Posts Tagged ‘Success Mantra’

Spread it just right!

June 12, 2013 12 comments

Butter - Thick or thin

A sandwich is deposited in front of you by the waiter; you take the first bite and pull a face to express disappointment. Thoughts of delicious crisp buttered-toast melting in your mouth are killed by an insensitive cook who had applied a microscopic layer of butter, probably under instructions from his boss. The boss-man was more worried about his expenses that your satisfaction. You obviously kick up a fuss and ask the waiter to add a more generous helping of the dairy treat.

No consider yourself and the other person you meet as two slices of bread and the interaction / conversation that takes place between you as the layer of butter and you will be able to see networking in a new light.

If you are diffident or unwilling to share information the other person feels short-changed and you lose the opportunity to make an impact. The listener won’t consider it worthwhile to have a chat with you and would soon move elsewhere. You will end up not being aware of the other person’s work, or need, if smart questions aren’t asked to evoke a response. And it’s important that you wait for a complete answer before you ask further questions, or butt in to add your thoughts. When you are in a large gathering it is also important to spend some time with each person to give and get information. Flitting from group to group hoping to meet a lot of people would be counter-productive. You end not knowing anyone really well and they would know very little about you too.

Talking non-stop to just one person can be counter-productive – s/he might classify you as a bore and run away the next time you approach; and you might miss the opportunity to meet other interesting people in the gathering.

The message – if you apply too thick a layer of butter it is not going to increase the taste of your sandwich and in the bargain it form a potentially harmful deposit of fat around your waist.

The trick in networking, as in sandwich making, is to get the layer that goes in between just right!

The trick in networking, as in sandwich making, is to get what goes in between just right!


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The author, Jayadev Menon, has his own Business Consulting & Training practice, AKSH People Transformation.  To know more about his Consulting, Training and Coaching solutions visit or write to


Does your network work?

June 10, 2013 10 comments

At a recent networking meeting I joined a conversation between two well-known businessmen – both run profit-making enterprises. One was telling the other about the importance of networking and how it had helped him – the discussion was sparked when a new member, present in that huddle, wondered aloud whether such meetings offered any benefit beyond the opportunity to hobnob, over a drink, with others in their peer group.

So, this businessman, who was formerly a Civil Servant, spoke about a time when his business was just taking root. Revenue was still not steady and orders were hard to come by. They were spending a lot but getting paltry returns – production close to capacity, salaries and bills to pay but business far from rosy.

To add to his misery China manufacturers were dumping cheaper products in the Indian market. Our narrator friend said that the writing was on the wall for his company. If something wasn’t done immediately they would’ve been forced to wind-up.

He decided to make a trip to Delhi to impress upon the Industry Ministry the need to impose a duty on imports in order to save domestic production. But he did not know where to begin because there he knew nobody in that ministry. However, there was a batch-mate of his working as Secretary in another department.

Without making any promises this friend took our businessman along to work, at the Central Secretariat. The idea was to discuss how and where they should start the process.

A few minutes after they settled done in the Civil Service friend’s office a colleague walked in to discuss some routine business matter. Our friend was introduced to the visitor and the reason for his visit was stated. Immediately this gentleman said he knew the Industry Secretary and offered to arrange the introduction. Our friend was in a state of shock, but was grateful too for this incredible stroke of luck that came his way. He had got more than he bargained for just by tagging along with his friend.

The Industry Secretary listened patiently to our businessman and saw merit in the request for anti-dumping duty. But he needed solid proof to put up the case to the Industries Minister. He told the businessman to bring evidence to substantiate his claim.

Our friend ran back to his contact’s office and stated what had happened. Now it was this person’s turn to help. He used the Government network of embassies and gathered the relevant information over the weekend. The meeting with the Industry Secretary had taken place on a Friday and by the following Monday the businessman had a solid Case Study (supported by hard facts) to present to the Secretary for building a case to impose import duty.

The Industry Secretary received the document  with utter astonishment – he was shocked to see such a robust case built up over the weekend. But he soon realized how the information was gathered and gave a big smile. He told our friend to leave the information with him and asked for time to work on it. He gave no assurance, nor did he even offer any word of encouragement or support.

