns and style, which highways and routes I take, where I stay and how frequently we have family car trips, and of course finally the budget. None technical but all user experiences while driving. Have a detailed understanding of the requirement. Having said that, don’t ask futile questions. Eventually, i did not buy that car but yes it was a serious contender when I was trying one.
We all buy people and personalities because we are social, buying and selling is just one more reason to get engaged with each other mutually profitably.
Keep the engagements loving & honest, rest will take care of itself…
Cheez Umesh

From the green pitch to the corner office….

The ball is faster you bloody bull, pass the ball…” – thundered my coach… A voice I can never forget and a lesson I still find useful. This was the first lesson to me on the soccer field. Running like a bull, helter-skelter and everywhere, we all do. Mired by cut-throat competition and ever-increasing replacements, we all have to run and run fast. But do we have to run like a bull, I think not.  “Strong on your feet and nimble in your head” – was the icing on the first lesson

Inside our cubicles, following are few soccer lessons, I still find pertinent

  1. The ball is always faster than the player: Invariably the ball always faster than you, to try to outspeed it is foolish. Trying to outrun and dribble around when you are surrounded by competition will not only tire you, it can injure you and also run out of steam before time. The trick is to rely on the team. Pass the ball to the nearest player and reposition yourself to get the ball back from him. Share your workload is the idea
  2. Trust: This brings me to my second lesson, to pass the ball you have to learn to trust. Fifa player of the year 2016, Ronaldo, Messi followed by Griezmann, Fifa Team of the year 2016 is  Germany, Brazil followed by Portugal. 2014 Fifa final, Germany drubs Brazil 7 to nil. Need i say more to emphasise team effort? These incidents say a lot. Learn to trust your teammates and build camaraderie.
  3. Mistakes – my fault, accolades – it is your: Trust comes when you are ready to say “If it goes wrong I am responsible if it goes right you are responsible. It requires an immense amount of courage even to think these words let alone execute it. This strategy is not be used in every scenario and with everyone. Having said that never shy away from giving this impression to your trusted ones. And if you are a leader, this gets you people who travel very very far with you….
  4. What is on TV is not what you play in real… last but not the least, what we see on tv are the meanest players of the world, high on steroids, augmented with brilliant technology and camera to make it look fast furious and entertaining. It is a result of many many years of practise off the field. Trying to emulate it is a disaster recipe, have your own plan, strategy and roadmap. Yes, take cues, guidance, help from the best you see around, at the end use your mind cause you are the best judge of your environment.

Keep the theme intact and the rest will follow…

Happy Diwali!!

The “ON” “BY” “WITH” way…

How did the thought come by? Well, midway through a cookery show, which I was kinda forced to watch with my daughter. Three teams slugging it out, lead by a head chef. And to put it rather lamely, the team which cooked the best, won the match and the goodies, and the accolades etc.etc.. pretty usual. What i could notice that all the three head chefs had their own distinct style of expression, broadly classifiable as “ON” “WITH” & “BY” styles. One “WITH” style, the Chef was quite into cooking (i.e. operational stuff included) and had a specific task cut out for himself, much like other mates. Pretty much equal amount of work which the team had, plus of course planning, managing and decision making and not to mention shouldering the result and facing the judges.

The other team had their head chef literally on the team, only into managing, decision making and allocating specific tasks to specific team lads, we say it the “ON” style. A lot less work compared to the “WITH” style and definitely a bossy guy demanding respect from the team and surely maintaining his panache and definitely passing on the critical comment from judges to the team through and through.

And finally, the “BY” style, a leader who lets his team define, decide and deliver and only stepped in when he felt things are not on track and needed a course correction. Works the least and the teams does everything from planning to delivery. With such leaders, the team shoulders both accolades and reprimands.

Let’s look at leaders from sports annals, almost all  “With” guys. Heavily worked, into thick of things and lose their position as soon as they stop performing. 

In the business world, you find primarily “ON” style leaders working wonders.

And finally let’s us look at leaders in the teaching or social sector, you would find them usually practising the “BY” style. A bit passive style where leaders are more like coaches and enable their team to perform.

Which team won finally, I thought I would share and give a direction to the thought. But while scribbling these, strangely I felt I was being a bit biased and may be, my opinion would lead to assumptions which may or may not be correct

To conclude, let the show winners ..stay at their show, my thought stays with me, while you choose which hat you wish to put on…

Get ur self a katappa first..

Everyone loves a Bahubali around, flamboyant casanovic and go getter. Be it sales, service delivery, operations, our talent acquisition team and of course the entire organisation is neck deep in getting, nurturing or retaining one. Not to mention the innate aspiration of all newbies to become one. 

In this mad rush to create, nurture and retail Bahubalees, we almost always overlook the one key pillar which keeps the Babubali chugging. The character which pocesses the rare virtue of reliability and integrity sans the artificial halo in and around his head. It cannot be taught neither does one inherit it but can only be self learned. A role much harder to play both in reel and real life because of its ego crushing and adrenalin snuffing nature..

A role played by most of the women in our life since ages. For me, it’s difficult to become a Katappa than Bahubali..

Go get urself a Katappa first, Bahubalees will follow…..

2 mobiles, 3 laptops and a perennial “low battery” life…

It isn’t only with me, its with all of us. A life infested with electronic devices and the perennial problem of low battery. For me its like my bank account, perennially low, unfortunately unlike banks mobiles devices do not have any “zero balance” option. Once I had to plead a uber driver to change my mobile battery to book a cab back home. Adding to the fun was the demonetisation drive. No money, low battery, little intoxicated and late at night somewhere in Gurgaon (sorry Gurugram)

The world of apps will continue give us a life of “low batteries” and lower attention span. Sooner than later there would be platforms available to develop you own app for your own distinct need in a jiffy.  It will be as easy as opening an email account. And the already endemic “low battery” is soon going to become a global gridlock. Realistically speaking, we cannot entirely shut the app world around us to solve the problem, but what we can do is have a more rational approach to address it.

For the corporate world we already have platforms which can optimise the life cycle and usage of plethora of apps companies develop and use, for us lesser mortals (retail users) i guess we will have to wait for some time. Till that time enjoy the only benefit of low battery…some mobile free time…

Blink Vs Thinking Slow…

I can never forget my first swimming lesson. Our trainer who himself was a teenager inspired  me enough to jump at the deeper end of the pool, and which of-course i did. He eventually dragged me out, violently coughing and gasping for breath. Sounds enterprising but trust me none of us would wish to be in such situations and for us corporate workers it more important than ever to deliberate before executing.

Be it blink (by Malcolm Gladwell) or thinking fast and slow (by Daniel Kahneman), the importance of thought before any action is a must always. However, the approach, which differentiates the two is stark. For me Blink is an interesting book to read but when it comes to real life action, i would rather be slow and take the help of tools and systems in place before the plunge or intuitively establish cause and effect relations