@ Springboard your life*The penguins have a peculiar spring in the way they move. They represent grace and beauty and mostimportantly the poise in which they walk and run, irrespective of the body they carry, hence their picture.
There are moments where you feel that despite trying, things are not movingthe way you intend to move them. This small book is an ode to you, my dearreader, who never gave up despite severe trying circumstances, and each timetriumphing from the situations that you came across. It is a reminder of the grit,the determination and the will to do whatever it takes to achieve yourintentions.This is an ode celebrating human determination, celebrating the process ofpositive transformation. www.24hoursinspired.com Be Inspired…24 hours
The Springboard 1. Payback time…………………………………………………Chapter 1 2. Resignation……………………………………………………Chapter 2 3. The Risk………………………………………………………..Chapter 3 4. Assurances…………………………………………………….Chapter 4 5. The inspiration…………………………………………………Chapter 5 6. Planning it out………………………………………………....Chapter 6 7. Marketing Principles…………………………………………..Chapter 7 8. Assessing SWOT………………………………………………Chapter 8 9. M.A.D…………………………………………………………….Chapter 9 10. The Machine People…………………………………………..Chapter 10 11. The Worksheet…………………………………………………Chapter 11 12. CARE.SHARE.DARE………………………………………….Chapter 12 13. The Process of Revision……………………………………...Chapter 13 14. Almost Entrepreneur…………………………………………..Chapter 14 15. Challenging Opportunity………………………………………Chapter 15 16. Tactical Moves………………………………………………….Chapter 16 17. Preparedness…………………………………………………...Chapter 17 18. Magic……………………………………………………………..Chapter 18 19. Dilemma…………………………………………………………..Chapter 19 20. The Retrospection………………………………………………..Chapter 20 21. Springboard………………………………………………………..Chapter 21
Payback Time“Never, Never. Never.” James looked around to see if anyone was watching him. The coffee shop lookedcrowded with everyone having a business to attend with the person sitting on the opposite side. He stared backat Chitra and in an irritated voice remarked, “For the last time, I tell you guys, you will never catch me selling inmy life. I might as well do nothing. Selling diapers, soaps, washing machines, knocking doors and giving peoplefake smiles is way too embarrassing.”Raising his voice a bit, he said, “I especially hate these guys who pester you too much selling their products.Even if you decide to buy something from them, that fake smile just kills the effect and you are forced to put yourwallet back…”“Ok, Ok, we get the point,” snapped Chitra. “But James, you never know what life has in store for you. It’s afunny life you see…”There are some people who are a handbag of advice. Ask them for one they give you two. Ask them for none,they offer you an unlimited range of them. Chitra was one of them. A “bubble gum philosopher” of the gang butthe darling too! She had up her sleeve, the sweetest of smiles to compensate for the flurry of advice given toanyone. That was the sweet and sour part to Chitra’s advice.‘Hey, stop Chitra. You and your philosophies….let’s order for something,” James smirked at Chitra. A hint ofarrogance passed through his tone. And everyone was fine with that! After all, they had been buddies for the last4 years and a very tight gang too.James had two things which made him a heady cocktail. Brilliance and arrogance! He was brilliant and he verywell knew he was one, thereby making him arrogant, many a times. Considering this, there were two types ofpeople in James’ life.The ones who loved him for his brilliance and the others who hated him for his arrogance!For instance, the new head of the department college for Physics who thought James was a too big a pain tohandle. James was too casual in his approach for the strict professor and many a times he would stump the oldman with the kind of questions he raised in class.
Sometimes James would get a small hoot of appreciation or a pat on the back from his classmates for sendingthe professor in a tizzy which would infuriate the lecturer further. Suryakanth, the HOD, till the last day of college,could not decide if James was intelligently arrogantly or arrogantly intelligent.By the way, it was not only his opinion but also the opinion of many a people around, except his last bench gang(LBG).James was the highest scoring student in his Engineering class. He not only knew page by page of the theoriesthat were written in the book, but also delved with his own experimentation of sorts during his leisure time. Withall the traits he had, he loved his science too much to think of becoming anything. Salesman was the last thinghe had on his mind!However, that was 7 years back.Life had come a full circle in 2009. Circumstances makes us the biggest of jokers. It plays tricks upon us in sucha way that we subconsciously are driven by its strong pounding force. Today, circumstances forced James toplay the game he always detested. It had made James turn into a salesman!
Resignation“What do you mean by I want to quit James? Don’t give me a shocker this early in the morning. And whathappens to your confirmation for the presentation on the Annual Tech conference at France, just a week away?We cannot afford to send anyone else. It is confirmed James….. Ok let’s talk about what’s running in your mindJames,” Satish spoke without even stopping to breathe for fresh air.The freshness of the morning had suddenly vanished as James broke this news to him as he was settling downfor the day ahead. Satish was James’ immediate senior and the vice president of the technical division in theorganization.“Satish, don’t worry about the tech conference. I will go for the same and only then put down my papers”, Jamessaid lowering his tone. He knew about the open heart surgery Satish has had a couple of months ago and didnot want him to collapse while discussing. Though, it was a farfetched thought that Satish would collapsebecause of him quitting, he still did not want to take his chances.“What, you expect me to do? Give you a round of applause and thank you for the FAVOUR that you are doingfor the organization by going to France? Well, James, let’s talk this out, can we?,” Satish remarked easily toyingbetween sarcasm and cuddling.“See Satish, I have already decided that I want to quit. You forcing me to stay back or trying to hit me hard withsarcasm would not work. Let’s try to separate amiably. You have been a good boss. I respect you for person youhave been and have been very benefited by the things that I have learnt from you…but I have decided that Ihave to move on….” James said still holding his tone right.“Ok James, what’s next? Have you got some good offer? If yes, let me know, ill match the offer and also try tomatch the position that you are getting from the other organization. We were looking at sending you onsite for 2years and also giving you the position of lead- technical designer when you would be back from France. You stillcan consider James?” Satish said trying to entice him with the offer.
For the first time James smiled and said, “It’s so nice of you to say that Satish, but I believe I’ve already made upmy mind and I’m firm on that. I am not joining any other company Satish, but am looking at doing something onmy own. I am looking at getting into sales and marketing!“Whatttt???” remarked Satish. James thought that he would collapse any moment and was ready to jump for aglass of cold water if any such thing happened. “You want to get into what? Sales and Marketing? But youalways hated the marketing guys James, if I am not wrong. How come all of a sudden you want to get intomarketing?”“Just like that Satish. Have a couple of plans up my sleeve and want to give it a shot in what I despise the most.Who knows maybe the calling comes from places where we least expected to be and that’s where our true selfalso comes out,” James said philosophically. But Satish was in no mood for philosophy. “Tell me James, if youwant to get transferred to the sales and marketing division in the organization. I can have a word with the MD, ifyou want to?”“No Satish, that’s fine. I’ll skip that.”“Well, James, what more can I say. All the best for your future and let me see if I can send someone else toFrance instead of you. Mind you boy, you are treading the wrong path.”
The risk2 months after quitting he could not get out 2 people from his life. One was Chitra who said “you never know”and the other Satish who had said “you are treading the wrong path.” Both of them had been haunting him for awhile now. Reason, being a salesman was not as easy as he had figured it to be.He jogged his memory back to his college days. Amongst everyone in the Last Bench Gang (LBG) had beendoing extremely well for themselves.Rahul had moved on to start a travel firm and was doing well for himself. Akash had gone back to his familybusiness of hardware networking. Sheela had become the marketing manager of one of the reputed firms in thecity. Venkat moved on to join a national television channel as an assistant producer, taking care of its coredesign aspect. Rashmi had moved to the US and was happily married and settled. Chetan was a globetrotterwith Lonely Planet and Chitra had gone ahead to pursue her masters in psychology. She was now working as acounselor with a hospital in the city.It looked like everyone in the LBG had defied their engineering degree except James.Becoming an engineer was always his desire. As a part of the campus recruitment drive, he had bagged a job inone of the leading software multi-national companies in the city with a six figure package offering.“Wow…it’s an amazing feel to get a six figure salary.”“So where do we go for the treat?” Rahul asked.“Not today… we’ll go out soon, don’t worry, I will definitely give you guys a treat.”‘No, we want a treat right now. However small it may be,” Chitra coaxed.“Ok, the only thing I can do right now is buy you guys some coffee at our regular hangout. If that’s fine witheveryone?”Chetan, the most animated of the gang snapped, “Yes, of course. That’s a cool deal for the moment. Let’s go.”This is how the gang went out for coffee and this is how the conversation on the sales professional started.
