Thursday, May 31, 2012


Selling By Research (SBR) : THE FATE OF THE COLD CALL

Hi Friends,          
This blog post has been republished on popular demand. Have a great day.

The day is very near when the “Cold Call’ will become extinct. Yes! ---I mentioned exactly what you heard.
Before all of you come onto me for ‘blasphemy’, I would like to clarify that I am only talking about High Value Capital Equipment selling and this is not generalized to include all types of selling. But why should cold calling be extinct in capital selling.
The answer is simple. Because of the internet and globalization.

Tell me one thing. Suppose you are the customer and you have allotted one hour of your precious time to Mr.X who is from a company manufacturing water-line valves. Say, you carry out turn-key projects involving water distribution and you need some competition among your vendors. But what does Mr X do? He asks you what you do, he asks you about your projects, tells you that they manufacture valves and asks you whether you have any requirement. You conclude that this gentleman is on a cold call..What you do next depends upon the selling capabilities of Mr. X and I'll leave you people to think of a way vide which Mr. X can  be penalized because of his audacity.
Now consider this. You receive a phone call from a reputed valve manufacturer who knows about your company etc. He tells you that he has learnt about your bagging a multi million dollar contract (you are impressed) and that he, Mr Y, would like to give a presentation on his they save you energy, etc)
I don't need to be a magician to tell you that the next order will be bagged by whom.

Now, let's bring you onto a secret. Mr Y received some news that the project has been allotted to your company. He then finds all about you, your requirement. He is a make approved by the consultant. He wants to come and tell you all about why his valves should be purchased. Mr Y has done his research and therefore wins.Mr Y shows the customer what's in it for him or where the customer will win, unlike Mr.X.

This is all the more true in recent times because technically almost all brands are equal. Their prices differ because of quality. Unfortunately, quality is not a tangible parameter. Whether you get the order today depends still more on your research therefore.

This , ladies and gentleman, is the art of SBR at the basic level. No more cold calls in this segment will succeed. If you recognize this and accept it, you will save valuable time.

Recently, a slogan called "Never cold call again" has become popular, but I think it was me who first said those words, in capital equipment and heavy machinery selling'. Anyway, whoever was the first, the fact remains that cold calling is a dying art and as soon as SE Asia leaves it, the better.

Thursday, May 10, 2012



In key account management in India, relationship selling plays a large role. Generally, vendor development is an area which is not much stressed on. Five vendors for a single product scenario's are considered to be competitive. Therefore, if you are a new entrant in a segment, the only way to generate inquiries is to be in constant touch and build up the relationship. And let me tell you,without a domestic set-up or without an arrangement via which you can provide instantaneous service, do not make the mistake of setting ship here.

Now we come to the Key a/c funda! Your major customer accounts are your Key accounts and the others are your non-key accounts. Though every salesperson will swear that they give equal attention to all customers, that's not true..and everyone knows it. You have to give your key accounts more attention because although let's say, you do mean it when you say that thing about equal time, there are only 24 hours in a day and as you become a more and more accomplished salesman, situations will come up where your time will be asked for by two/three customers at the same time. As you don't have clones of yourself, you need to give priority to one customer. Which one should that be? No contest..the key a/c customer. If all of them are key a/c, use your relationship experience to predict whose need is more urgent. And you have to make heavyweight relationships with all your key customers. Do you ever wonder why experienced salespeople sell the same thing or search for new jobs with the same background ? Its because of the key customers. Your ultimate goal is to make your customer think of you whenever they require something you are selling, not even the brand, you! So changing to a new job in a different line will mean that your key accounts will not remain key accounts any longer. You have to make different key a/c customers from scratch. What a colossal waste of time and effort!

Say you have been assigned to a new area or you are drawing a sales plan. The first thing to do is to make lists of the potential customers  and existing customers. Rely on data for at least two years. How do you find out the potential key accounts at the earliest in a virgin territory. For every selling of a product, there has to be some similarities. List out all the key account customers in your last area. Make two columns like Common and Different. Fill those up. Say you have customers a,b,c,d and e who were key a.c who had 1,2,3 and 4 common things and 5,6,7,8 uncommon. Among your potential customers find out who satisfies this criteria. You have your key a/c customers. This method can give you 70% accuracy and the 30% inaccuracy is because we are assuming that all customers are static in time. Actually they are not. All of them are changing.. some customers are expanding, some are diversifying, some are going bankrupt. (After comparing you can start by concentrating on those potential key accounts where competition is less). Making new customers is a hell of a easy job then taking your competitor's customers from them.

Take these factors into consideration too and you'll have a reasonably accurate list with you.You can start planning only when you have this list. This is a logical plan.You want to be illogical, you just take your target and allot it to different customers. Of course, you'll fail here and a  strange thing is that often top management asks you how much are you going to sell in a new area without any market idea. Even if you explain it to them, they don't listen..In such a situation, i just make an illogical plan and at the end put in small type. " This plan has been made as a guideline. only as the market is not known.Changes will be made after proper market study"-something like that.

But you should not just do as I say blindly. Utilize those little grey cells called common sense. I am just giving you the skeleton. You have to put in the flesh yourself because all situations differ from each other. Some a little and some a lot. You also have to deviate from the plan to that extent. Try it out folks!..It's challenging and fun.

That should be enough for today
Till next time friends,
from Bilbo