But within two weeks of his returning from Delhi there was a letter delivered at his office with a Government of India seal on it. It was the typical low quality government stationery, he said. But inside was information that turned the fortune of his business. The letter contained a Government Order to impose duty on import of products in his category. He and his business were saved.

Our narrator friend said that it was a chance meeting in his friend’s office in Delhi and his friend’s ability to use Government machinery to gather information at short notice that saved the day for him.

He summed up by saying that such networking meetings are crucial for the success of our business. What do you think? Do you see benefit in networking?


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The author, Jayadev Menon, has his own Business Consulting & Training practice, AKSH People Transformation.  To know more about his Consulting, Training and Coaching solutions visit or write to

A happy announcement!

June 3, 2013 18 comments

All the efforts put in over the last 18 months, to present articles at the Sales Coach blog, had been worthwhile on account the response & support received from my readers.

The first one year saw over 200 articles being published at this blog, however the second year has not been a productive one. There was work of course but then a dozen other excuses were made to stop myself from writing.

And then came this joyous discovery. 

Today, quite by chance, I discovered that the Sales Coach Blog is among the most read blogs in India. I got the information from the this website:

The discovery was made by chance. A friend on facebook had mentioned the success of her blogger friend and following that story I reached this website. Running down the list my eyes were drawn to a familiar name.

Vision blurred and the page turned seemed to turn to jelly. Went vision become steady again I rechecked and found it to be true. Sales Coach blog was very there with some big names. Even in my wildest dream I had not thought about the blog reaching such heights so soon.

I have to thank my readers for their support and participation in this process. You made it happen. Immensely grateful for the encouragement!

It also motivates me to start presenting new material here on a regular basis. The responsibility has grown with this achievement.

This is one happy blogger signing off for the moment … watch this space!

Categories: Ideas Tags:

Sucker punch!

May 14, 2013 15 comments

This graphic is from my favourite tee – the shirt is a well-worn item on its last legs, but I don’t want to cast it out of my wardrobe yet: its status though has been downgraded to sleepwear / exercise-wear.2013-05-13 09.31.28

The reason for it’s survival is staring back at you from the page – it is a classic example of a paraprosdokian.  The twist in the tail is witty but catches people off-guard. It may bring a wry smile to a few faces, but chances are that many of them would be annoyed.

Don’t we often behave this way when we respond to our family, friends and co-workers?

A team-member walks up to the manager and says, “Boss, I closed the XYZ Technologies order. It will cover my quota for the next two months.”

Manager responds, “About time too. You have been messing up my numbers for the last 2 quarters.”

How about this one? A colleague walks up to you and says, “Did you hear the news? I have been promoted as Manager of the division”. You respond in a bland voice “Congrats, buddy. All the best,” There is no joy on your face either.

A scene that is played out at so many homes – son runs excitedly to Dad, who has just got home from work, and says “Dad! Dad! I hit a six in the cricket match at school.” Dad, who has had a terrible day at the office, responds “That’s nice! Go tell mom that I want a cup of tea.”

Energy Sappers! Motivation Killers! Spoil-sports! That’s what a lot of us unknowingly end up being by not taking charge of our emotions.

The Manager lost a huge opportunity to push the average-performer into a consistent good performer when he refused to pick up the cue to motivate the subordinate. An effusive and positive response from him could have set the tone for a constructive dialog with his team-member.

The miffed colleague in the second sample probably was in the running for the Manager’s position and when it went to a friend the resentment and frustration showed – this person could have managed emotions in a mature manner and participated in the colleague’s success.

The Dad quite obviously was behaving like a child here. Drowning in his own frustrations the parent ended up disappointing his own child. If he were in charge of his emotions this situation could have been used to help him recover from the bad vibes at the office and return him to a happy state. In the process his child would have stayed happy and excited too.

It’s important to be able to take charge of our emotions. So much happens during a day or in the course of a year, some happy events and some not so happy ones; the idea is to interpret and understand each of and respond in a mature way.

It’s important to celebrate the success of your friends, associates and family-members. Relationships can be strengthened or broken by your reactions.

And it’s important to rationalize when one fails – derive the right messages from the situation with the intent to recover from the fall. Wallowing in self-pity or displaying anger and scorn would be extremely short-sighted and destructive ways of dealing with the situation.