As he sat in front of his computer today, everything flashed very clearly in front of his eyes and this made him gofrom feeling bad to feeling worse.While working with the Multinational, James had also been silently working on a product which would look atreducing workload and also streamlining a lot of processes. He had developed it in two variants. One was on asmaller version for person usage and the other one on a larger scale for organizations to use it for theiremployees. While making the prototype of the same, he was advised by his friends to not divulge the product toanyone and that it could fetch him a good sum of money in the market.‘Yes, that’s a good idea. But how can I sell it off as a commercial product on my name when I am working withan organization? I mean no organization would want its employees to get into things which would not benefit it,right?” James told Sheela when they met over for coffee a few months back.“Yeah, that’s a point. You either need to talk to your organization about the organization about this product. Andbecause you are working for them, they would very well ask you to give it to them and they would promote theproduct as theirs. Yes, you would get a small token of acknowledgment from them or would have your nameinscribed in unreadable letters as the inventor of the product. They would also make sure that they patent theproduct under their name. If all of that’s okay for you, then please do go ahead and do the honors. If not, thenyou need to look at a different route….”Sheela who was into marketing explained to James who in turn grasped every word that she uttered thinking onthe next question to spring to her.“Well, you could look at someone marketing it, under disguise. The organization you are working with should notknow that it’s your product.”“But what’s the point?”“Exactly. What’s the point? So the next best thing you could do is jump out of the organization and start your ownventure, with the product being your USP. In this way, you become your own boss and also sell a lot of theseproducts”, remarked Sheela as they sipped warm coffee on a cold evening.“But it could be a problem for you James?“What?”“Selling has always been degrading for you. So am not too sure if you want to market it yourself,” Sheela saidwith a wicked smile.“Yeah, I remember that coffee incident. The salesman and what Chaitra had said. Life looks like it’s coming a fullcircle for me,” James said with a dry smile.
‘But it’s a good thing to sell James. Try it out. Your product should work. It is genius. Let me know if there’s anyhelp you require from me, Sheela said as they parted ways.2 months into it, he had not even sold a single product. All the people who said that the product would sell likehot cakes seemed to have disappeared and every friend of his who were working in the organization had toldhim that they would get back to him. Getting back when is what they had not mentioned!
AssurancesFor two months, James had relied on assurances of probable breakthroughs. The breakthroughs not coming andthe bank balance dipping every moment, he had to decide to move ahead. Two months of non activity made himrealize that if there has to be a light at the end of the tunnel, he has to start digging for the tunnel. Till that day,he had pegged his fortune on the assurances of people. He knew it was high time to take a hold of his life.‘So how do I go ahead? If things had to move, it would have moved by now. Maybe I need to go out in the sunand do my own bit of searching. But how will I do it when I have no experience of it. Ok let me take it step bystep, starting with jotting down all the points which would help me sell the product” he contemplated.With this he started writing down all the points which could help him sell his product.He invariably came down to the conclusion that if he had to sell “his” product, he needed to go out there, reachout to people, convince them to have a look at the same and if convinced buy the product. Only then theconfidence and the cash bells would start ringing.Having good technical experience and none in the area of sales and marketing, James faced certain dilemmasas he contemplated– 1. I have never sold anything to anyone? 2. What happens if people reject my product? 3. What if they are not interested? 4. I am not in the “field” of selling 5. What would my friends think of me when they come to know about this? 6. I might embarrass myself with thisThese thoughts had always lingered in his minds but today he was angry with himself. He looked hard at thestatements that he had written and felt good. “Wow, it’s only this much. I feel better after writing them down.”
He looked at taking the writing a step further. For days, because he was waiting for the moon to fall in his lap,his confidence had cocooned and he feared that he would lose it completely one day. With the first writing done,he wanted to take the bull by the horns, so thereby he took another piece of paper.Thinking about himself at the current state, he wrote down all the emotions that ran through the days andsegregated the beneficial from non beneficial.- Confusion- Depression- Anger- Self Sympathy- Hope- Passion- Excitement- Resentment- Energized- Active- FrustratedMaking columns, he looked at the ones which would help him in his pursuit towards success and the ones whichwould not fetch him productive results.Useful Not usefulPositive NegativeHope ConfusionPassion DepressionExcitement AngerEnergized Self SympathyActive Resentment Passive HurtFor a moment, he was shocked to see the “Not Useful” figure more than the “Useful”. James was happy too. Hewas happy for three reasons –
1. He could write down all the things that he experienced as an emotion 2. He had enough “Useful” to get him pumped up and start making the changes in his life 3. He could obliterate the “Not Useful” of his life now that he exactly knew what they were.With this done, James heaved a sigh of relief, also clearly understanding that there was a huge task ahead. Hewas undeterred though, considering that he would work from the “Useful” of his life and not the “Not Useful”.The first thing he convinced himself was the pride he had in whatever he had invented. He realized that if he isnot proud of the product, he would find it extremely challenging to look at someone in the eye and convince. Hesat down and looked at all the possibilities of marketing his product in the best possible ways. One by one, theadvantages came rolling and so did his conviction.He was ready to go past his limitations of a not useful thought to the possibilities of a useful thought.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Activity Worksheet for growthWrite down all the emotions that run in your head that would accelerate your growth. Enhance your “useful” areaand obliterate the “not useful” area.Useful Not useful
The InspirationIt was a mental block that James had to overcome. It took him some time and reinforcement to get out from theskin of what he was and get into the skin of what he wanted to be! During the time, he also started getting backto all the inspirational books he had read during the years. He was extremely keen in getting inputs to the lives ofindividuals who had made it really big despite the hardships that came their way. After thinking about a lot ofsuch stories, he froze on five of them 1. Joe Girard 2. Colonel Sanders 3. Fred De Luca 4. Sharath Babu 5. Oprah WinfreyA small peep into the lives of these 5 peopleJoe GirardWhen he started selling cars he was 35 years of age. Before that he was one of the wondering types not doingmuch for himself and aimlessly running around in search of something. One evening when he came home, hiswife told him that there was not enough for the family to eat and more importantly for them to feed the kid. That’swhen he felt embarrassed and promised himself that he would not see this day again. That’s when he startedselling cars. And how he sold! He was so passionate about selling cars that his name features in the GuinnessBook of World records for selling the maximum number of cars. The feat remains unchallenged till date!Colonel SandersHarland David Sanders stared the idea of cooking and selling chicken products at the age of 40. Coming from apoor family and his father dying at the age of 5, he had to help his mother with the economics of the family. He
did not have a shop to sell, to start off with, so he did a door to door selling of his products. At the age of 65, helooked at franchising his product which is today popularly known as KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken)Fred De LucaWhen he was 17 years old, he borrowed $ 1000 for opening a shop that would sell fast food items to pay for hiscollege fees. The story of Subway began from here. The boldness in ambition on the part of Luca could be wellestablished, when he opened a 3rd subway, even though the two stores were doing small business or in loss.However, the 3rd one was on a prime location and that clicked and how. Today Subway is present in 62 countrieswith 13,000 stores and is the second most successful franchise in the world.Sharath BabuRaised in a slum of Madipakkam in Chennai, India, this 29 years old has a story to listen to. His mother wouldsell idlis in the morning, work for mid day meals program in the afternoon and teach at an adult educationprogram during the night to raise her 5 kids. Because of lack of money for education, Sharath Babu after hisclass X worked in a book binding company to collect money for higher studies. For admissions into an elitecollege, his sister pawned her jewels. Scholarships came in and he performed. He rejected a plum job from oneof the corporate houses to start Foodking catering services which is doing extremely well today.Oprah WinfreyThe world knows her as one of the richest ladies. Her fame and fortune encompass every young and passionateindividual’s wish. Born to a very poor family, her growing years were as difficult as you could imagine. At the ageof 19, she got a radio job and with hard work, dedication, commitment and passion, she overcame every obstacleon the way and paved herself towards fortune and fame. One of the living icons and an inspiration to look up to,Oprah is the story of turning the tides despite innumerable setbacks.James read about these people, thought about them and felt real charges up with the idea of making it happenfor himself too. He made his own notes on what he learnt from each one of them. It read
Joe Jirard – It is never too old to start!Colonel Sanders – If there is no money for your own space, knock people’s doors. Knocking doors comes for free.Fred De Luca – Its never too young to start!Sharath Babu – Where there is a will, there is a way!Oprah Winfrey – Challenge your circumstances and defeat them!
