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The Death of the Salesman.

December 3, 2009

 

                

               

 

It is one of those early morning in the winter in New Delhi , year 2003 when the temperature is around 10*centigrade or even less. My mother awakes me , “ Raju ! (my household name) wake up now ,“  as I have to go to office . I had my bed tea and go to the bathroom shivering. I spent around 30 to 45 minutes in there and come back freshened up. I go back to my bedroom wear my formal clothes , have my breakfast and check my bag and then leave for my office. It will take at least one hour to reach my office at Darya Ganj, by bus , provided there is no traffic Jam.

By 9 AM , I have to reach there or I will be marked late. We have a short meeting discussing with my seniors and colleagues and making my daily plan and by 9-O-Clock as per company rules I must leave for the field or market alone. It will take me half an hour to meet my first customer by bus. By 10 AM , I meet my first customer in Karol Bagh with whom I have set up my appointment a day before. I found him sitting at his shop.

“Good morning sir ! How are you ?” I said .

“Oh I am fine . How are you , Anurag ?” He replies.

“It is very cold today. It is so foggy in the morning now days.” I said.

“Hmmm !” He replied.

“Have a cup of tea” , he says.

“Chotu get two cup of tea” , he orders his servant.

“Well , I am glad , you have finally decided to sign for the Citibank credit card " , I said  taking out the application form from my bag.

“Can I see your documents” , I said.

“Sure ". He takes them out from his drawer .

Meanwhile Chotu comes with tea and serves it to both of us.

I checked the documents , sipping my tea .

“They are O.K” . I replied acknowledgingly  looking up at him.

“Well then you fill up the form for me and I will sign it ", he replies .

I did that obediently . I kept on asking him the questions written on the form , which he kept on replying and then bring the form to him to sign.

I attach the given document with the form along with his visiting card and put it into my bag. The sale was closed . I was very pleased with myself.

“Do you have any other question ", I Asked  him .

“No . Just see to it that I am not troubled by the bank” , he replies .

“Oh! Don’t worry about that . It is one of the best banks in the world with excellent service”, I say defensively.

“But still it is in India, managed by Indians” , he says giving me a queer look .

“I will do what I can ". I replied shaking my head . I did not want to prolong the argument at this stage.

I sat there for few more minutes finishing my tea .

“O.K. sir , I must leave now. I have to go to Connaught Place by bus.”

I stood up , took my bag, shook hands with him  and bid him goodbye.

“Just give me a ring in case you have any query ", I tell him leaving his shop.

“I will do that ” , he said with a smile on his face.

It is 10:45 AM , I catch my bus heading to Connaught place .

I found my second customer at his office sitting in his cabin in a Multinational company.

“Good morning sir !”, I said . I hope I am not disturbing you “. I said apprehensively.

“Welcome Mr Dubey. Please sit down. Just give me a moment. I will be right back ”.

As soon as he come back , I start repeating the same thing again.

Again and again I kept on meeting my Customers one by one. I did few cold calling i.e. met new customers on my own .

It is 1 P.M. and it is Lunch time in all the offices . No office entertains Salesman at this hour. I have my Lunch box in my bag prepared at home. Generally if you are near Conn ought place you go to canteens in Hindustan Times Building or I.T.C. Building , a favorite destination for Salesmen in Delhi. Sometimes we have to go to  small restaurants for lunch if we are allowed inside with our own Tiffin. I finished my Lunch and then made few Phone calls to my clients from a public booth and of course to my office to let them know I am still in the field , as per the company rules. Rules are meant to be followed in the Real World.

It is 6 PM and I must leave for my office as per their rules. I am at Greater Kailash , about 20 km away. I catch up a Bus which goes to ISBT from where I catch another bus which goes to Darya Ganj. I reach my office at 7:30 PM .

“How many applications , have you got today Anurag” . My group leader asks, patting my shoulder.

“Two” , I replied. 

“How many Customers in total you met” . He asks.

“Give me your Daily Sales Report ”, he orders , “Let me check it myself . You know your monthly Target, don’t you.”

“Hmmm! 15 customers. not bad. I hope they are genuine “. He says looking at the report and nodding his head.

Like every day he kept on asking me questions and grinding me.

“OK , submit the report” . He says and leaves.

I submitted my report to the administrative section and then sat down for few moments. I had to make some telephonic calls to my customers which I did.

It was 8 PM and I planned to leave the office. There will be traffic jam and I won’t possibly reach my home by 10 pm by bus.

I will have my Dinner on reaching home and will go to bed by 11 PM in the night .

There goes the night life for me in a big city.

