Never criticise competition! You’ll be the biggest loser

We recently moved to a new and bigger office for our business Asbicon in the UK and were looking for telecom companies to set up a phone system exchange with extensions etc. and had invited a few suppliers to assess our needs and provide options with quotes. Sales person of one of the suppliers had finished his presentation and was on his way out while another supplier’s salesperson came in. He said to me ” The cowboys are also pitching” IT WAS AN INSTANT TURN OFF!!

He started with talking about why this other company, his competition was useless and why he was much better etc. Although his solution was reasonable however, his credibility in my mind hit a bottom when his starting pitch was criticising competition. This is one example, we come across many such situations in dealing with sales people.

We need to focus on facts not negativity. We absolutely need to show why our product/solution is better but that needs to be done focused on facts rather than by insulting competition. If a client brings up competition or even if you proactively want to address the strengths you have versus competition, it is advisable to acknowledge that the competition provide a product/solution and they might have their own strengths but you are here to show why your product/solution is better

Focus on your strengths, your key points of differentiation and invest your energy positively in elevating your credibility

Compare don’t criticise

“If You, Then I”- The most powerful negotiation tool

You are in a client meeting wanting to get agreement for a new product you want the client to sell. The client asks you for promotional support-you agree, the client asks for lowering the minimum order quantity- you agree, the client asks for reduction in price- you agree. Sounds Familiar? Did you get anything extra in return for agreeing to all those demands which might cost extra to you?

Now think for a second… What if when the client asked you for extra promotional support and instead of a straight yes you replied with:

“If You can agree to a minimum order quantity of X, then I will be happy to increase promotional support”

Similarly for any demand what if you use this response of “If You, Then I”?

Using this response will most likely help you to:

1) Not give anything without getting something in return
2) Strengthen your position
3) Create a fair negotiation platform
4) Provides the buyer with an incentive to agree to your requirements as well

There might be certain demands that you have which might have lower cost for the client but higher value for you and likewise, some demands that the client has which have low cost to you but high value to them. However, if you don’t ask the question of what you can get in return for agreeing to a demand/agreeing to a concession, the trading of those benefits cannot happen.

Infact, not only in a business scenario, try this out in your personal lives, with your partners, with your children. Next time when you get a demand for a new video game try something like ” If you get me an A in maths, then I am happy to get you a new PS” and see the magic happen….

Resilience can bend almost anything and anyone!

Weekend words of thought inspired by this great video shared by a good friend. Staying strong in the face of adversity and holding your position can frustrate any adversity trying to impact you.

Be strong and watch the challenge wither away!

If you are not living on the edge, you are wasting space!

Not my quote but has stayed with me since I heard it many years ago. In the mad rush to achieve whatever we have set out for ourselves, we forget to relish and enjoy the journey we have to take to get to our goals.

Many a time it is those adrenaline rushes, the palpitations, the anxiety, the eagerness, the unknown, operating outside comfort zone etc. that keeps us on the edge but feeling alive and excited. It is normal to be in those situations if you have set ambitious goals. If you don’t experience these either you are not following your passion or your goals are very conservative.

Next time you start feeling uncomfortable when you set yourself a stretch objective, relish it. You might miss that feeling one day.

This clip from Only Fools and Horses sums it up nicely for me..

Do what is right by your conscience. Trying to match to everyone else’s definition will not work

I genuinely feel that almost everyone starts with a strong moral compass and the ability to take right and fair decisions. This is refined over time by one’s experiences and education to help distinguish between right and wrong. The way human fabric works, we are able to absorb what comes our way in terms of information and make choices.

This compass gets corrupted when one tries to do things by the definitions imposed by others of what is right. Some examples being influences of religion, customs, peer pressure, society perceptions etc. In our hearts we all know what is the right thing to do but still do what others tell us is right. In many such situations in the end neither we are happy nor are the people whose direction we have followed as what is done is never enough. This can lead to a feeling of despair.

Follow your heart and feel the strength that provides you. Notice the burden of not doing what you really wanted to slowing drifting away!

It took me 25 years to become an overnight success!

The 25 years bit is right, it was April 1993 when I first started working as a door to door salesman in Delhi, India. The Overnight success bit is something I have seen some people attribute to me, which I am not 100% sure of as we have a long way to go. However, for me the fact that I can pen down my thoughts in peace almost on a daily basis now while I have a fantastic team running the ship from different parts of the world can be defined as a personal success and yes it has taken 25 years!

The concept of building million or billion dollar brands overnight is a huge exception rather than the norm. Most normal businesses are build with sweat, blood and tears. If anyone feels that it will be easy to come up with an idea and get a millions valuation, yes, possible but not very likely and definitely not a walk in the park. Until you plan to build a sustainable business which comes with huge investment of time, pain, effort and uncomfortableness you might be starting off on a wrong foot.

Also success doesn’t mean we can sit pretty. Although we have a great sales team, I still knock on opportunity doors myself. Keeps me grounded ( especially when we get a No, which are still quite common). that still acts as a fuel to do more!

You started a Business? Be very very proud! You did what millions wanted to do but couldn’t

As a business owner/entrepreneur it is easy and normal to have self doubt now and then. Did you do the right thing? Are your plans good enough for growth? Will the finances be enough? Did you make the right decision in the last call? Not enough clients etc etc..

But the fact that you were brave enough to take the plunge and work against odds to make your dream come true is already a testament to your strength.

Hold your head very high, make a victory fist and celebrate your conviction! What brought you here will be a catalyst to get you there as well!

Nurturing a Business and our Children is very Similar!

We started our business Asbicon few days after our daughter was born in 2009. We celebrate her birthday and just a few days later Asbicon‘s birthday. Since she was young she would always accompany me to the office during her time off from school.

It was day before yesterday when she again accompanied me to the office and sat proudly in my chair (she always does that ?) and as I was watching her, it occurred to me that there are so many similarities in bringing up a child and growing a business.

Some obvious ones that came to mind:

1) You want to give them a good foundation

2) You want to ensure that ethics are inculcated in the right way

3) A business makes mistakes similar to the way a child does and you have to ensure there are lessons learnt from that

4) You have to be both hard and soft at times to give them the best possible chance in life

5) You learn from them

6) Both grow gradually and surprise you at many junctures

7) You cannot always predict what they are going to do

8) Warms your heart when you see them perform

 

Their success is your happiness..