Planning it outAfter reinforcing and pumping himself with a lot of inspiring thoughts and feelings, James set to work. “If they cando it, it is possible for me also to give my best shot in whatever I do and try to achieve something.”The first task he did was to list down all the contacts that he could use as a help to sell his product. It came toabout 15 people. These were the people who were his immediate family members, friends with whom he hadlived his years and some of his colleagues whom he had helped in their times of need.Next, he set himself up to make a website of his own where he could sell his product and also have a chat withpeople interested to know more about the product. James, though a technical guy, was not in sync with makingwebsites.A professional would cost him a bomb and the ones which were for free were not of the quality that he hadexpected. After much thought, he posted a small note on his social networking site, “Interested in barter –Exchange of an extremely handy and useful a product with someone who could help me develop a professionalwebsite. Thank you.”For the next 2 hours, he logged off and on for more than 15 times to check if there was anyone who had senthim a message or mail. There was nobody who had responded. He tried to run his mind through several otherthings and feel distracted, but the thought of checking his mailbox came again and again. 2 hours of hide andseek finally led to the incoming of one message. The link on his scrapbook read – “That sounds great. I am gamefor the same. Send me details on the same and we’ll take it forward from there” – Lisa.Lisa was working with an IT firm and James knew that she was one of the most creative people he had knownaround. He sent her an immediate message - “Let’s talk on this. I will call you tomorrow evening.”Just the right kind of support when he required! With that done, he sat down to write down all the links that hewanted to have on his website. He browsed through several websites and finally froze to 5-6 different segmentsfor his website.The list read as follows: 1. Homepage
2. About us 3. The product 4. Reviews on the product 5. Targeted segment 6. Frequently asked questions 7. Contact usWith that finalized, he sat down writing the text. James got stuck in the homepage itself with him not able to findout a catchy line. He finally hit upon something. He would list down some testimonials on the right hand side ofthe home page and in the centre would have his product rotating. This would benefit him in two ways. 1. Even if anyone does not go to the other pages, the first page would show what the product is. Hence, when people see his product the next time, they would be able to relate to the same. 2. The credibility of the product would be enhanced with the testimonials of various people who have used the same.James was elated that the day was a good one. It was 11 pm and the energy remained intact. Rather, theenergy seemed to have accelerated magically.James wanted to do more. In the process, he looked for an old diary where he could keep a tab of his dailyfinances. Finding one in the cupboard, he made a very simple “expense chart” for himself. ) Before sleeping, hechecked a couple of inspirational videos on youtube.com and with a feeling of great pride and satisfaction hewent to bed, waiting for tomorrow to happen as soon as possible. The Expense ChartDate Details Cash received Cash given Amount
Marketing PrinciplesThe next morning James woke up quite early. He had kept an alarm for 6 a.m. but he was up and ready to go ataround 5.45 a.m. He got up, wore his favorite sweat shirt, shorts, sports shoes and went off for a jog. The earthwas still and the sky was moving from red to blue. There were a few people who passed by James as he joggedtowards the football field. To a few who made eye contact with him, he smiled and got the same back inresponse. He felt that he was growing in confidence in tiny ways like this.As he ran around the football ground, he thought about the ways and means of promoting his product. Hereflected on the techniques he had implemented till date and looked at the factors he could use to promote hisproduct in the coming time. He thought about all the ideas he had generated while reading the books written byseveral eminent marketing personalities and he thought of implementing the same one by one and therebytracking progress.The 90 day principle of Kishore Biyani, The door to door marketing concept of Colonel Sanders and the 5%commission marketing of Joe Girard were the top three ideas he thought of implementing.He tried to concretize on these concepts and looked at applying the same to his product. Slowly, he reflected onthe three concepts as he sweated on the football ground. 1. The 90 day principle – Kishore Biyani, the founder of Future group, also known as the father of Indian retail In his book “It happened in India” talked about several easy to do techniques including the 90 day principle which he used while building the business conglomerate. His 90 day principle was very simple – “From ideation to implementation, if there is no progress in the first 90 days, it is not much worth the effort.”James had found the idea extremely interesting as it pushed an idea to become a product in set time. Heremembered very clearly what someone had said about dreams and goals. “Goals are dreams with a deadline.”He wanted to implement the same in his process. So as he jogged, he thought about using the same concept,but standardizing it to his area of work. Rather than the 90 days, he challenged himself to a 48 hours deal. Fromideation to implementation, 48 hours is what he gave himself. If he was able to do something about the idea in
48 hours, he would take the idea forward. Or else he would write it down in a notebook and mark – for futurereference. 2. The door to door marketing - James had liked the thought that when Colonel Sanders started selling fried chicken, he did not have a store or rather he did not have money for the store. So, what he had done was he had moved from door to door selling his chicken before coming up with his first outlet in Kentucky, America and later franchising the same.James thought of his product and also his customers. It would be extremely illogical for them to come to him andask him to demonstrate his product. So the logical aspect would be that he reached out to his clients and showthe capability of the product and the advantages that the product could bring to them. If he succeeded, that wouldbe fabulous. If he failed, it would at least be a good exposure and experience for him. 3. The 5% of commissioned marketing – As he read Joe Girard’s book “How to sell anything to Anybody,” he realized two very important elements – 1. Help People 2. Build on your credibility by paying what you have promised and paying in time. The 5% commission came as an idea when Joe in his book mentions about how he gave 5% commission to people who referred clients to him and paid them on time. With this small gesture, he had been able to get in a lot of people referring others to go to Joe to buy their new cars.James thought at his business. Would he be able to replicate the same to his business? “Hell, yes.” He coulddefinitely give a 5% as a fee to anyone who referred him to business. The 5% would not be from profit but fromthe overall deal made while selling the product is what James thought of giving. The idea was simple. The finderwould get more money than he/she would after profits and that would encourage them to refer more people toJames.James did not realize that he had taken around 10 rounds of the ground and that he had spent about an hourjust jogging. With this finalized, he suddenly realized that it had been a while. He rested on the bench beside thepark for sometime, closing his eyes and visualizing on where he wanted to see himself in the coming times. Withthis done, he walked out of the ground, smiling and bouncing towards home for a structure well laid.
Marketing strategiesSl. Strategies Your strategy DeadlineNo.1. The 90 day principle2. The door to door marketing3. The 5% commissioned marketing
Assessing SWOTThe first thing he did after he came back was write down all the things that he had to do on the day on a stick itnote. He listed down 10-12 things to be done for the day - 1. Take a shower 2. Make a Power point presentation on the product 3. Get connected to 10 people online who could be potential customers 4. Talk to Lisa in the evening 5. Meet Max and look at how he could be of help 6. Wash clothes 7. Look at understanding how to use twitter 8. Meet Shashi and get to know ideas on marketing 9. List down the SWOT for self and the product 10. Make an expense flow sheet for the month in a diary 11. Look at some places around town where I could get more crowd to engage with regarding my product 12. Read one chapter of a bookThis done he looked at listing it down in terms of priorities and then starting to get into action. Taking a showerwas the immediate requirement which he got up and completed in 10 minutes. Next he sat down and openedlinkedin.com (the business networking site) and started looking for 10 people whom he could get connected with.In 30 minutes, he sent about 10 mails requesting for a connection on the network. With that done, he looked atthe clock. The time was already 10.30 a.m. He felt that networking online had taken a little too much of a time,but nevertheless it was worth the effort. Next he sat for making a SWOT for himself, but thought otherwise, Hefelt that he should make a PPT slide on the product and in leisure should do a SWOT analysis of the productand self.With the help of technology, it was easy for him to compile the latest of slides and use it while making thepresentation. Almost an hour and a half got spent in the making of the same. The final result was for him to see.
The time was five minutes to 1 when James got a call from Lisa. James explained to her his idea of promotinghis product and the necessity for him to have a great website. Lisa promised that she would work on a test copyof the webpage and send it to him by the end of the week. In return, James as promised told her that the productwould be handed to her when they meet the next time. 10 minutes into the talk, and they had agreed uponcertain tangible results.With the talk done, the feeling of extreme possibilities and the thought of acceleration inspired him to no greaterextent. He rushed for lunch and did not spend too much of a time grabbing a bite.After lunch, he felt a little heavy and therefore thought of either sitting for the SWOT analysis or grabbing a bookto read. He chose the later because of the fact that he did not have to contemplate too much on the same. Hepicked up a book titled “Tuesdays with Morris.” The book talked about the relationship between a student and ateacher and the lessons learnt during the journey of life. James was impressed by the simplicity of writing andthoughts and after reading for half an hour, took a siesta for 15 minutes.The alarm rang and James half willingly woke up. He washed his face and looked at the list for the day. 1. Meet Max and look at how he could be of help 2. Wash clothes 3. Look at understanding how to use twitter 4. Meet Shashi and get to know ideas on marketing 5. List down the SWOT for self and the product 6. Make an expense flow sheet for the month in a diary 7. Look at some places around town where I could get more crowd to engage with regarding my productThere were still 7 to go from the list and the time was already 4 pm. He sat for further prioritization of work andstruck off “Wash Clothes,” “Meet max” and “Meet Shashi”. He could always meet the two of them tomorrow orover the weekend and could delegate someone to wash the clothes for him on payment!This left him with the most vital aspects for the day. 1. Look at understanding how to use twitter 2. List down the SWOTWith two things remaining on the “priority” list, it did not seem too much for him to do. James felt that he couldwell finish the work in about 2 hours. With renewed enthusiasm, he sat down to work. His idea on going ahead
was simple. From the most time consuming to the least time consuming! So, it was from listing down SWOT tomaking an expense flow sheet.The SWOT had to be from a marketing perspective, for himself as well as the product. So, James made 2separate analysis -Marketer’s Strengths Marketer’s Weakness - - I am good at communicating my thoughts - I have never tried my hand in marketing - I have a pleasant personality - Sometimes, I over talk - I can understand body language signals - Sometimes, I jump the gun when - I am good in making eye contact someone is explaining something to me - I am good in presentation - I am intimidated to make eye contact very often with peopleMarketer’s Opportunities Marketer’s Threats- I could be one of the only salesmen who’s selling The first impression while presenting my productmy own product which could be a guarantee for could also be the last impression for the same.the people who buy it, if the conviction of the same Need to watch out in giving my best shot.is made from my endLikewise he made one for the product and after an hour or so finally came out with the final SWOT for both theaspects. Fatigue set in and he moved out of the chair to make himself a cup of coffee.As he prepared coffee, he thought about how someone recently had told him about independence andinterdependence. It was strange for him to realize that when he thought that independence was the mantra ofsuccess, it was interdependence that made the world go round. He thought of how Lisa had pitched in, how hehad easily written down 10 people who could help him achieve the targets, he thought about the 5% commissiontheory. The more he thought about it, the more he was convinced that he was living in an interdependent worldrather than an independent world.With about an hour spent on a heavy duty task, he definitely deserved to take a light topic as the next in agendawhich was to understand the use of twitter. This done it ended his list for the day. He was exhausted yet happythat he could finish so much in a given day. However, he still had a tinge that he could better the same. After all,
it was just the first day of a progressive approach towards marketing. James had filled himself with the ambitionto go full throttle and he did not want to take tiny steps to cross the chasm!The time was 9 p.m. on the clock. James had his dinner, watched some news on TV and at around 11 p.m.received a well deserved sleep determined to get up at 5 am next morning.
