The World of Direct Sales.

I take this opportunity to narrate a few more anecdotes from my experience of  doing ‘Door-To-Door’ cold calling to sell a newspaper subscription scheme in Pune, India when I had just passed my High School.

It was a mix of fun & bittersweet memories as I stepped into the real world and left behind the shielded life in a middle class home.

The first task was to be selected to begin field work. As an ice-breaker we were asked to introduce ourselves to the team. A young lad who seemed to be a bit nervous to speak in front of the Group fumbled and said, ‘I have just given up my XIIth grade exams.’ Roy, who was our trainer, lightened the mood by advising the chap not to give up so soon or so easily since the results were still to come.

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Met a very interesting couple from the North East. The husband was pursuing his Doctorate in Philosophy and the Lady was a Lecturer at the University. They felt starved to get news regarding their hometown and the region. They asked me about the coverage of the same in my paper. I answered that there were general stories included in the National News Page, however our paper had actually discontinued a 1 page feature that used to focus on the North-East.

They were a bit disappointed to know this but happy that at least I knew about the North East region. They agreed to take the subscription but it turned out that they could offer me only an ‘Out-Of-Station’ cheque from Kohima and I could not accept the same as per our policy. It was a bit disappointing to lose a potential sale on such a triviality. Seeing my glum face, the husband cheered me up and offered to drum up the cash available at home.

He handed me the same with a wisecrack – ‘You know we don’t have money left at hand for tomorrow’s breakfast’. The Lady smiled at me and I looked a bit sheepish. The couple exchanged a quick glance that seemed to convey that she didn’t appreciate his sense of humour. He understood this well but was not bothered by her reaction.

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I met a businessman today and we converted the sale in a very novel way. He was in a rush to pick up his friend from the Railway Station. He asked me to hop into his car and explain him the offer on the way. I managed to complete my pitch as we entered the station. He asked me to wait in the car and went to meet his friend. They came back in a great mood and spent the return journey catching up on news.

I patiently waited  and wondered what will be the outcome. We reached the customer’s home. We completed the formalities and he was kind enough to drop me back to my ‘meeting spot’. His parting message was, ‘You will appreciate the need to multi-task once you grow up and start working.’

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Bhandari who coördinates our campaign is a stickler for discipline, but good at meeting our genuine demands as well. He ensures that the weekly incentives are paid to us on time as promised. He proudly states, ‘Direct Sales needs to be run like an Army. And paying incentives on time is like ensuring that the Army receives its rations regularly.’

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Bhandari noted that the campaign seemed to start late in the evening and the delay was affecting our business. He asked me what could be the matter. I replied a bit cryptically that the team follows its leader and quite often the Coordinators including him were stuck in their Office and reached the site late. He did not saying anything.

Next day he came early to observe the routine as it unfolded. I felt it was smart of him to take note of a trend and make amends immediately.

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Direct Salesman
Direct Salesman
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