Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Lying To Your Customers, In Industrial Selling

           Is lying to your customer justified in Industrial Selling? Why not? people think and reason. In the FMCG line, people do it all the time in product advertisements. So, why not in Industrial goods and Capital Equipment? Moreover, we are talking about a few white lies here and there. What is so wrong in it? 

     Sorry for doing it this way but lying in Industrial Selling is simply N-O-T A-C-C-E-P-T-A-B-L-E. The big deal here is that lying and sales have become so intertwined that customers simply add safety periods on to time periods being given to them. And, I talk here in case of both Internal Customers and External Customers. In a business organization, all the people to whom a person gives out information are its customers. For example, assembly gives out information to dispatch as to when an order will be ready which gives information to dispatch which gives information to Sales regarding a dispatch. Thus, dispatch is the customer of assembly and sales is the customer of dispatch, they are Internal Customers. Sales passes on the information to the External Customer. The information flow  in many organizations is everything but the truth. Therefore, the salesperson's information is bound to be a distortion too. The difference is that all these negative points are filed in the customer's mind. When the next sales chance comes up, it becomes that much difficult for the salesperson to apply his organization's competitive edge as that has been worn away to some extent because of these distortions or lies along the product chain. There is one way in which this can be minimized and that is by progress posting online in the company's own servers or using cloud servers. Each and every point or station needs to have its on-line progress posting which should be accessible to the relevant departments. In any case, the sales person should not lie in such cases but tell the truth. He should not make any confirmations unless he is sure of what he is confirming.

     This is the main area i.e. post sales before delivery periods that such things happen. One great thing about telling the truth is that in 90% cases, your relation with the customer will not be affected. In fact, the customer's dependability on you will go up when they realize that you can be relied upon to give an accurate picture of what is happening. The primary objective of a salesperson should be to build up relations with the customer, for it is only relationship selling that is going to mater in the coming future. If you do not know, what relationship selling is or unsure, you can take a look at what this blog has said about relationship selling in past posts. Just do not bring up that much abused word "next week" when the customer asks you when he can expect his delayed shipment. Just say " you do not know" and ask for time to give an accurate position to the much stressed customer.

    Lying is mainly post-sale lying that we are talking about here. Pre-sale lying becomes redundant if you have good product knowledge. If you are not sure about something, tell the customer that you want to check it up and ask him for time. In many cases, you'll be surprised at how easily you get the time. 

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Selling by Visualization

Selling by Visualization

Hi Friends,

                 Today, we’re going to discuss another selling tip or technique, whatever which we will call “Selling by Visualization”. Now, Selling by Visualizing is a way of trying to sell by certain imaginative exercises to be carried out, prior to the actual call. As usual, I am talking about Industrial Selling. It should work to some extent in other sales processes too, but don’t quote me as I have never tried it out other than in Industrial Selling.

Things to know

  1.      It’s a way of not letting nervousness rear its head, by increasing your confidence. Confidence is a property that any salesperson needs to possess as the more the confidence; the more are the chances of the sale.
  2.              Confidence without basic product knowledge is useless. It is wastage of resources and can misfire badly.
  3.       Selling by Vision is not something to be tried out at the very first sales call. A little experience should be acquired before you try it out.
  4.          Besides selling, the process is useful in other situations too where confidence helps such as in a job interview.


            Let us suppose that the sales person which is you has got a sales call lined up with a potential customer. First you should do your homework as to how your product can help the customer, try to gather information about the purchasing methods of the customer, role of the competition in the customer’s plant, etc.

          Next step is to decide how to conduct the sales call. Here is where the experience is required. Let us assume that you will do a presentation, a simple power point slide presentation. 

         Now, the salesperson should close his eyes or if in public, keep them open but register nothing. The entire process from when he approaches the customer’s office to his departure at the conclusion of the call is visualized. Here, imaginative capabilities come in. Starting from the initial handshake, just visualize the call in your mind as if a movie is playing in front of you. Try to anticipate the questions which may come at different stages. There may be some which you cannot answer immediately. So, what answer will you give which does not give the customer wrong impressions. If done correctly, this will make you more prepared such as, say you are visualizing showing slides to a customer when there is a question about a connected matter, for which there is no slide in that particular presentation. You visualize yourself trying to find that slide and failing which says a great deal about how organized you are. Make a note to keep that slide ready. Go through the entire sales call and visualize a happy ending, say that the customer has asked you for a budgetary offer. Try to be realistic. The visualization can be in ordinary speed but what is vital is that you need to identify the turning points. Keep yourself ready for them. It is usually goof-ups in the turning points that prevents a sales presentation materialize into a sale.

        This may sound foolish as you are only imagining how the customer will react, you have no idea what will happen. That is of course true, but think about it and you will find that the customer’s possible reaction though a variable can be defined by limits. The second point is that this exercise is not a memorization technique but is aimed at enhancing your confidence, and increasing your positive energy-that feel-good-feeling. The final point is that it hardly takes a couple of minutes. So, what have you got to lose?

Friday, June 03, 2016

Just When You Think That It's Over.......Marginal Benefits of the Shrunk Globe

I guess its finally time to confess
friends. Sometimes, I like reading academic papers or books. Why?
Well, I guess I like to know about subjects which have been in the news, so that I can boast online why they are in the news. Or, going the other way around, subjects which are interesting and which haven't been in the news. Here too I can tell you friends why they haven't been in the news!! LOL!

Nothing like that. I like to read academic papers as I want to know but there is again a division here. Mind you, I am a Mechanical Engineer but Math and Statistics now seem to be Ogres to me. Of course, this is apart from the Math I do now daily in my profession. Anything else (especially Calculus) and it seems that someone has lit dark candles in my heart. Yeowl!!

Before Thomas L. Friedman wrote about it, I guess I never thought about the effects of the flat, shrinking world. (I prefer the word shrunk more than flat as 'flat' takes away the very essence of dimensions). But I guess that's why Mr. Friedman is who he is, journalist and celebrity author earning a million dollars per annum.  On the other side there is me who cannot even convince my readers to click on the 'damn' advertisements. They are not meant for aesthetic appeal, friends but are meant to be clicked upon. Sorry for getting carried away but going back to the story,,,,, etc. are some of my favorite sites. The other day, I was reading about management and leadership when I came across the term 'destructive leadership'. I read that Prof. Stale Einarsen has written an elaborate paper on the subject.

As you can imagine, I googled the subject and the paper and found it on Researchgate. I read this brilliant paper throughout but I could not stop the evolution of a small thought bubble in my mind which started growing big. The next day saw me e-mailing the professor, albeit a little warily as I had no idea of how busy Stale will be and most probably just delete my email. However, Stale immediately replied to me back( something which never happened in India when I was doing my degree) and cleared my conception.

I think that this is yet another marginal benefit of the shrunk earth. Stale is in Norway and I am in Kolkata, but he has not hesitated to show me the way. Since then, I  have written to a famous sociologist praising her book but informing her that chopsticks are not used in Nepal. The lady replied immediately and thanked me and told me that she will make the corrections in the next issue.
This is what I have to say folks. Marginal benefit is the benefit of producing one extra unit at the same fixed costs. My experience is like the marginal benefit of IT growth and the Internet .
The relevant mails are given below.

1. My mail to Stale
Sent: Friday, September 25, 2015 2:44 AM
To: StÃ¥le Einarsen
Subject: On Destructive Leadership

Dear Professor Einarsen,

I am an engineer from India and I’m sending you this mail  as I can’t seem to comprehend an aspect of your model of ‘destructive leadership’ in your paper “Destructive leadership behavior: A definition and conceptual model”.