The-Birth-of-a-Salesman-with-I-Wish-I-Could-Sell

The Sales Journey starts – “You can’t do it”- That’s Wonderful!

I came across a nice LinkedIn post from an individual sometime ago where he listed down an array of demotivators thrown at him when he moved to Canada such as “You will not find a job in your field”, “You will not be able to have a senior position if you want to settle here”,” You will need to adjust your expectations downwards” etc etc. He then proceeded to proudly share that “He was glad he only listened to himself” as he was now on the Board of Directors of a reputable organisation within that year.

I assume most of us have come across such situations in our personal & professional lives where we are faced with similar statements/doubts expressed on capabilities. There can be one of three outcomes in such a situation:

1) Get demotivated/stop attempting

2) Not affected/carry on as planned

3) Challenge becomes a huge motivation/multiply the effort.

In my personal experience these have actually proved to be huge motivators to try to accomplish what has been stated as “can’t be done”. Granted that subject to limits of science and supernatural not everything will be possible but hope you get my gist:-).

It was the year 1993, I had just given my year 10 exams ( sort of equivalent to GCSEs) and had about 4 months of holidays coming up. Although it has been quite common for 14+ year olds taking up jobs in Europe, Americas etc., in the Northern Indian town of Faridabad where I grew up it was almost unheard of ( landscape has changed a bit over the last decade or so but still not common) due to multiple factors such as too young, family reputation, limited belief in capability etc.

However, in very simple terms, in my heart I wanted to learn the value of money and expressed a desire to my family that I wanted to work . You guessed the response right…”You can’t do it”. The third outcome as above kicked in and I stepped up efforts to find a way. As luck would have it, found out about a boy known to my family who I learned had starting going to Delhi as he had taken up a job there. Spoke to him and was told that he works for a toy company. Somehow convinced my father to accompany this boy called Happy for one day and see if it was something decent to be involved in.

As agreed with Happy, I reached his home the next day at 7:30 AM to go to Delhi with him. Not sure why, but surprise surprise, he had left without me. Now definitely couldn’t just go back home and miss this golden chance and in those days there were no cell phones so couldn’t contact Happy either. I remembered Happy had told me that the company he works for is based in “East of Kailash”area in Delhi and had shared the company name. Armed with these 2 pieces of information, without ever having travelled alone to Delhi and that too on Public transport, I headed for the old Faridabad train station( Google hadn’t graced our lives yet:-)). At the station enquired about the train stop I should get off at in Delhi to reach East of Kailash and learned about Okhla, my destination station for the day. Once I reached East of Kailash ( it was not a couple of blocks, more like a small town), I started enquiring about this Toy company and after about an hour, luck smiled and a phone shop( called STD/ISD booths in India) which this toy company used to route their long distance calls gave me their address. Late morning, I arrived at A3-East of Kailash, which was originally a house but now had offices in the basement & ground floor and someone’s residence on the upper floors. The toy company’s office was in the basement. When I entered the office, my friend Happy was there and was suitably surprised. Anyway, spoke to the boss and found out that this particular office employed people for door to door selling of their Soft toys and board games. They said they would give me a trial for a week and I jumped on the chance.

So that day in April 1993, armed with around 20kgs of toys and games on my shoulder, with a desire to learn and motivated further by “You can’t do it”, at a grand age of 15, on the streets of South Delhi was my first day at work! The journey of a salesman had begun.

That day defined my life. I ended up working there for the remaining 3 months and that is where my love for Sales was born. There are many other memories of knocking on doors, my first sale etc. which I might share in future posts. Since then, there had to be a component of work along with my studies and I ended up working part-time all through my graduation in Sales roles. Most of the times “You Can’t do it” challenge has worked positively for me as a motivator and also as a catalyst to help push boundaries, get out of comfort zone etc on multiple occasions. It is not surprising that the same must have played a huge role in the lives of many people we have come to respect such as Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, Richard Branson etc. and must be a key ingredient in their success.

So next time, someone says to you” You can’t do it”.. just say and feel “That’s Wonderful!” 

Ankur Shiv Bhandari

The-Birth-of-a-Salesman-with-I-Wish-I-Could-Sell

Customers don’t know what they want, You do!- Believe and help them

How many times have you doubted the strength of your product or service? How many times have you asked yourself the question “Do they really want what I am selling?” Am I wasting my time?”. However, if you genuinely believe that the Product or Service you are selling is going to make a positive difference for the customer, then the power is really in your hands. “Customers don’t know what they want, You do!” is a bold statement to make, I know. However, think about this. You have spent 5 years perfecting or learning about a Product, Service, Model or a simple proposition. Chances are you have looked at it from multiple angles and viewed it within many scenarios and in many cases know the value it can bring to your customer from different areas more than they know.

The onus is on you to articulate that in a simple way for your customers to help them understand the benefit of what you are proposing and help them believe why they really need it. But before that you yourself need to believe, what you have can make that difference. Steve Jobs believed Apple can change the world and it did, Colonel Sanders of the KFC fame believed that he had a winning recipe and it did win and I can quote many others but I guess you get the gist. For any of these,success did not come overnight but they persevered and it did come. Many of you might have seen the Steve Jobs movie where he said “People don’t know what they want until you bring it to them” is so true.

A similar scenario plays out from my chosen clip today from the movie ”The Hundred Foot Journey”. Have a look and would be good to know what you think?

 

Regards,

Ankur Shiv Bhandari

The-Birth-of-a-Salesman-with-I-Wish-I-Could-Sell

The Birth of a Salesman with “I Wish I Could Sell”

Hello Everyone,

For those of you who don’t know me, I pride myself on being a salesman at heart. Having started my sales career in the 90s, I have seen interesting changes in sales team’s profiles at different levels and in different geographies across the years. I have been lucky enough to have supported sales and marketing initiatives in more than 50 countries and across different channels from the most organised to the most fragmented such as those supporting BPL ( Below Poverty Line) consumption in the developing world.

In the recent few years there are a few key topics around Sales & Distribution management which I feel very passionate about and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on those with you. One topic which I have seen discussed a lot recently is the relevance of a Sales person in today’s Digital world. I have seen some posts marking the phenomenon as the death of a sales person’s role, lost world of sales etc etc. This amuses me quite a lot as in my view this changing landscape is and should be “The Birth of a Salesman”, birth of a salesman who can be relevant in today’s world, birth of a salesman who can use his amazing skills from previous experiences such as relationship building to bring more life into the management of current channel landscape and birth of a salesman who combines richness of being able to understand customer needs with the agility of being able to fulfill them through the modern digital methods.

I will share more details on that perspective through this medium of “I Wish I Could Sell” so watch the space. Through “I Wish I Could Sell”, I will be sharing blogs that capture my learnings from the sales journey across years and geographies. I will also be sharing podcasts on key areas impacting the world of sales.

Look forward to connecting.

Regards,

Ankur Shiv Bhandari

Ankur Shiv Bhandari

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 by 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.

Ankur Shiv Bhandari

“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….

Passion in Sales- What are the boundaries?

For the past many years, there is a daily ritual I have. Watching a movie or a series episode everyday. I devote 1 to 2 hours almost daily towards this and feels quite therapeutic, relaxing and interestingly enough provides me with some good insights. After all, the cinematographic worlds many times are a reflection of our real worlds. There are certain clips which inspire,motivate or even force you to think about applications in real life. I will be sharing some of those in days to come but this particular one from a movie I recently watched was hilarious and thought provoking at the same time. How much passion in Sales is Good? Are there or should there be any boundaries? What do you think?