M.A.DJames woke up exactly at 5 am. The first thing he did was take 10 minutes and concentrate to write all the thingsto do for the day after which he went off for his regular jogging. As one of his to do’s in the list he had writtendown about going to 3 companies and demonstrating his product to the people in the management. He was surethat they would give him an appointment and through the jog he rehearsed on every aspect he had to talk abouthis product. He was confident that out of the three, two of them would give him a hearing.He returned, took a shower, got to do a few of the things that he had jot down in his “to-do-today” list and by 11a.m. got ready to go for the first marketing venture. He had listed 3 companies in the vicinity which could beinterested in his product. Taking a walk, James reached the first company at around 11.30 a.m.He was stopped at the gate by the security who asked him if he had made an appointment with the personconcerned. James replied in the negative and the security requested him to make an appointment and comedown. He was baffled. With all the preparation he had made, a guard stopping him on the gate was somethinghe thought was below his dignity. He raised his voice and so did the guard. He ordered that he wanted to speakto the manager to which the guard told him to leave immediately. As he was jostling with the security guard,James saw some of the employees walking in the office. He ran to them and explained the situation. The guardtoo left no stones unturned to make sure that James would not be left inside. The employees told James thatthey were helpless and they moved on. The guard had his cards on the top.James suddenly realized that the trick of the trade was to impress the guard and take the appointment. So hesincerely said, “Sir, I am sorry for the confusion. I am also sorry for behaving rude with you. It was my fault.Would you mind if you could please connect me to the product manager of the organization?” his tone hadmellowed and his facial expressions turned from bold to cold. To this the guard dialed a number and asked if themanager was in. He reported that the manager was out of the office but did offer James the landline to getconnected to the concerned person. James shook hands with the guard and thanked him for the help. Whilemoving out, he also apologized for his behavior, understanding very well that if he kept a nice relationship withthe people who guard the door, they could come handy sometime. And after all, he felt they were just doing theirjob.
As he walked towards the next office which was about a kilometer from this office, James realized someextremely vital aspects.They were – 1. It was he who needed them, not vice versa 2. Having a polite tone surely helps 3. He has to keep his attitude and ego at home when he is coming outIn the second office, he spoke well to the guy at the door and the reception but was told to take an appointmentand come in, so was the same in the third. This is not what he was expecting in the worst of cases. He hadthought that he would walk in with the product and walk out with the deal, or at least, get an appointment with theconcerned person. But it was going exactly the other way. Disillusioned and dejected on the first day of real“selling” he headed towards home.It was about 3 a.m. when came back home. The day was sunny so he felt a little fatigued. So, he crashed in hisbed and started thinking. He thought of the plan and how difficult was it to execute the same. “How illogical of meto think that people and companies would be waiting for me with their arms wide open to listen to my sales pitch,”was the thought that struck him as he contemplated on the day’s events.James quickly thought that he should come up with a different approach. He thought of Sashi whom heconsidered as a marketing hero. Picking up the phone he called up Sashi and requested him for a meet. Theyfixed up 8 pm in their regular adda for the same. With this done, James felt like taking a siesta which he did, justto wake up after 4 hours. The time was already 7 pm. He immediately got ready and brushed up the questionsintended to ask to Sashi and moved towards the adda.After pleasantries exchanged and a cup of shared coffee ordered for James went ahead with his story, “I thoughtthat marketing and sales was something which I would never get into. As you know, I have always been in thetechnical side of life and felt that this is my calling. Now things seem to have been pushing me to market myproduct and therefore want to add the skill of marketing in my portfolio……” And he went on with the situations ofthe day. After 15 minutes he stopped and asked Sashi, “Now you know my problem, can you please help me sellmy products well?”
Sashi quipped “First and foremost welcome to the club boss. In marketing and sales there are a few things thatare very vital for you to understand and ingrain- 1. If you want to succeed, rain or sunshine should not deter you. It should inspire you to do more 2. Forget the word “ego”. You have to look at yourself as an entity that’s conditioned to understand mindsets. These mindsets will haunt you, cajole you, temper you, pamper you and you need to be ready for all of this 3. Be nice in your approach to people. Even if they do not like your product, they will like you if you are nice to them 4. Take an appointment when meeting people. Make a list of people among your friends who can help you meet people in the corporate spaces. 5. Always remember that the customer is looking at “What is in for me” in anything we explain to them“I would also like to share with you a small tool which I use for myself after I meet my customers. It is calledM.A.D which means Moving Ahead diaries, a very handy tool which will structure your conversations with peopleas days go by,” said Sashi. M.A.D (Moving Ahead Diary)Person you metDesignationWhat did youtalk about?What are thequestionshe/she asked?How did youanswerWhat is that you will keep in mind?
What is that you will use more of?Sashi said that with time, he would not have to use the M.A.D but for the initial meetings and after meetings thisis an extremely handy tool. James before leaving profusely thanked Sashi for the help provided promising himthat he would come back to him time and again for guidance and assistance.He returned home and with a renewed vigor. He started working on a host of things including M.A.D, listing downthe companies he wanted to visit in the vicinity, listing down names of friends who worked in some of thecompanies and also drafting an impressive mail which he could send to these companies. He worked latethrough the night and hit bed at around 2 a.m.
The Machine PeopleHaving worked late, James woke up at around 9 a.m. The jogging had gone for a toss and the sun alreadyseemed to have climbed the nearest tree. James felt a little guilty for that but quickly reminded himself that hehad slept at around 2 a.m. He got out his regular diary and started jotting down all the things that he had to dofor the day, starting from going to colleges that he had missed yesterday. He added 2 more organizations in hislist, which made it 4 for the day. He moved out of bed and checked if any company he had written to responded.This he found ridiculous and smiled because he had sent a mail at around 1 30 am and that it was just 9 a.m.Some people would have just walked in and some might still be on their way to office.He finished his regular chores and got ready for work. One very interesting habit James had was that whether hewent out or stayed at home and work, he would always keep himself well dressed to have a feeling of working.“If you are in your home attire, you feel plain lazy and disinterested to work,” is what he always told everyone whoworked from home, like him.There were about 5 major things to do for the day, excluding the 4 organizations he had to visit. He thought hewould add more to the list as and when the day progressed. 11 a.m. and he was ready to hit the ground. Hereminded himself the 5 things that Sashi had told him and promised himself of taking care of these elementsthroughout his interaction with people today.He went to the first organization and fortunately this time, he was given a permission to meet the manager. Hewaited for the marketing manager to call him in. After 20 minutes of waiting, finally he was called. The managerwas a jovial looking man who introduced himself as Ratnakar Rastogi. “My name is James Mathew and I run anorganization called “The machine people.” We are based out of Nanchungud and we offer this product which Ibelieve would be extremely handy for your organization.” James said all of this in a single breath. The managerrealized that he was nervous and gave him a glass of water. “So Mr. James, what is so different in this productcompared to others?” the manager asked.James had through the presentations made by Richard Kawasaki learnt the power of breaking down hispresentation into bulleted points.
