Saturday, September 29, 2012

Stage II : The Most Important Stage

Hello Friends,

We now come to the middle 
portion, and the events that take 
place here, are going to make or 
break, all the hard work done. 
Here the main job is to
“Follow –Up”. Yes –I know that
follow ups can be a bit of a bore
But dude, there is just no help for it. You want to sell, you have to develop enthusiasm for follow-up
"Follow up has to be done if you want to sell."

There was once this Sales Guru called Pup
Whose favorite dish was fish-heads in Ketchup’
“The three basic rules" he'd say
“in the science of sales any day"
“Is follow-up, follow-up and FOLLOW-UP”

In Public Sector Tendering, what happens now is that Materials Dept. sends your file back to person who indented for it. This means the department and the officer who required it in the first place. I am assuming that you have built a relationship with the him/her by now. After that post in relationship selling, I am assuming that you-my readers-are using it to the extent possible.A few things have to be kept in mind when you are participating in Public Sector selling through Tenders, of capital equipment.

1.The "Indenter" is interested to know whether the equipment that you are trying to sell will give him the service he requires or not. Even if there is a single iota of doubt, he won’t proceed ahead on your proposal. Therefore, what you need to have in dollops is confidence. Because trust me, very few people can let their inner confusion not show outside. (The indenter will be an experienced person and he will barely need to ask two or three questions to know that you have no idea of what you are speaking about.). So try to get rid of all your confusion if you have any.

2.If you are representing a foreign OEM, then your product may have done fabulous work in Brazil and Peru. Do not make the mistake of glorifying these achievements. Their presence on your experience list is enough. Maybe you are new in India and have sold only one or two units so far. Glorify that achievement. That will serve you in better steed then the South American glorious stories.

Now, what about service? Do you have service people in your company who are competent as well as presentable? Or,  is your management only thinking about recruiting people? Or, maybe you have already hired experienced engineers and you've sent them overseas for training? Please note that you should not tell lies and untruths. If your product is slightly technically inferior, tell the truth. Even a person who is not the champion intellect is more likely to buy a slightly technically inferior product but with good service rather then a sophisticated gizmo which requires four(4) days for someone to come over from Koln.

Always remember that “ what the customer is interested in knowing: is how your product can help his organization in the subject application. He is definitely not interested in knowing about anything else before that..not the strict QA policy you have..not the prize for CRM your Paris Office, nor even your recent order from Mars. This may appear to be obvious but we sometimes fall victim to our ego's. Talk to the point.

 It maybe so that your competitor's equipment had failed somewhere. Maybe your accessory life is higher. Do not criticize your competitor. Do not bring these up. Sometimes you have to be a little unethical!. But  do keep a professional looking paper which lists everything...on a plain white paper with you where your competitor's evil record is exposed and your advantages are monetized to the extent possible. Use it discreetly only when required. (say customer says”I heard that your equipment caused problems in… from… You can then say its funny, look at this..maybe I’ve got something here..Aaah here it is..I’ve never told you anything because I don’t believe in negative marketing)

That's the end of Part II and the file goes back to the Materials department.
Looking forward to the next time,we sign off now
Your friendly blogger

Saturday, September 15, 2012



I do not know about you guys but I find the journeying part of any process, the most monotonic. The beginning is well, a little hard but after you begins and before you end   is the period which you may find boring, but is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART in a tendering process.

In my sales career, I have had the experience of excellent beginnings neutralized by poor follow up. And it is here that temperament and the confidence is necessary. People will try to sledge you so that you lose your concentration. There are no ground rules here. Everything is below the belt. And it is here that experience pays.
Therefore, it follows that it is here, in this stage, that you will be subjected to ridicule & challenges and as in cricket, it is necessary to keep your head straight. Think of all those runs you have scored against better attacks (if you have not, imagine you would have...forget about real life, if you cannot even DREAM about winning, you are suffering from acute loser blues! My friend, perhaps you should consider a different career and I'm not trying to be funny).

I think that before we move on to another block, maybe we should have a recap. And here goes
Tender Openings: What a specialist does
1. Be present when the tender is being opened, if it is a press tender.Do not be late.
2. Try to make a rolling-your-eyes.."young kids really" expression to the bossman.
3. Don't antagonize anyone but stand up to get the information you are entitled to.
4. If the indentor is known to you, do be in a hurry to end the process, so that the other guys know the least.
5. Judge the competition and you have the idea about their bids.
6. Do not be the first person to leave the room but don't be a pest either so that they can push you out.
7. Give interesting technical answers should you get a chance.
8. Keep your ears in the customer's room. No, I don't mean use the extendable ears invented by Fred and George in "the order of the Phoenix" but think about it and it is possible.

One of the biggest dealers of KBL once tried his best to get me out of the race. He could not do anything at the lower level and went up and met the GM of the IOCL refinery. His attempt flopped and I got that order for 2 nos HSC pumps with drives and accessories, i.e. M+P landed that supply order. I don't need to mention the dealer's name as the biggest dealers in  Assam and one of the biggest in India. The same company M+P  later became a little inedible. but life is like that. Moreover, I was lucky that by the time I quit, I had acquired the rudimentary basics of  capital goods marketing. Today M+P market in NE has gone down and the conditions exist which are only a little better then when I was there. It's become the wild west all again

Finally, I forgot to tell you how to ask for an extension. Irrespective as to whether you are organized or not, you'll always find that you are unable to complete in time. Send over a fax or an e-mail asking for an extension because of blah blah( the best excuse always is to the tender justice). Remember, always ask two times what you want and you will  get it. There is a way to do everything and everything is best done in that way. You should either do it or learn how the other man does it, and then try it your way. Its the runs which matter, not how they come

I guess that does it for today.
See you next time. 
Take care and have an awesome day

(I put in the Beatles photo ‘cos there is a similarity...we are on the road too but specially because I am a fan)
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