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Under Sell!

Does that go against the grain of what we have been taught?

During a vacation some months after our marriage my wife and I spent a few days at Kodaikanal – a picturesque little town in the Western Ghats with resorts, pleasant weather and great scenery.

Tired of eating the usual stuff we went in search of something exotic! That’s when we found the Tibetan Brothers Restaurant. A cozy little place that, we felt, would serve us genuine fare because a Tibetan family ran the show. The husband took the order from us and ran downstairs to the kitchen to help his wife prepare the meal.

We found exciting items on the menu card, all available at very low cost – my wife and I went on an ordering spree, each trying to outdo the other. When we permitted the man to get a word in edgeways he quietly said – “Just have the Noodle Soup first and I will bring the other stuff later – if you still want it!” We wondered why he’d said that.

Reluctantly we agreed and soon he brought two large bowls of steaming and tasty noodle and chicken soup – it was just a half-portion for each of us and we had a tough time finishing it. As a bonus he gave both of us a Momo each and didn’t charge for it.  By the end of the meal we just wanted to curl up in some dark corner like overfed pythons.

Later we felt sheepish about our behaviour but it dawned on me that this quiet and simple man had taught me a major lesson in Sales!

A regular Service Staff in any popular restaurant would have taken the order and delivered the meal without giving us any warning – we would have ended up wasting a lot of food. But this man was definitely thinking long – term; knowing his portions sizes he stopped us from having disappointments. He’d been proactive and smart!

He made less money from this sale but had won over two people by offering the right advice – we visited him twice more before the end of the vacation and you guessed right – we did not embarrass ourselves again!

As Sales Professionals we are tuned to maximizing the Sales Opportunity by pushing the higher value product or selling more numbers on some pretext.  Such thinking is extremely short-term!! If the customer discovers later that the additional expenditure or features are not going to benefit him in any way you have developed a disgruntled or unhappy customer who probably wouldn’t be interested in engaging with you again.

Don’t get greedy and lose your customer – take smaller bites and eat more in the long run!

  1. NSN Moorthy
    December 24, 2011 at 1:41 am

    I sure do vouch for the morbid fascination some sales guys have for gunning for “all of it” without second thoughts of actual requirement. Even worse, is working their rear ends off to pick an order, with least cocern on execution capabilities!! Both have the same impact on a long term client vendor relationship. Well written – and do let me have the address for the soup station….Cheers

    • Jayadev
      December 24, 2011 at 5:40 am

      NSN, Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the subject. Falling into that trap is Oh-so-easy!

      Another practicing Manager wrote back saying the reasons for this malady are – 1. the desperate rush to meet ever growing targets and 2. the urge to be one up on competition.

      But a little bit of thinking would show the players of this game that in the long run the reverse of their intent is achieved.

      The moot question is – How many are in the game with a long-term mindset?
      P.S – The Soup Station is at Seven Roads Jn., Opp the Indo-American School’s main gate. Its still in business I guess; my son had been there last year with friends and reported its still good.

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