“5 things Sir, first this is the future of technology. The platform that we have worked on is….Second, thisis….third….fourth…and finally, the price is extremely competitive which is one of the reasons why you should takethis product!” He realized that this time, he was less nervous and more confident. “Can I have some brochures ofthe same, Mr. James so that I can forward it to the technical person?” the manager quipped. James did not haveany brochure to show so he said, ‘Sir, one of the fundamental elements that “The machine people” practice isconservation of paper. If you suggest, I could send you the e-format of the same, if that’s fine with you?” Themanager smiled and nodded. James knew that he was itching closer to the deal. After another 5 minutes of talk,James asked for leave and taking the manager’s card walked away smiling to himself for a pitch well made.On the second and third organization, he was more sure about 2-3 things – 1. Relaxing on presentation 2. The name of the organization (The Machine people) 3. We do not use paper so we circulate e-brochures.The other presentations were also good enough and he was happy with his overall performance. As he fiddledwith his mind on the way back home, James realized that he had by accident made 2-3 very vital decisions forthe future.1. Name of the organization2. E-brochures and thereby an eco-friendly organization!He wrote that down and promised himself that he would keep these 2 things static in the future.Reaching home, he checked his mail and found out that there has been one response for his mail. He had sent15 mails simultaneously to these many organizations and this resulted in a mail back from one organization. Theappointment given was on next Wednesday. He was happy that at least there was a response. Inspired, he satdown and sent mails to 15 different organizations. Having done that he ticked off all the “to-do” things that he hadwritten one after another.After an hour of work, he relaxed with a book which had ‘Tough things don’t last, tough people do” written byRobert H Schuller. It was a very interesting book written in anecdotal format and this engaged James for a whiletill he fell asleep with the book in his hand.He woke after 2 hours and realized that it was dinner time. Quickly finishing dinner, he sat down with the otheractivities to complete and finishing by midnight, he went to bed again.
The Work SheetHe woke early next day and went for his regular jog. During the process, his thoughts went on to the first threedays of marketing. He realized that it was a wee bit difficult to get through the entrance person and that heshould device something in this regard. He thought of ways and means of getting through to meet the concernedperson of the organization.Suddenly he hit upon an idea. The idea was simple. He would make a requirement survey form with a disclaimerthat it is to be filled by the marketing head and the same will be used for a book which he is researching upon.The idea seemed to be a good one. With a single stone James would hit on both the birds. On one hand hewould give the impression that he’s researching on the book, on the other hand he would also be able to meetthe head of the concerned department and talk about the product.Stopping midway he ran back home. Without bothering about the sweat and the tiredness, he sat down on hiscomputer and started making a feedback form. The final output was – The work productivity enhancement score sheetDoes your organization follow XYZ process?Would there be an enhancement in workproductivity when XYZ process is used?What are the top three technologies that you areusing in your organization?What are the top 3 concerns when it comes toemployee work enhancement?
Would you be interested in a demonstration if aunique product is introduced to you?Where do you want to see your organization in 5years time?Name:Organization:E-mail id:Contact details:James sent the sheet to Sashi with the idea and requesting his feedback. This done, he sat for writing theengagements for the day. He made out a plan that the plan would be to send about 50 mails and that he wouldspend the rest of the day doing that, writing down names of people who were working in various organizations hecould immediately connect with and also preparing content for the website he intended to launch.After finishing with the engagements of the morning, he sat down to write the content for the website. He thoughtof his friend Mike who was an expert in web hosting. He picked up the phone immediately and called up Mikeand told him about his plans to launch the website. He also told him about Lisa ready with the web pages to behosted. Mike assured of help and also of a nominal charge for hosting the website. Done with the talk he satdown and started writing content for his website.After about 3 hours, he stopped. The first draft was done. He wanted someone to review the content and advicehim on further modifications. He tried to connect people who were good at writing and editing. Shivani wassomeone whom he could trust to help him out with. Her writing was excellent and she was a good friend ofJames. He picked the phone and requested Shivani. She was more than happy to help him out. He was happytoo that there were people who would be ready to help him at his call.With the content done and sent to Shivani, he took a small break and then sat down to send the 100 mails, hehad promised himself. So, one by one, he moved on with sending the mail which continued till late evening. Bythe time he finished, he was famished by the mundane job. He crashed on his bed to take a short nap with thenap converting into a full fledged sleep.At around 2 a.m. James woke up to hunger. He went to the kitchen to search for some food. Fortunately, therewas something to eat. He quickly grabbed a bite and moved towards checking his mail. There were 5 mails on
his inbox. Three junk and two relevant! The relevant ones were the response to the mail that James had sent tothe companies in the evening. Out of 100, two had responded and given him time for an appointment onSaturday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.Things looked like they were moving and moving in the right direction.
CARE.SHARE.DAREIn the last 10 days, James had gone to meet the concerned individual from the 3 companies that he had anappointment from. The response from all the companies seemed good. Everyone seemed to like the product buteach one told them that they would revert to James in sometime. Though, neither of them mentioned when theywould come back to him. However, for the last one week, there had been no response from either side. On onehand, he wanted some business to happen. On the other hand, he did not want to write to them again and againand thereby look too forceful on his approach.In a dilemma, the first person he thought of approaching was Sashi. He called him up and fixed a meet with himin the evening. At around 7 pm they met at their regular coffee shop. James explained to Sashi his dilemma andasked for his inputs on the way ahead. He was helpful in giving James a perspective on the approach to take thenext time he was going for a meet. He told him about 3 simple steps –Care –to ask and listen intently about their concernsShare –the inputs and the advantages of your productDare –to breach the topic of commercialsThis sounded simple to him. However, with whatever tiny experience he had in selling, he knew it was not goingto be as simple as in the discussions. He went home and sat down to list out 5 companies that he wanted to visitthe next day. In the last 10 days, the feedback forms had been working very well. It was giving him an immediateopportunity to meet the concerned professional in every office and also a perspective on the needs and wants ofhis kind of product for the organization.In the meanwhile, Lisa had called and requested him to send the data. She promised him that the first draft ofthe website would be ready by Sunday. Today was Saturday. He could not wait to see the first draft of thewebsite. Through the days, he had connected himself to many people, a lot of them online and some offline.Through his search, he happened to make acquaintances with people in the US and the UK who showed initialinterest in his product. It was too far fetched an idea but he knew for a fact that no opportunity was far fetched. Itall depended on how far was he open to stretch himself.
As advised by Sashi, he put his strategies in place for the Care, Share, and Dare principle. It was like a mantrahe felt and was excited to use it the next time he met a new client, which was tomorrow.
The process of revisionThe next day he met the client and showed him the product. The reception was good so was the principlestaught by Sashi. The client however repeated the same lines given by the others. He would come back to Jameswith the requirement. Another proposal looked bleak to him. But, there was hope. Hope that all the work that hedid today would fructify into something concrete in the coming times.Sometimes life looked gung ho but sometimes he just wanted to give it up.However, as the days progressed, it looked bleaker and bleaker. He used the concepts that he had learnt fromSashi innumerable times. There was a good amount of interest generated amongst people but when it came tothe final stage, everyone said that they would come back to him. In the meanwhile, cash was running dry forJames. There were moments where he felt that he should give it up and move back to the corporate sector andwork with a firm. Things would at least be stable on the economic front! But there was something that stoppedhim from doing so. Even though there was not much money left in his account, somewhere deep within he wasconvinced that sometime soon he would break profit.He made drastic changes in his lifestyle in the past couple of weeks in terms of his economics. Spendingbecame very calculated, socializing without any meaningful output went off the scheduler, he cut down on eatingout regularly and he also, very religiously, started making a note of his daily expenditure. The incoming routeseemed to have hit a dead end.One of these days, James hit upon a thought of re-doing his SWOT analysis and this time in terms of the skill sethe carried and the opportunities he could tap. Through the weeks, he had just been looking at marketing hisproducts and this did not show enough results in terms of economics. So, he looked at what are the services thathe could offer as an independent entity to the clients that he met through the days.He made a chart-My area of service and collaterals required
Consulting fee per serviceThis was a step forward. What would require sometime was to make collaterals in the form of online and offlinebrochures highlighting the services offered. He sat down to work and in 3 days time completed the completebrochure. In the meanwhile, he visited companies with his product. The reactions were more or less the same.There was excitement for the services offered but when it came to finances, everyone told him that they wouldrevert.Through the weeks, he had met innumerable people and had discussed with them his products. The best part ofthese interactions was that he grew more in confidence and his presentation capabilities and it was a good signfor the marketing guy in him.Though the business was not kick starting as expected, there had been some positive news too for James. - His website was up and running - He had connected with about 500 people online - He was much more convincing in his approach while dealing with potential clients - He was understanding the ropes of selling - He realized that he liked whatever he was doing
Almost EntrepreneurThe idea of exploiting the skills that he had started paying dividends, if not in large quantities! He got a fewrequirements independently, some through people he knew directly and a few through references. At least therewas some flow of money to keep the dreams of selling his product intact. Through the opportunities, he alsorealized that he could very well get his product in the organization provided he showed exceptional service qualityto the client.James worked harder each day to provide premium output to the client. He spent long hours understanding theways in which a certain process could be made to work simpler. Sometimes, even the weekends were given amiss. Anyways, weekday or weekend, it was the same for James the ‘almost” entrepreneur. The clients werehappy with the progress that James made in fulfilling the task. They offered to give him more work, some ofwhom offered to hire him as a full time for double than what he was earning in his last company.But James was adamant. His dreams were adamant. They were getting concretized as the days passed and hisunderstanding of marketing got better.One day, James was working in his client’s place when someone tapped him on his back and said ‘Hello, areyou James?” Puzzled of not having recognized the person, he muttered, “Yes, I am and you?” “Sorry, Hi, I amAnne, I am the vice president of the marketing vertical and have been hearing some good things about you fromthe manager. Why don’t you drop by my office in 15 minutes time so that we can talk a few things?”James thought if it was a job offer he would reject it out rightly. Smilingly, he said, “Hi Anne, pleasure to meet.Thank you for the compliment. It would be my pleasure to come by in the next 15 minutes.”Bang!That was what he had learnt in all his days of selling. Even if you want to reject something, do not let the otherperson find it on your face. Being pleasant to people, he had understood does not cost a dime and yet bringsdividends, professionally and personally.
