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Thursday, September 24, 2015

the art of persuasive selling ~ Vadasery - Nagercoil !!

When was the last time you sat in a town bus in a village and enjoyed the surroundings ?– life at small towns can be leisurely and enjoyable !! -  The recent trip to Nagercoil provided ample opportunity and this post is on the persuasive selling skills seen !   ….. in every bus stand, vendors would get into the bus selling – biscuits, condiments,  plantain, guava, pineapple, orange and other fruits; water packet and cool drinks, ground nuts and many other eatables; something like towels, shirts, nighties too.  A few years back, in every bus stand, there were small shops selling lottery tickets. There were so many Raffle deals, mostly from North Eastern States – some companies made big fortune selling tickets – which people would easily buy dreaming to become millionaires.  It helped small time vendors which included blind and handicapped people was the only solace, though many were losing big chunk of their salary - getting addicted to single number lottery.

Nagercoil (நாகர்கோவில்)  is a municipal town and administrative headquarters of Kanyakumari District.  Locked with the Western Ghats on all sides, it was a part of Kerala, the erstwhile Travancore state, till almost a decade after India's Independence from Britain in 1947. In 1956, it was merged with Tamil Nadu. In its earlier days, the town and its surroundings were known as Nanjilnadu. Nagercoil came under the rule of various kingdoms, notably the Chera, Chola and Pandya kingdoms, at various points in time; historical records reveal that these kingdoms fought over the control of the fertile area of Nanjilnadu and Kottar, a town mentioned in old Tamil writings and maps of ancient India.  The town came to prominence during and after the reign of Maharaja MarthandaVarma, the king of Travancore, the capital of which was Padmanabhapuram, about 20 km to the north of Nagercoil.

There are two bus stands in Nagercoil – Anna bus stand and Vadasery bus stand. Long distance buses ply from Vadasery. 

Selling is an art ~people are trained on selling skills for marketing the products better. There are dozens of selling skills that sales people should know.  From prospecting to calling, presenting, highlighting and persuading them in to buying there are various techniques adopted.  Yet people struggle to meet their sales targets is also a fact. Modern day companies go a long way spending huge amounts to get databases of prospective customers, seeking referrals, cold-calling and the like to sell.  They try to promote their products with advertisements in print and visual media, trying to make their presence felt and trying to create a brand awareness. 

One may never understand for example, a company manufacturing tyres for aircrafts, advertising on television – who are the target audience and what they are trying to impact ? – there are surrogate advertisements – there are many attempts to create an impression in the subconscious mind – the name, the brand, its perceived quality and more.   From the handheld presentations that Medical representatives used to carry to glitzy powerpoints, there are various presentation modules and skills to captivate customers.  Developing a connection is still important in today’s sales environment even though we rely heavily on technology. People still buy from people.

As I sat patiently for the bus to start, a middle aged man looking lot pleasant and cheerful, boarded the bus and went around surveying – looking for a seat, one first thought.  As the bus filled up – he stood in front – firmly placed to capture the attention and started with a majestic voice.

He positively spoke about our beloved APJ [Dr Abdul Kalam] who was born in the neighbouring Rameswaramisland and rose to great heights.  He reeled out his achievements of the missile man, right from his birth, education, becoming the President of India, being conferred Bharat Ratna.  He eulogised APJ for his humbleness and greatness. 

The small speech of note more than 2 minutes was heard with rapt attention – then he asked people around – on whether they knew authentic details of the great man.  People do know APJ but not details with authenticity.  He started distributing a book titled ‘life history of Dr Abdul Kalam’ – telling people that they can have a look at the book, even if they do not intend buying. 

The sales pitch reached a crescendo – he told the audience that from now on, all interviews, selection examinations and GK contests – would have Qs on APJ for sure and it is imperative to know factual details, as contained in the book.  The book which was priced at Rs.50/- was being sold at Rs.20/- to benefit the common man.

I was really impressed by the selling skills, the honest attempt to earn,  of this ordinary person ~ and brought a couple of books. ~upon telling him that the purchases are being made more appreciating his approach and skill – he parted a pleasant smile.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

23rd Sept. 2015.

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