Although I had reached General Management positions before I retired from active business life, I spent most of it in Marketing and more specifically in Sales. I never however, sold or tried to sell Snake Oil. A salesman however is always looked upon suspiciously and terms like Snake Oil Salesman, Used Car Salesman, Wheeler Dealer etc, are more common than just plain salesman. I am a rare salesman who even now calls his occupation as a Retired Salesman.
So, when this topic was suggested by The Old Fossil, I was intrigued as to why he would have come up with this odd combination and racked my brain to find something linking these three words. It has not been easy but, I hope that what I have come up with here finds my readers’ approval.
The best description of a Salesman’s job that I have come across is “creating a demand and catering to it”. This can mean creating a demand for something for which demand did not exist as well as diverting demand from a competitor’s product to one’s own. I flatter myself that in both these activities, I have had a fairly successful career and though I have met failures, they have been much less in comparison to my successes.
I also strongly believe that I was successful because I did not take recourse to politics to sell which I have seen many salesmen do. I use the word politics in a broader sense than the narrower one of the field of politicians. For instance, I had an experience of losing a customer to a competitor because the Purchase Manager of the customer was bribed. I could have politicked and gone over his head but, preferred to wait out and was rewarded with my patience when the product failed on the shop floor and investigation found out the reason for the shift and I was back dealing with the same customer but with a different Purchase Manager.
Another example was doing the opposite. Influencing production people to complain about a competitor’s product so that the purchase department is forced to buy from another source. I never indulged in this kind of politicking either.
Such experiences repeated many times and my advice to Sales Professionals was and is even now to avoid such traps / temptations.
Coming to Truth, I inevitably found that truth eventually wins in Marketing and hype inevitably fails in the long term. This however need not be the mantra for all Sales Professionals. Let me give an example. When I was a Sales Trainee, I had gone with a Senior Salesman to a customer to learn the ropes and despite much effort, my senior could not clinch a deal. On reporting back to the Sales Manager, after asking a number of questions he came up with a statement that I will never forget in my life. “Gentlemen, you failed because you did not give the customer facts. They don’t have to be facts but, give customers facts to be effective salesmen.”
Fortunately for me I did not take this particular piece of training to heart and that particular Sales Manager came to a bad end eventually.
My motto was always “promise less and deliver more” and this worked and I did not have to resort to telling lies or twisting truths in my career. The fact that many of the customers with whom I had established strong relationships continue to be my friends even now bears testimony to that.
This is my contribution to this week’s Friday 8 On 1 blog post topic. The other seven bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Maria. Sanjana, Padmum, Raju, Shackman , Srinivas and Conrad. This week’s topic was suggested by Conrad The Old Fossil. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.
I recently saw a short clip of a speech by a well known medical practitioner about his experiences with patients with Covid. Mind you, this was at a gathering of a club whose members encourage humour and all speeches are in that genre.
The doctor, a second generation medical practitioner, was light-heartedly suggesting that if he prescribed some simple medicine and treatment to a patient, the patient was dissatisfied and reeled off a list of names of high power antibiotics that should be prescribed.
Though this was said in humour, the message could not be more descriptive of today’s internet addicted humans who consult the internet before going to a doctor. Since the advent of Covid, the number of messages that I get about it on social media is simply mind boggling. Although I simply delete them or skip them, the sheer number takes up time.
Similarly, I get messages about temples, religion, self improvement, politics, crime and so many other topics that if I were to read them all carefully I am sure that my brain will explode as its memory capacity will reach its limit all too soon.
Of what interest could this information be to me? Or for that matter, the friends who sent them to me? Am I or they, ever likely to walk this road, even partly?
A very dear friend of around my age, has solved this intrusion by junking his smart phone and switching to a primitive one that can be used only to make and receive phone calls; and send / receive SMS messages. He has been urging me to follow suit. I am seriously tempted to.
My friend Arun sent me this photograph yesterday in WhatsApp and went on a nostalgia trip about a pheriwala (door to door hawker) who used to visit their home selling a variety of biscuits and asked me if I too remember such pheriwalas.
I responded that even now, a hawker comes to our neighbourhood every morning selling the same variety of biscuits. I added that till a couple of years ago, he used a bicycle with a trunk on the carrier to carry his ware and that he would use a claxon type of horn to announce his arrival. Now, he has upgraded to a moped due to progress. I added this photo obtained from Google Images to show the kind of horn that he used.
Do you now see why WhatsApp and Facebook apps are for free?
I have been on permanent break for so long that I have even forgotten when I started. I have no earthshaking meetings to attend, appointments to keep, or targets to meet and I simply have to live one day at a time and spend my time as entertainingly as possible.
So has my friend Shackman who too retired from active business life many years ago. That is why it intrigues me that he has come up with this topic for this week’s Friday blog post.
With modern online shopping available to add to my library, life has been made easier further. I don’t have to step out of my home for anything at all.
My life revolves around my set routine about which I have written here. Since I am not involved with any activities that need me to get suited and booted, I spend all my time dressed very comfortably in our native dress and am totally relaxed. I get plenty of excitement from my social media activities, reading and crossword puzzles besides many phone calls. More than enough for me to lead a contented and peaceful life.
My daughter in love and son look after all domestic matters and that too is something that I do not have to concern myself with and worry about. All my comforts are provided for and even the odd shopping that I may want is done by one of them.
All in all, a comfortable and peaceful retired life which I think I have earned after a lot of stress filled times till eight years ago. I am extremely grateful for my present lifestyle.
Lastly, I am not dressed like that bloke in the image on top. This is my normal every day look. Very comfortable and functional for my current lifestyle.
This is my contribution to this week’s Friday 8 On 1 blog post topic. The other seven bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Maria. Sanjana, Padmum, Raju, Shackman , Srinivas and Conrad. This week’s topic was suggested by Shackman. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.
VR had disappeared from my life in 1958 when my family moved out of Chennai where we were neighbours. She came back into my life thanks to Facebook and her cousin who too came back into my life in 1980 when both of us were posted in Delhi and a mutual friend had brought us together.
I commented on VR’s post as “Thanks to social media in the last few years, many childhood friendships are being renewed too. Perhaps this is the single biggest contribution that sm has made to our lives.”
While social media has played its part in bringing back old friends into my life again, the observation made in the image remains true too. My longest lasting friends, two of them from my boyhood and two from my early working days, survived all separations and have continued to be friends though three of us live in different towns while two in the same city. Alas the last two do not know each other but, the next time that I am in Chennai, I will remedy that situation.
Social media has also brought back groups into my life like classmates, ex colleagues, fellow alumni family etc and to that extent the world has shrunk for relationships.
Another tool that has brought disparate people together is the blog world and this blog by Wisewebwoman brilliantly explains this.
I am blessed indeed to have so many old friends, and more so for long lost ones returning to my life thanks to social media.