15 minutes later James walked into Anne’s cabin and after a brief small talk Anne got to the point. “I understandJames that you have a very interesting product to showcase. The manager told me to take a look on the same.Can you bring your product the next time you come by?” James was thrilled at the proposal and thanked Anne,saying that he would get the product tomorrow for a demonstration.In the evening he came back home and prepared his presentation. He called up his best friend Jeet and told himto be at his house at around 8 p.m. James wanted to put a presentation demonstration in front of him andwanted him to provide him feedback on his presentation. He did not want to miss the opportunity. It was a “do orsigh” opportunity for him is what he felt. He sat through the presentation for the nth time and was finally preparedwhen Jeet rang the door bell.After exchanging pleasantries they sat for the presentation. Jeet sat on the dining table and James stood about10 ft away ready to go. “Go boss,” quipped Jeet and James started the presentation. In exactly 10 minutes, hefinished the presentation. Jeet was spellbound. He never knew that James could present so well. With thatenthusiasm, poise, confidence and clarity, he was bound to make an impact. The only feedback he gave was thatmaybe James should check once a while during the presentation on the audience’s understanding of the matter.James acknowledged the same and thanked Jeet for the help and after some talk he left for home. James hadrealized that there was nothing called over preparation, so he stood in front of the mirror and practiced thepresentation. He then sat down to write all the questions that Anne and her team might ask him about theproduct. Someone had told him that to prepare fully is to predict the questions that an interviewer would ask, notethem down one by one and try answering them and preparing.Tentative questions 1. What’s different from your competitors? 2. How much cost would it save? 3. What’s the validity for the product to show us results in record time? 4. How much discount could you give to us? 5. How about the service factor. Would you provide service guarantee for the product?He listed down the answers too, rehearsed the main points to the T and then went to bed, fully prepared to faceAnne and the board tomorrow.
Challenging OpportunityJames reached office quite early. There was no one in the office except the office boys. The office opened at 9a.m. which was a good half and hour from then. He was at his chirpiest best and he immediately inquired if Annewas in with the office boys. With another hour to go for the meet, James sat down in the space he had beengiven in the office and started preparing for the presentation. He did not want to even miss an opportunity tomake an effective presentation that would be engaging and gently persuasive, for he felt that, if he did not getthat, he would be shattered.So there was a lot of stake for him in the presentation that he was making on this day. He went to the restroom,closed the door and started practicing in front of the mirror. In 10 minutes, he came out fully prepared for thesuccess he wanted to see. He was positively charged and energetic. Because he was early he went out for acup of coffee in the nearby restaurant. Exactly at 9 a.m. he walked inside, and so did Anne.He gave a warm good morning to her of which she reciprocated with a nice smile and asked him if he was readyfor the presentation. James nodded his head in acknowledgement. “Give me 15 minutes and we are good to go.I’ll be there at the second seminar hall. See you there,” said Lisa and she walked in. 15 minutes ran through hismind. He immediately rushed to his desk, carried his laptop and the product and rushed to the second seminarhall. The seminar hall was locked. And he felt that 5 minutes would pass by searching for the keys. Fortunately,there was Gopal, the office boy moving around. He immediately caught him and requested him to open theseminar hall, which he obliged.Thanking his lucky stars he walked in the hall, arranged the presentation and was gung ho about the entireactivity when Anne walked in with the other three managers for the presentation. There was one manager amongthe team whom James did not meet eye to eye. He had about 5 altercations with him in the past 2 months andJames always felt that he would be someone who does not like him growing professionally. However, there wasno scope for him to think about this, though there was a little bit of a heart break when he saw him.Nevertheless, he smiled at him and wished him a good morning as he also wished the other gentleman a goodmorning. He had no issues with the other gentleman though. James made a quick mental note of the statistics inthe room. 3 people, 2 people have no issues with me, 1 has had altercations in the past. It was still a 2:1 ratio.
Also he made a note on the time spent on preparation vis-à-vis the time he would spend giving the presentation.5 hours vis-à-vis 15 minutes!The stakes naturally were favored on his side. He felt good about it. So, making a mental visualization ofsuccess, he started his presentation on the product. He started with the story of how the idea came, moved on tohow it would enhance the effectiveness of organizations and narrowed down to how helpful it would be to thatparticular organization in terms of cost optimization, effectiveness of the workspace and also highlighted on theaspects of servicing offered with the package.After he made a presentation on the same, they panelists fired questions to him. James was more than preparedfor all the questions they asked and convincingly shot it down, one by one. In 45 minutes time the presentationwas over and the panelists bought in the product idea. “It’s an interesting device you have made, however wewould like to test the same in our space before we look at ordering for bulk. So we just need two pieces rightnow and if required we will request you for more. What do you think gentlemen?,” Lisa asked the other two. Theother two nodded their heads in unison. James felt that the first guy had done it convincingly while the secondguy reluctantly nodded his head too. He had shot James about 3 questions of which he had most convincinglyreplied to.James was happy for the first ‘sale’ made of his product. Selling two products on the spot was a neatachievement for him after all the “nice product but order later” theories he had been fed with by all the peoplewhom he had met during the weeks.He gave two products to the purchase department, took an invoice from them and gave it to the accountsdepartment for the clearance of the cheque. The lady at the accounts section told him to collect his cheque bythe end of the day. Extremely excited and sweetened by his victory, he immediately called up Sashi to tell himthe good news. Sashi congratulated him on the feat and asked him if there was anything he could help Jameswith. To this he replied, “You could help me by taking sometime off this evening and joining me for dinner.” Sashiobliged and the two of them decided to meet at 9 p.m. at a nice place around the city and celebrate.This done, he was extremely pumped up to do more. He quickly finished off a task that he had to and rushedhome. Since he was not a full timer with the organization, he had the liberty to work from home on the project hewas assigned to. Reaching home, he switched on the computer and started to type “A product that will increase your work efficiency by 25%” - Especially for growing enterprises
In this progressive age, how would you like if your work efficiency is increased by 25% and your cost ofoperations reduced by 30%?Presenting to you “Whiz tech” a wonder product that would look at helping you do the sameFasterEffectiveEfficientCost optimizedFor more details on the product: Email : firstname.lastname@example.org or call : 998764354This was an ad he wanted to send to all the people who were in his mailing list and could be prospective clientsfor the product. However, before doing the same, James wanted to show the ad copy to Seema, a good friendwho was a copywriter. He called up Seema and requested her to have a look at the copy and revert. She toldhim that she would get back to him by evening on the same. He thanked her and after keeping the phone downwent to attend other things at home. The rest of the day went on as normal as it would, between e-mails, peopleonline, phone calls and browsing.At around 6 p.m., he checked his mail and saw that Seema had reverted.“Good job boy. Just a couple of suggestions. Why don’t you add on some testimonials from people who haveused it? Increases credibility. Think about it Also if you could give some design to the mailer it would lookterrific.”Cheers,SeemaThey were nice suggestions. He thanked Seema and went ahead with making arrangements for the testimonialsand also the design.8.30 p.m. he left home to meet Sashi. The two of them spent some good time discussing business and the futuregrowth, leaving for their respective homes at around 11 p.m.
