You have highlighted the significance of Google in your book. How important is the Internet for enhancing sales?
The important underlying fact is the process of discovery. In the olden days, the seller knew more about the buyer than the buyer did about the seller. The buyer had less time to research, less sources of information. The arrival of the Internet has changed all that. The availability of information sources has expanded and the browser has become a powerful weapon, conveniently available to both parties. That has solved the information asymmetry issue. The interesting part begins now. What is the buyer able to research? It is not just about products and services s/he may be buying. After all, beyond a point, products and services become comparable in form, functionality and cost. So, the buyer is going a step forward and researching supplier information. S/he wants to know more about who s/he is buying from. The quality and value of that information has become vital and to the seller, it can become a competitive weapon, a strategic, differentiating factor. The easiest way for the buyer to check this is to check the digital presence of the buyer. Google me and you know my digital footprint. All things remaining equal,buyers want to buy from good people. That goodness must be cultivated and presented well on the World Wide Web.
Why does the society have a stereotype image of a salesman?
I think the popular and faulty impression about selling and the image of a salesperson emanate from two things: the hawker on the street, the local train and the snake oil salesman promising eternal youth. These are not people who are selling, they are hawking. They are not really looking at building an enduring relationship with a buyer, neither do they expect the buyer to return, and more importantly, pass on the word of mouth or shall we say, rate you on a website or post a comment on you on the social media. The other reason people build an intrusive definition of sales and the salesman is the telemarketer who mindlessly calls you during an important meeting and tries to push to you a credit card.
How does one master this extremely difficult art?
Let me share a little secret with you: in every field, there are three elements it is part art, part science and part witchcraft. It is true of selling as much as the job of a journalist, a surgeon and an administrator. The art and the science are easy to master. It is only by great practice over time and apprenticeship with a Master that we learn about the witchcraft. I use the metaphor to suggest that true mastery has a mystique that eludes textbook learning and the experience of the novitiate.
Why do some entrepreneurs fail? Is it because they are chasing ideas without any business potential?
Being both, entrepreneur and innovator at the same time is not ideal. Entrepreneurs need to be in love with the idea of business itself. The business of business is about making money, but some are caught in what I call time and place idea. I find many young Indians excited by the flavour of fashion and they conjure a business idea around it.
How important do you think is digital media in sales?
Digital media has changed the way sales is done, in terms of inbound, outbound and background activities. The buyers have much more information than before, about tech trends, product performance, and sales professionals profiles.
Pay attention to your Google quotient and LinkedIn profiles. Sales people now need to cultivate an affinity for data, and comb other sources like company websites, annual reports and analyst white papers. This helps make informed calls or cold-warm calls.
Are there any success stories you have quoted in the book?
My book is replete with examples of, and narratives on, Champions that I had the good fortune of working for and quite often, simply observing from up close. If you pay attention, you would also realise, they are there in every field, in every organisation. The trick is in searching them out, in deep listening, in contemplative observation and getting into their confidence. In the process, the truth reveals itself.
About the Author:
Subroto Bagchi co-founded Mindtree Ltd, one of Indias first software services start-up, in 1999. Author of the bestsellers” The High- Performance Entrepreneur”, “Go Kiss the World”, “The Professional”,”MBA at 16″ and “The Professional Companion”, Bagchi was acclaimed as Indias No.1 bestselling author on business books. His works have been translated into several languages, including Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Korean and Chinese.