Tuesday, April 01, 2014


Industrial Selling is a different cup of tea in India than in the West. Here reject RFQ's at your own peril.

  I read Geoffrey James’s article titled “How to give the customer a price quote”  and it’s really   a fine piece of sales writing. I wanted to write something else this week.But then I thought about all those young kids, in sales and   marketing, the newbies and the almost-s all over the immense country and I changed my mind. (In Kolkata its 39 o Celsius plus in the shade in March, so I can just think about Chennai.In India, you don't get AC cars to zip to on sales calls in junior levels, so I decided to write this blog post instead).Apologies Geoff, but that kind of selling will not get you anywhere in INDIA. Sure, the track is right but your direction is all wrong, my friend. Just my 5cents but you need the culture shock absorber.

        In India, you have a system of budgetary quotes and firm quotes. Now, I am sure that there must be a system of budgetary quotes in the West too, you just use a term for it, which I am not familiar with.Anyway, some of the biggest requirements come from the Public Sector Organizations(e.g.IOCL the only Indian company which is in the Fortune 500, if I'm not wrong). In a sort of matrix cum pyramidal structure, you have many different departments. For instance Engineering Services (ES) and Maintenance are different departments and you can have business with both as the ES as well as the M.M(mechanical maintenance) as the former goes in for the projects and the latter, the after sales part of the business. Say, you are selling pumps for intake, the concerned in Indian Oil Corp Ltd dept is Power and Utilities.(In other organizations, it may be different). From my experience I can say that if you get a RFQ from such a department, DO NOT EVEN THINK of calling the boss in the department. See who has signed the RFQ and if you find say its a Purchase Manager or even an Asst Manager, from Operations, your stand is vindicated. It is a must to quote but a little later.

              The chances are high that if you call up the boss, he will have an even less idea of his requirement then you. Your best bet is the original sender, although he is in no way the final decision maker. In Govt. organizations, there is no final decision maker and that is the way it should be. The operations man wants to buy the things he has mentioned but as he is the one doing the legwork, he's got no authority. Say you are pissed off and do not quote, you may have unquoted yourself out of a job. These guys are good at selecting the equipment type but they need to have an estimate of the cost.That's because proposals beyond 10-15% variation are shot down by the finance guys. Before your lips start curling in derision, let me tell you some of India's most talented engineer's are these.They think of everything too help you, and they don't give you any advantage. You need to have relationship selling experiences with them for the best results