Peter Drucker was consulting for a CEO of a major bank in US. For every meeting the CEO used to assign Peter a time slot of 90 minutes. A highly effective person, the CEO was delivering consistent results for his bank year-on-year. During the one-and-half hour meeting the CEO refrained from taking any telephone calls Continue reading
This question when asked by my clients, I am reminded of Marshall Goldsmith’s book, What Got you Here, Won’t Get you There! One of our clients nominated his star performer, Akshay for our training program. The main reason being he was not able to reach his desired targets in selling high-value capital equipments, the way he was selling laptops and mobiles in his previous organization. It is generally believed that a great salesman can sell anything to anybody. Translated otherwise, most of us feel that a great salesman is the one who can sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo. The above statement is not true for the following reasons:There has been a paradigm shift from a Sellers’ to a buyers’ market. Today’s customers have more choices vis-à-vis their counterparts in 90s.
- Thanks to internet, today’s customers are knowledgeable. A person before buying a mobile or a car has done enough research on the net comparing products technically as well as commercially.
- If you try to sell something a customer does not need, there is possibility the customer express his anger and frustration on twitter/trip-adviser etc. and in no time the contents may go viral.
- In a low-value sale, generally the customer knows what he wants to buy and the interaction between the salesperson and the customer is transactional. The salesman needs to inform the product features, the price and the competitive comparison.
- In case of a high-value sale, or a key account sale, quite often the customer may not clearly know what he needs, he may have a vague idea. He needs a solution not a standard sales pitch. Precisely for this reason the salesman needs to be an active and empathic listener and also willing to probe deeper. He also needs to understand the customer’s business that is customer’s customer. Here the interaction is more on relationships. You will observe that the some of these competencies can be acquired but others are natural traits like strategic thinking. This is one of the reasons why a Star Performer in Small Sale may not always succeed in high-ticket deals or Key Account Management.
Paradigm Trainers Private Limited is having training programs on Key Account Management and Advanced Negotiation Skills in Bangalore ( 14/15th Nov.) and Mumbai ( 21/22nd Nov.) for more details : www.paradigm-info.com
It was a chilly December afternoon in Bangalore. We were at the Commercial Street in Bangalore. By around 2 pm when the shopping was over, we decided to have meals. On either sides of the road, there were MNC joints, one a McDonalds and the other KFC. To save the hassle of crossing the road, we got into KFC. The menu displayed on the wall was a series of combination of chicken pieces, French fries, Pepsi. Called as mini meals, value- add meals, combo meals with various permutations & combinations, Pepsi was a common factor among all. It was quite dreadful to have Pepsi where the glass is topped with more than 50% ice on a chilly afternoon.
After considerable efforts, we were able to figure out a possibility of ordering a La-carte. Getting drinking water by default is out of question in an MNC joint. It affects the sale of Pepsi and Coke. After finishing the meals, we requested for water. What was served after a long delay was the ice-cold version. It was quite a struggle drinking such cold water on a chilly afternoon. We had to drink it sip-by-sip like hot tea.
I go to a normal Darshini, Udipi restaurant. The waiter is not trained like the ones in the MNCs. Without being asked, he serves you drinking water and then you can order a dosa or an idly with coffee/tea. Why does training makes life difficult for customers?
Another example: I drove my car in a Shell petrol bunk. To avoid taken for a ride by the attendant, one needs to be a Zen master and get into the present –moment awareness. The conversation goes as follows:
Attendant: Shall I fill the tank with super petrol? (Remember, it is a closed question and it is easy to answer yes. The Super petrol is expensive by Rs 10 per litre vis-à-vis the normal petrol, the guy does not take the trouble to tell you this fact.)
I: ( with a calm disposition) Please fill in the normal petrol.( You cannot afford to mumble NO as he can claim he heard it as Yes.)Attendant: Shall I top-up the tank?
I: Please fill only for Rs. 1000. Having missed his target twice, he makes a last feeble attempt.
Attendant: Can I help you with routine checkup like Oil check and coolant check?
I: how much will you charge?
Attendant: No, its free.
I: wonderful, please go ahead.
Attendant: (He opens the bonnet, takes out the oil indicator slider) The oil level is low. Your engine will seize anytime and it will damage the engine if you do not fill oil now.
I: How much will it cost? Attendant: Rs. 785/-
I: thanks for your advice. I drive out after paying for the petrol. Last three weeks my car is still working fine. Executives from KFC or Shell go through rigorous training vis-à-vis their Indian counterparts in Kamat/Shanbhag hotels or Indian Oil/Hindustan Petroleum .
Who says the customer is king but a hapless victim ( if gullible enough) who can be conned at the drop of hat?