Our inability to react logically or sensibly can have a devastating effect on the recipient of that unexpected blow!


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The author, Jayadev Menon, has his own consulting & training practice, AKSH People Transformation.  To know more about his Training and Coaching solutions visit or write to

Angel calling!

May 8, 2013 12 comments

The call came this morning; thought I must share this message while its still fresh in my mind.

There is a huge backlog at the Sales Coach blog. In 2013 articles haven’t been presented at the rate maintained in 2012.

Gives you their precious time!

Gives you their precious time!

Something’s missing – has the zest gone out of the activity? And that’s when the man who, a little over a year ago, had pushed for this blog’s creation made a phone call. Well, to be honest, that call came a few days back; today’s one was the booster dose!

He asked why the blog is not active these days and I replied “I have lost my mojo; am wondering whether it is worth the effort? What is the purpose?”

His answer was simple, “The purpose hasn’t changed. It is the same today as it was a year back. And it’s simple …. The blog itself is the purpose!”

Can it get simpler than that? Straight and unambiguous!

During the conversation I realized that while the purpose had not changed, but my attitude towards it had. I was clogging my mind with questions that weren’t germane to the issue – missing the wood for the trees?

Have you felt that way? A project that was started with so much energy and gusto starts losing meaning in a while. You wonder whether it’s worth the effort and whether its pursuit would lead you to the results you had hoped for.

You become less intense about it and soon lose focus. And soon you are desperately looking for something else to do. Life becomes a meaningless morass. Been there?

Time to stop meandering in the wilderness! Don’t fool yourself into thinking that the careless wandering would eventually lead somewhere. For a lucky few it may but for the majority it only means frustration, dejection and failure.

It pays to realize early enough that you are headed the wrong way. And you probably are one of the lucky few who have a Guardian Angel, someone whose call would come when you are down and out.

But then again do you realize that the person means well – do you see the person as a helping or hindering influence? It pays to listen because he called only because he cared.  Such friends aren’t going to say that he or she is your revitalizer-dose; you need to realize that.

My pick-me-up friend called again today, to check how things were at the blog and to find out whether I had made any progress with my book. Yes, that is the other major project that is hanging fire. A book! I am going to kick-start that one too thanks to the energizing phone conversation with this friend.

Do you have such an angel investor in your life? This friend or guide may not give you money, but provides something that’s just as valuable, his or her time?

If there is such a person, my next question is …. Are you listening?


Did you enjoy this article? You can get updates on all new Posts by subscribing directly at the blog or on Facebook – just “Like” this:!!

The author, Jayadev Menon, has his own consulting & training practice, AKSH People Transformation.  To know more about his Training and Coaching solutions visit or write to

Johnny is a good man!

April 30, 2013 12 comments

It’s Saturday night and we were meeting with friends at Kovalam’s famous Hawa Beach (3rd Beach). The plan was to enjoy a seafood meal at one of the beachfront shacks that line the length of this popular tourist destination.

We walked along the tiled walkway that separates the restaurants from the beach, to check the sights and the available seafood. The walk had made us thirsty and a chilled beverage was the need of the hour. We had made a short-list of the restaurants to choose from after checking the stuff on display. A restaurant that wasn’t crowded got our vote – Well, most shacks had a handful of diners because this is the fag end of the tourist season, with the weather getting hotter each day in Kerala.

The Service Staff who ushered us to our seats had a warm smile and made us feel welcome. All of us noticed it, but it was my wife who captured the essence of the experience while we walked back to the car after 2-3 happy hours of chatting, drinking and gourmandising:

“One doesn’t need a degree in Hotel Management to do a great service job. Till what Class you think that guy has studied – not even High School, I guess. But, just look at the way he remembered to do and say the right things at the right time. Fantastic! He made our visit to the place worth remembering.”

How does one teach Service Staff such things?

I’ve been to so many fine-dining restaurants and received such indifferent service. The staff usually treat visitors with such disdain. They somehow fail to think long – term or  from the customer’s point-of-view. They are busy doing a job.

So, what did Johnny do that made us feel different? No, this isn’t Johnny as in “Johnny-come-lately” or “Some Johnny”; that is his name! Mr.Johnny is special.