This was my Daily Ordeal as a Sales Representative in a Direct Sales Associate  of Citibank in 1993. My First Job. I was 23 years then. My salary then was Paltry Rs 2000 per month ,that too if I hit my monthly target.

The above case reflects the role assigned to this Front man of a marketing company. He is mostly , if not always at the receiving end. Although his position in the company’s heir achy  is at the bottom level , the role assigned to him as a company representative is very Important and crucial to the Company’s  Image in the market. He is regarded a Soldier patrolling the border and guarding his territory i.e. his company against the enemy i.e. its competitor . He knows most about the company’s standing in the field or market , its reputation , its major competitors, its product and services value to its customers, customers feedback etc. He is provider to the company’s database , the life and blood of a marketing company. For example as in the above case if Anurag meets 10 new customers daily collecting their Just their visiting cards , he provides the his company with a database of approximately 3650 prospective customers in a year. If a company recruits 20 salesman like Anurag ,it gets an access to about  73,000 customers in a year . A company which is in the market for 10 years will have an access to about 7,30,000 customers .The information provided about these customers is of tremendous value in the future as the company expands its network with more products and services. All these information is feeded and stored in a computer and is the company’s database.The total expenditure is minimal.

Now days most companies employ at least a 50 sales representatives in a single city. if its is a single division company ( company with one product or service line ) and operating in just one city. A multidivisional company will have many a times, sales representatives in a single city . Most companies operate in many cities and towns .

This is the basis of the Information Technology and its growth , for any company.

I still remember how I went for this company. Nothing was planned . I was a graduate then . The job especially of this kind attached little or no meaning to me , although like any other young man I kept chanting that I will do my M.B.A. in marketing. One of my friend knocked at my door and told me about an advertisement of this Job . He was as ignorant as I was. Quickly we went on his Scooter for the Interview of this Job at Nizammudin in New Delhi where the company’s office was then located. It was a very small office with just one room and a small reception . They just had 2 telephones and a fan. Nothing to impress us.The receptionist told us to wait. My friend was first one to go in. He came out and then I was called in. We both had a Bio-Data which was hand written by us in a disorderly fashion. We both were wearing Jeans and shirt . I was unshaven. As I entered , I saw a person sitting on a chair with a Table waiting for me. He looked at me from top to bottom .

“Good morning Anurag . Sit down please ” , he said politely with a smile , pointing at a chair.

I sat down on the chair , saying Good morning .

He took my Bio-data and kept on reading it.

“Tell me about yourself “,he asked still looking at me bio- data.

“I am Anurag Dubey. I am 23 years of age . I have …… “ . I  started telling about myself for a minute .

“Do you have a vehicle “,he asked  ” ,a two wheeler. As it is a field job , it is compulsory ” , he said.

“No I said . But I intend to buy one shortly ”, I lied. Actually , I did not know to drive a two Vehicle then.

“Hmmm. Is  this kind of bio-data you are going to present later”. He said.

“Oh! This is first time I am appearing for a Job Interview “, I replied apologetically.

“That is what I am telling you Anurag . It is a tough job . You will be out in the sun when the temperature is 40 to 45 degrees centigrade. Can you do it ?. You do not even have previous work experience. “ , he said looking up at me.

“Yes” , I said firmly.

“Sure”

“Yes”

“Well then get a well typed Bio –data . Also you have to wear a tie and formal clothes.”

“Come back after three days . We will have a training session “.

And yes . Since you are a new person ,your salary will be Rs 2000 plus you can get incentives running into many times the basic salary. For that you have to work hard. He said.

“Fine”.

“Well then good bye” , he said with a smile . “You have this job “, he said ,shaking hands with me ,staring at my face .

“Thank you sir”, I said leaving the room.

“You are welcome” , he replied with the smile.

I left with my friend .  Unfortunately, he was not selected . After three days I came in formal dress  with a tie and typed Bio –data to attend the training session of 3 days.

That started my career in the Private Industry. It was hot Summer of 1993.

So many years have passed . I have left that company after 10 months and joined another one.. I have worked and gained experience  so many companies as a Sales representative. My knowledge and skill in sales increased considerably. I travelled a lot while doing a job , first in a single city ,Delhi, slowly and slowly in neighboring areas . Few years later I started travelling to different cites and towns in the country. A wonderful experience for a person like me who stayed mostly indoor. My way of looking things, my way of thinking and my perception towards others has changed considerably since I joined my first job. I did a management course to help me gain more knowledge. Every thing helps you if you know the way. Slowly but surely , I started realizing that the profile of the salesman of what I started as and what I am now has changed considerably , especially  in the way of doing things.