Tactical movesFor James, the order from Anne and her organization was highly symbolic as this was the first order for hisproduct by an organization. He was sure that they would like the product and order for more in the coming days.However, he wanted to make the moment monumental. He never wanted to forget the first order he received.The next day, he skipped going to office and decided to work from home. He called up the manager andinformed him the same. The manager on his part obliged his request. James had thought of what to do and ataround 10.30 a.m., James walked up to the nearest photocopy shop and requested the gentleman to give him aphotocopy and lamination of the cheque.The shopkeeper looked at him for once and when he did not see any expression on James’ face, he went aheadwith the same. Having done that James went back to his room and pasted the laminated copy of the cheque atthe wall in front of his work desk. He realized that this would help him in 2 ways – 1. Keep him motivated to work more 2. Keep him humble irrespective of how big he grew in life He went on to write down the engagements of the day after which he checked if anyone had sent him some mails requesting for a demonstration on his product. There was one – Computer Solutions Private Limited. They wanted James to come by the next day with his product to give the technical head a demo. He reverted acknowledging them and also confirming the timings of the meet. After that, he straightway hit to the website of the company to know more about the organization and also look at where the product would fit in. After about an hour of research, he was finally done with the notes, promising himself to have a deeper look at the same in the evening. With that done, one of the assignments that James had written for himself was to go to the nearest bookstore and get himself some of the magazines related to his work. A quick shower and James was out on the streets towards the bookstore. It was about 2 p.m. when James reached the bookstore. He browsed through the news board of the store, checking the latest engagements in the book world. To his extreme surprise, he came to realize that one of his idols was releasing maiden publication in the bookstore at 5 p.m. He wanted to be a part of the event. There was still 3 hours to go before the event started and he realized that it would be extremely long for him
to stay at the bookstore for the next 3 hours. He thought of buying a magazine, walking up to the nearestcoffee shop, spending some time and coming back half an hour before the event. That sounded a good idea.He picked up a magazine, paid and headed towards the coffee shop. There were about 6 people in thecoffee shop, in three pairs. He sat at a distance that he could read the magazine and also overhear theconversation going on, just in case the conversation would help him in promoting his product in some way.He was not willing to let any opportunities in any which ways to sell and promote his product. James alsothought that if they talk technology, he would smile at them and join one of the groups and showcase theidea of his product. He listened intently while his eyes focused on the magazine. The guys on the left handwere talking about some college fest they were planning to organize at college.The gentleman facing James looked like the professor while the younger guy the president of the fest club.Their discussions revolved around participating colleges, events, logistics, sponsors, permissions etc. Jamesthought the professor could be a good connect when it comes to showcasing his product in the college.However, there was no response or an eye contact with James as he was engrossed in entirety inconversations with the young guy. He thought it would also be a bad idea to interrupt.He moved his ears to the right. Some interesting conversation was on. The guys were talking about thesomething related to technology. James thought he heard that they were looking at options of some softwarefor their processes in the office. This was music to James’ ears. He could talk to these guys about theproduct. It could be a good opportunity. He looked at the guy facing him. He looked 35-36 years of age andalso looked like the finance guy of the company. With cuff linked shirt, blazer and a tie, the guy definitelylooked rich. James started thinking about cracking the conversation, but there was a hesitation to do so.He did a mental rehearsal of a smile and a hello. He also mentally rehearsed the following line – “Hi, sorry Ioverheard you guys discussing about software, so could not stop myself from saying a hello to you guys. Myname is James and I work in the same industry as you guys….” He looked up and rehearsed once againwith his eyes closed. He opened his eyes, turned towards the guys, just to see one of them get up andproceed towards the toilet. That was an excellent opportunity for him. He had the lines. He had the emotionsand the confidence. In worst case, it was better getting embarrassed with one person than two!With a smile and making an eye contact he said the exact lines - “Hi, Sorry I overheard you guys discussingabout software, so could not stop myself from saying a hello to you guys. My name is James and I work inthe same industry as you guys….” Surprisingly, the guy gave a wider smile, came over shook hands withJames and told him he was Sagar. He invited James to their table. James thought it was a little too muchbut on second thoughts, he felt good. This was what he was expecting. Sagar introduced himself as themanaging partner of a mid-sized software firm and also indicated that his friend was the founder of the
company. In the meanwhile, the other gentleman came in and Sagar introduced him to James. The othergentleman, Arjun was a very soft spoken individual with a keen sense of observation and always carried asmile on his face. James liked the guy instantly. They inquired about the work James did and through thediscussion James brought out the topic of the product he had developed. He also confessed on overhearingtheir conversation on the lookout of a new product and thereby the generated interest. They both laughed atthe same, with Arjun thanking James for being honest. James started liking him more.After 25 minutes of discussion, they asked for leave. Handing James, their visiting cards, they suggestedJames to be at their office with his product at 11 am tomorrow morning. James could not have asked formore. He realized the importance of keeping the eyes and ears open in search of opportunities. Sagar andArjun’s case was a classic testimony of the same. He reinforced himself to further his power of observationin the coming times.It was already 4 p.m. by the time they finished conversation. After about 10 minutes of their departure,James too left the place and headed towards the bookstore. They were getting the stage arranged. For 25minutes, James casually browsed the books and when he saw that the chairs were laid and people weresitting, he settled down. In another 5 minutes the guests arrived. After a bit of welcoming, the host startedthe process.The guest was introduced as one of the brightest minds of the industry and as the host spelt out hisaccomplishments, James could not stop wondering how much of time it would take for him to achieve thekind of recognition. Maybe in 2 lives, he concluded. After that there was a small snippet of the book read byone of the most distinguished theatre personalities in the city. The reader had a very good baritone and itkept the audience glued to the presentation. James quickly removed his notepad and started scribbling thedata the reader fed to the audience. After 10 minutes, the reader stopped and the audience gave him athunderous applause. James looked at the author who was smiling and had his eyes lit up at the gesture. Hefelt real good for his hero.Next, the host invited the author to speak a few words on the book. James sat up straight. He did not wantto miss out on a single word said. He scribbled interesting facts the author said and was completelymesmerized by the way he spoke and the confidence he carried with him. The author thanked the audiencebefore moving out, just to be given a standing ovation for his talk. James felt extremely delighted for him.The book signing went on and that was followed by snacks. James wanted a chance with his idol. During thesocializing, he found his idol engaged in a talk with an elderly gentleman. He mentally rehearsed his lines,carried a smile on his face and walked towards his idol. “Hello sir, It was a wonderful presentation and I am
sure the book is also extremely valuable for youngsters like me,” quipped James. The author thanked James for his kind words. ‘Sir, you did talk about innovation and the need for revolutionary products in your presentation. It was highly inspiring for a young innovator like me. I have recently come out with a product which would improve effectively and cut costs by 50%. Its been tested in the market and the results have been extremely encouraging,” he said in a breath. The author looked at James from head to toe and inquired what he did. James talked about his profession and also gave more inputs on his product. The author looked very impressed. He asked him a few questions to which James answered confidently and convincingly. After all, he had been talking only about his products to everyone for the past couple of months. The questions were repeated 80% of the time. James knew that if he could market his product to the man, it could be a massive business opportunity for him. Here was one man who made a fortune selling products. If he was clued and glued with his idea, James could strike gold. The author took his business card and told James to bring 2 products to demonstrate at his office the next day at 9.9-11-4. It looked like a back to back timing for him but he was confident that he would make it. He had to request Sagar for a push by an hour. He thanked the gentleman and took leave promising to be at his office at 9 a.m. sharp. He could not believe that he had touched one of the icons of the industry and more importantly convinced him for a product demonstration. James started believing that the product could actually be a goldmine for companies. He called up Sagar and requested for a push by the hour. Sagar was nice enough to oblige for the same.
PreparednessIt had been an extremely hectic day for him and he knew the evening was going to be much more hectic. Groundwork on three companies was no small task. He at least felt a little relieved about having done a bit ofgroundwork for the third client. He switched on the system, went to the company’s website and started makinghis notes. In exactly 2 hours, he had all the relevant inputs required. The time was about 8 p.m.Exhausted, he fell on the bed to lie down for a while, just to wake up at 3 a.m. the next day. He suddenly wokeup and the first thing was to check the time. 3.15 a.m. James ran out of bed, went straight to the fridge andscooped anything he could into his mouth. He was extremely hungry and before he sat to work he wanted to eatsomething. After having done, he sat in front of his computer, and started revising the material he had compiledfor the meetings. He took out a blank sheet of paper and looked at creating a sheet for himself.A look at the sheets–Organization Questions AnswersAfter this, he filled in the tentative questions that each organization would ask him and also jotted down theanswers he wanted to speak out. James did not want to miss out the opportunity to showcase his product andwith a big client like the author’s company, he would take double precautions to not show his nerves.
It took him an hour to do write down the questions and tentative answers for all the companies. The time was 430 a.m. James thought there was no point in sleeping. So he went for his early morning jog, though half an hourearlier.
MagicJames was back from his daily jog half an hour than the regular day. Through the jog, he had rehearsed theanswers, tried to see if there are any loopholes in the same and did a positive visualization for 15 minutes. Hefelt charged up and was raring to go. He had laid rest a couple of doubts including, what if they will not like myproduct and what if they ask difficult questions. He had answers for both, more importantly, the first question.James thought he would give it his best shot but had nothing to lose, if the deal did not come through. He wouldlook at the loopholes, try to polish them and use it in the next interview. That was an excellent attitude to carry.At around 8 a.m. he left for the first client’s office. The distance was about 25 minutes but he did not want topanic, just in case there was a traffic jam. He reached by around 8.35, with an easy half an hour to go for themeet. He purchased a newspaper and as was his habit, went to the sports segment, followed by the businesssegment. The IPL was on and pages were flooded with columns written by ex-cricketers, starlets, managementgurus and the likes. He skipped. James moved to the business page. There were at least 5 news articlesindicating takeover of smaller companies by bigger ones in the software industry.He thought about his product for a while. What if they say that they wanted to buy the product in entirety? What ifthey, after demonstration will assign their technical team to bring out a prototype of the same product? What ifthey come out with a product similar to his and dominate the market? Suddenly these thoughts started takingwings. However, there was something inside that told him that there was nothing to worry about. He felteverything’s going to be fine.At 8.40, he stepped into the office, introduced himself at the reception and took his seat. It was a massive officespace, with a lot of security men on the ground and surveillance camera on the ceiling. He felt a littleintimidated. However, he kept his cool and waited to be called for the demonstration. After about 10 minutes ofwait, he was escorted towards the seminar hall. People were already there in the hall. At a quick glance, henoticed there were about 15 people in the room, including the CEO of the company, who incidentally the guyJames met at the bookstore.
