Old Ways.

I am currently unable to pay for any shopping done online as I am going through a problem with my bank’s net banking service due to my telephone number not being able to receive OTPs from them. This matter will take a few days to resolve and till it does I would not be able to use the internet banking service.

In the meanwhile, thanks to modern targeted marketing I came across an online bookshop offering some books on Indian Spiritual matters. I decided to buy two books to see how good they are and completed all the formalities till I came to the payment section. I then remembered about my current internet banking problem and gave up the exercise without concluding the transaction online.

This happened yesterday and this morning I was pleasantly surprised to receive a phone call from the online books shop wanting to know why I did not complete the transaction.

On explaining the problem of online payment that I was currently facing, the lady offered to send me the books on Cash On Delivery basis but, that would cost more as the courier companies charged collection charges at the time of delivery.

I then suggested to the lady that she sends the books by VPP and she was stumped. I had to explain what it was and she said that it was the first time that she was hearing about it. I asked her if she was a very young person and she said yes and I understood the reason for her not knowing about VPP.

In any case, she was reluctant to use the VPP system as it  perhaps would mean going to the local post office whereas the courier companies collected from their office. I reluctantly agreed to her sending on COD basis.

The world has changed. People like me need to find ways to adjust to new ways!  Including COD instead of VPP at extra cost.

Have you had any such experiences?

The Relationship Of Sales, Politics And The Truth.

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, PadmumRaju, 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.

Focussed Advertising.

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.

Today, as I was browsing my Facebook account, lo and behold, I get this advertisement on my screen

Do you now see why WhatsApp and Facebook apps are for free?

Shutdown Effect.

Since the shutdown due to the current Corona pandemic, traffic in my WhatsApp has increased so much that I have to recharge my cellphone twice a day. Most of the content is not worth writing about but two clips today made things very interesting indeed.

The first one that I received in the morning from my friend Anil, was this one of a deer having fun on a beach in Goa.
The deer has obviously come down from the woods adjoining the beach in some part of Goa.

Here is another forward received from another friend from Mumbai of Peacocks and peahens appearing suddenly in out most crowded city, Mumbai.

What an impact the shutdown has had in our wildlife!

The next one came from another friend in Mumbai that is very interesting indeed. Some remarkable skullduggery in the form of optical illusion helping our friends from the Marketing field.

Much Ado About Nothing.

KAKVI is a dark, thick liquid extracted during the process of refining sugar cane into table sugar. KAKVI is obtained during the third boiling of the cane syrup and contains a unique concentration of many important vitamins and minerals left over after the sugar’s sucrose is crystallized. I use this instead of sugar.

I ordered two bottles of kakvi online after visiting this page.

I received a carton weighing about three kilograms containing two tiny bottles. Most of the carton contained bubble wraps and some cardboard fillers. Agreed that the glass bottles needed to be protected so that they don’t break in transit but, this, in my opinion is over kill.

What packaging!

Super Heroes Real Or Imagined.

Speaking strictly from the physical point of view, my fellow 2 on 1 Friday blogger Shackman, is fit to play a super hero any time and I, his side kick who can generate some humour to the fights with windmills that we are likely to encounter. Somewhat like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Shackman however may have a vastly different opinion and to see what he has to say about this topic which he has come up with, please visit his blog.

I grew up straddling two cultures, Indian and British and was in awe of many heroes of both. From the former, Hanuman, Ram, Krishna, Arjuna, Shiva from the vast array of our Gods, Shivaji, Kattabomman etc from our history, and from the latter, Tarzan, The Phantom etc. This fascination lasted till about my mid teens when these were replaced by Indian film heroes and characters from English fiction. Sivaji Ganesan, M G Ramachandran, Chandrababu from the former and The Saint, Mickey Spillane, Sherlock Holmes and Perry Mason from the latter.

Fast forward to my late teens and reality sunk in and it was Super Heroines that I got involved in! The list is too long but some notable ones, Maharani Gayatri Devi, Saroja Devi, Helen, Wahida Rahman and Nutan.

Then a real life heroine came into my life and lo and behold I myself became a hero of sorts in my chosen career. It is difficult to explain without sounding boastful but, it is in my retirement that I have learnt of the number of people who thought that I was a swashbuckling sales person ever ready to lead a team of aggressive salesmen into battle with competition and top management to gain market share and bonuses. That I was like that is now clear to me by the number of people who are in touch with me via the social networks and I often wish that I can simply quit those to get more time to read books rather than posts of WhatsApp and Facebook. Despite considerable pressure from some friends, I have not gone into other sites like Linkedin and Instagram.

So, having myself been a Super Hero of sorts and also having bagged a Super Heroine in real life, where is the scope for Super Heroes or Super Heroines in my world now? My son and daughter in love are both involved in heroic social work and it is heartening for me to see them perform heroic deeds from the sidelines understanding that it is their time in the sun and it is for me to cheer them on to greater achievements.