The Market in India has changed a lot than what it was in 1993. More and more companies have sprung up . Multinational companies, products and services have become a household name. India now has the access to the latest technology and products in the world. Transport and Communication has developed very fast. Shops , Malls, Cinema halls, Fast food restaurants , Dining restaurants, have entered the market in a big way ,not only in big cities , but also in small cities and towns. The profile of the present day customer is very different from what it was in 1993. He is Richer, more assertive,more intelligent, more matured, more brand conscious, more educated and has more choice than ever before. This is true for customers in small cities and towns. He is in access to to latest products in the market and has money to spend it. New cars, cell phones , two wheelers , household appliances have been introduced in the market. The per capita income of India has increased many a times  than what it was in 1993. India is now the second largest market in the world , next only to China.

How can a sales man be oblivious to all these developments taking place in the market. He has to change according to the market. Adaptation is the Key for survival of the fittest . This principle has to be applied here also. For that the role of his company assumes the importance. For that his feedback to the company assumes a crucial role. There must be an honest communication between the two , to gear up with the developments taking place everywhere. Of course the management also has to make effort on its own to be prepared with the situation.

Now let us see where the changes has to take place :

1.  Appearance : The sales man is the brand Ambassador of the company . For that his first Impression in the eyes of his customers assumes a critical role . A plain shirt , a trouser and a tie , well polished shoes with matching socks , a leather bag, a batch or an I-Card with his and company’s name, Sunglasses(optional), well groomed hair, a cello phone , and of course a cheerful face can melt any customer . He must have a pleasing personality. A firm handshake is a must.

2.  Preparedness : Now days , a company spends millions of dollars on Training. This assumes most importance in sales and marketing. Right from entering and introducing oneself to the closing of the sale to the after service , Training must be given to the Salesman. Latest technology and tools are employed to give training by the company. All sales man are provided with a sales kit and other important information to help them make their presentation in front of customers in a confident manner.They must be able to answer all queries of the customers . They must be able to gain the trust of their customers. He must feel at ease in front of his customers and vice-versa.

3.  Education : The Job profile of the salesman must be in accordance with his level of education. Of course he can enhance his level later, by joining management institutes ,courses and attending training sessions.

4.  Salary :  The salary structure of the sales man must take into account the ground reality of the market . His basic minimum salary must be at least be  enough to meet his daily requirement in the present condition irrespective of his target . He must not feel neglected or cheated by the company. Other incentives , allowances, bonuses , awards etc must be given on time to boost his morale and his lifestyle.

5. Job Responsibility : The sales man job now is not just going to market and sell. There are other responsibilities attached to him . The horizon of his job has widened considerably with his level of information, experience, knowledge and education.

6. The Xtra factors : Is the sales man satisfied with his company. Is he really as cheerful and happy as he looks. How does his management treats him. Is the feedback given by him is taken into account or just thrown into dustbin.How is the work environment. How much does his personal life assumes importance for the company. Is he well protected by the company at the time of his need or when he is in trouble . Does he get rewarded of his efforts according to his capability and climbs the ladder or he is just manipulated and thrown away by the company.

All the above features assumes a very important role in today’s Salesman.

The Sales man of year 1993 is dead and buried forever.  It is no use bringing him back to life or raking up his past. It will only bring pain and misery to present day sales man . Now days a sales man may be as educated and as knowledgeable as his senior management. His present lifestyle maybe similar to that of a lifestyle of rich and famous. He has now got a vision. He now can be regarded as an intellectual . A Respected and assertive  leader in his field. A person who is more of a Guide and Advisor to his clients. An intelligent friend or a Guru who can be trusted. Above all The salesman is a customer too and  a customer is also a Salesman. With the rise in information technology , the customer can get the information of the product through other means like advertisement, computer , shop keepers, his friends. Therefore the task of the sales man has diminished in this respect. He is more like a traffic policeman  who just wades his hand to the vehicles to let them pass. He knows , they will pass.

It is December 2009. I am 39 years of age . Slowly and slowly, my hairs are turning white now. Sitting on my computer in Jabalpur , Madhya Pradesh ( My Present Home) I look back  to see how much I have achieved. What was my mission . Whether I did the right thing by joining my first Job. It was my decision ,after all. I have to struggle a lot to keep this job. Presently , working for an Internet Marketing company where I have to devote less time , I seem to have learn a lot. Some times hear a voice coming from my head, as if some one calling my name  “Anurag”.

 

 

                Presented by,

             

    http://www.sfi4.com/ 10648449/REAL

   http://www.sfi4.com/10648449/EE

  http://viralnetworks.com/view/1ijTE

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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