James was given a warm welcome by the CEO and that cooled the nervousness that he had while seeing all ofthem. He took about 5 minutes for the setting and when he was ready the presentation started. James was cool,confident and comfortable with the presentation. He explained every bit of the product with ease and panache.He was thorough with the product and the presentation. In about 20 minutes the presentation was finally doneand James opened the house for questions. Questions darted from far and wide with him answering each one ofthem with utmost care. The CEO at the end of the presentation asked James a question on if he was willing tosell the product completely to the company and if yes, what was the price he was looking at.This was one question which James was not able to answer very convincingly, even to himself as he preparedfor the answers. And the CEO asking him the same question was extremely challenging. The challenge was for 2reasons – 1. He looked upon him as a role model and thought saying a “No,” he thought, could be an end to their relationship. 2. He was realizing that his product had excellent potential, if he was looking at marketing it full throttle.James was in a dilemma. He did not know what to do. He sighed for a moment and took a gamble. It wasextremely challenging for him and as he spoke, he narrated to the gang the two concerns that he had1. Not selling and losing a relationship2. Selling it independently as he thought the product was a great prospectAt this the CEO laughed aloud, congratulated James for his analysis and also told him that the product had avery good potential if tapped wisely. He also told James that they would still continue with the relationship, even ifhe did not want to sell his product. Further, he put across an offer to James. The offer was simple.James could go back and do his research on the market value of his product, come back with a price and put itacross to him. If it looked like a win situation for both, he could go ahead with the deal.James could not believe his ears. He had never expected the CEO to be so generous with his approach. Of allthe people he had met, here was a man who gave you the liberty of thinking on your own and deciding for yourgood. James made up his mind that if he would sell the product, the first preference would be him.However, at the moment he had time.The CEO agreed that they would take 2 sample products for the time being and use it for some applicationsbefore scaling up. He requested James to discuss accounts with the department and left the hall. James handedthe product to one of the people and was escorted to the accounts department. An invoice was raised and acheque was made in no time. James was thrilled about the deftness and speed. He looked at the clock hanging
at the reception. It read 10. 25. Another half hour, he had to present his product to Sagar and company. Herushed out of the office. 15 minutes later, he was there, ready to make another presentation.The next presentation seemed like a walk in the park. Easily James answered all the queries, sold 2 pieces andwalked to present his third case for the day. It was an interesting day for him. From the early morning niceshocker to the relaxed pre noon presentation, things looked very bright for him. The next meet was at 4 pm. Sohe had about 2 hours before the meet and the office of the client was a stone throw away from Sagar’s office.James thought of giving himself a treat.He went to a very nice place in the vicinity, relaxed himself in one of the seats with a sofa and ordered for themost sumptuous of lunch. During the period, he called up Sashi and talked about his day and requested his timetomorrow evening so that he could take Sashi’s advice on the matter.Like always he consented and they fixed a time and place. With lunch done, he had about half an hour to go forthe next meet. James took out his note book and scribbled the events of the day, highlighting the ‘things-to-do”for himself on the two accounts. This was one habit he had been following for the past 3 years. It kept him ingreat stead.The third client was a bit of a challenge for him. They thought the product was good but wanted a negotiation onthe pricing. They quoted him an amount which he thought was ridiculous stating that if he wanted to give theproduct in that price, they would take more of it in the future. At the moment, they wanted three in the quotedprice.James gave one product to the client saying that he would give it for a weeklong trial and not charge for it. If theyliked the function, they could order. However, price would not be negotiated. The client told James to come backafter a week for the review of the product and then they would decide on future business prospects. James hadsecond thought of working with the client, considering the experience. But that was for a later day. Right now hewanted to savor the moment.He went out for a movie with a few friends including Sashi and spent the rest of the evening relaxing andthanking his stars for the day.
DilemmaThe next day he went to work as usual. There were not many things happening at his workstation, thereby he leftthe office early. Through the day, the issue about selling his product or going solo hit him like bricks. He felt theurge to ask for some suggestions and advice but he did not get the feeling of asking for advice from anyone athis working space. Anne was at the top his mind for an opinion but he stopped. The reason was simple. What ifshe felt that he sold her a product which he was contemplating to sell off to a third party. It would look like heknew about the deal but still went ahead and sold the product to her company. And more so, it could bring abouthim being disassociated completely with the organization. He would not only lose professional contacts but alsoprofessional rapport with everyone in the organization which he was not willing to let go. As the day progressedhe got impatient. If he spoke to his friends he was sure they would advice him to sell it off at a good price. If hespoke to his ex-colleagues back at work, they also would advice him the same. However, he had one personwhom he could talk to. He dialed the number.‘Hello, is it Prakash?”“Yes,”“Hi Prakash, James here. How are you?“Oh Hey James, how have you been doing? Been a while man.”“I have been doing well, Prakash”“So how’s the marketing thing going on? What all have you been selling?”“Been going good Prakash. Wanted to talk to you for a while if you have some time?”“Sure go ahead”James explained him everything from the day he started building this product, the reason he quit, the struggleshe had had during the days and the final offer that was made to him by his role model.“So what do you think I should do Prakash?”“Oh cool James. I never knew you would turn into a marketing genius too”“Hey, no genius and all. Just tried and pushed my luck.”
“Well, am happy for you James”“Thanks Prakash. So what do you think I should do? Should I wait or should I sell it off?“What’s the price you are looking at if you selling?”“Don’t know”“What’s the scaling up you are doing of the product if you looking at going on your own?”“I don’t know that too”“Well James, you still remain a technical guy to me, then.”“Hey Prakash, Jokes apart, what do you think is a good price for this?”“So you have thought of selling it off eh?”“No, no..generally looking at a figure”“It should easily be somewhere close to a 2 million dollars. That’s a conservative estimate James. You could up itto more than 5 times of the price I said. Depends on how well can you explain the reason why you quoting theprice.”“You sure about it, Prakash?”“Yes, absolutely. Nothing less than 2 million”“Oh cool. So do you advice me to sell it off?”“Well it looks a great offer to me though James, rest is your decision”“Cool. Thanks Prakash”And with a little bit of nice small talk he hung up the phone. He wondered through the coffee vending machineand then to the water cooler. He was restless and clueless. Prakash had given him a good figure to estimate theworth of the product. And it looked a neat sum.He dialed another number“Hey, hi James, long time. How have you been?”“Doing good Chitra”“Heard you have moved into marketing and selling, boy”“Am still a researcher by heart”“Ya ya you remember the coffee shop discussion right..”you never know thing”“Don’t rub it in Chitra!Ha ha ha..”So tell me why does the great James call the tiny Chitra after years?”“Bloody its hardly been a year Chitra!”“Oh, the famous temper eh. Cool down and tell me what happened?“Ok.ok.”And James went on to narrate the story and also what price Prakash had estimated of the product.
‘Wow. An arrogant millionaire eh…”“Shut up!”“So tell me what do you want from me?”‘Should I sell it off or keep it with me and start something of my own taking this product as a flagship?”“Hey, that’s a huge decision. How can I decide for you?”“I think you predict well with all the unwanted philosophies that you carry along with you”, he joked“See and now you come to the philosopher to ask about the biggest thing in your life. James grow up!”“Hey, I was joking. Sorry. I am”“Ok. If you were not my friend, I would have slammed the phone”“Tell me what do you think should I sell it or keep?” ‘Well, James, what do I say? If you think what I said at that coffee shop came true for you, does not mean thateverything I say will come true for you. I am not biting this. Don’t ask me for this favor.”‘Please Chitra. One last time. Help me out. What does your gut say?”“My gut says that I should slam the phone now”“Hey Chitra, don’t do this to me. Okay I might not take your advice, but what do you think?”“Okay, I think whatever you do, will be good for you. Either ways I feel would be good for you.” “Got to get back to work James. All the best!”With that Chitra hung up the phone. James went into further soul searching. Chitra had been of not much helpexcept the last lines that he could do either of them, and it would prove beneficial. He realized that he too knewthe same. James grew restless. He looked around the office. Everyone seemed to be busy doing something, not knowing ifthat’s what they wanted to do for life. They seemed to be doing things for a living. Life and living were twoseparate entities for James. If life was the celebration of all the small things that made up one’s existence, livingwas about survival. If he sold the product, he would fetch a good amount of money for that and make a living fora very long time. However, if he kept the product with him, marketed it well, built an entity for itself, then hewould be able to live a life, for that was the sole purpose he left working for an organization.He wanted a break. The clutter in the mind was a little too much for him to handle. James packed his bag, wrotea small mail asking for leave and sent it to the person he was reporting to.“What happened James, suddenly?”“Not feeling well Ram. Just want to go home and sleep for a bit.”“Ok. Do take some medicine and if it is persisting, do go to a doctor ok.”“Yes I will Ram. Thanks for the advice.”