He wasn’t wearing a starched uniform or speaking in a clipped accent, but most wait staff at Kovalam know a smattering of English thanks to the interactions with 1000s of foreign tourists. He didn’t have slicked-back hair and his grooming was ordinary. But, all that just didn’t matter. He overwhelmed us with Care!

He suggested the best fish and the preparations that would suit our palate. When the food arrived he placed the food ordered at the right places, having remembered who had ordered what. Even when he was far from our table I noticed him glancing our way to check whether the glasses had beverages in them. He was not only keeping us happy but ensuring that the restaurant got more business. It was smart thinking!

While we ate the food Johnny stopped by to refill the plates and then asked the ladies whether the preparations had come out right – “How does it taste, Madam? Is everything okay?”

Post the meal his question was “Did you enjoy the meal?”

And after we settled the check and rose to leave he asked “Next time you aren’t going anywhere else? Come straight to our place and we will ensure that you have a good time.” Bingo!

It was a clever thing to say, but it also meant that he had heard us discuss the other restaurants on the beach. My wife and I had been telling our friends, who are from out-of-town, that we come here often and the other shacks serve good food too. He wasn’t lurking to gather juicy titbits from our conversation, just that when he visited our table the relevant bits of our exchanges stayed in his head to be used at the opportune moment. It is a useful skill.

Isn’t it plain common sense? I mean …  Customer Service:

–          Receive the customer with a smile

–          Help them make the choices

–          Suggest without sounding opportunistic

–          Be around to help

–          Sense the mood and the need

–          Keep the interaction going without intruding

–          Check whether the customer is happy

–          Be there to help throughout

–          Confirm that everything went well

–          Sign off in style

–          Tell the customer that you look forward to seeing them again

Johnny did all that with such style and he had not been taught any of it. He just picked it up along the way. He might just blink if one were to ask him about CRM, CLM and CSAT.

But he had what is took …. Service Attitude. The books tell you everything you wish to know on the subject but ultimately service is about sensing, feeling and doing.

The bill was not a small one but we were beaming as we walked away!

Johnny proved once again that ….. Good Customer Service makes great Business Sense!


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Fuzzy logic!

April 19, 2013 20 comments

During a recent train journey I started chatting with the gentleman seated opposite and discovered that he is a distributor and retailer of electronic components (Those weird tiny stuff stuck on boards inside your Computer, TV and Hi-fi systems!) – he’s been in the business since the early 80s, a seasoned campaigner. Being naturally curious about Sales and Business Management I quizzed him on trends in his category (inputs from various market segments are of great value to Consultants). He spoke about changing demand patterns, the disappearance of small-time technicians and hobbyists. These days the major chunk of his business was through OEM Sales – manufactures in SME segment bought components in bulk for the electric and electronic products they made. Somewhere along the way the conversation, almost inevitably, veered to Chinese products, because they are everywhere and in every industry. He said that the components trade had taken a double hit – there was cheaper China components flooding the market and then to add fuel to the fire local manufacturers were directly procuring finished products from Chinese factories to avail the low-cost production facilities there.

Instead of getting demoralized and defeated by this trend he too had started trading in finished products sourced from China. Sensing the opportunity quite early this savvy businessman started taking orders from the network of outlets to which he distributed components and supplied them with components and finished products sourced from Shanghai and Guangzhou. I praised the smart moves he had made and then posed a question – “I hear that one needs to be careful because there are a lot of poor quality products available too? How did you ensure that the stuff you got was good? Didn’t you face the risk of facing dissatisfied customer lining up outside your shop with complaints?”

He replied with a smile – “I have been in this business for a while and I know a bad product when I see it. And then there is something known at gut-feel; you just know when the stuff is good. But it also makes sense to back up your intuition with some buffer stock – that will help to cover any damaged items brought back by our clients.”

“Sound thinking!” I said to myself.

He words made me think about a panel discussion I had watched the other day on a Business Channel where the anchor asked a few industry leaders, “What steps do you take to stay ahead of the game in these troubled times?”

Mr Ajay Nanavati, CEO of 3M India, responded in this fashion (these aren’t his exact words) ”This market is a decision-maker’s worst nightmare –  instability in government, choppiness in the advanced economies and slowdown in our own markets. In order to navigate this market one really has to learn to read the tea leaves. Dig deep and use all your experience to come up with solutions that may seem radical and absurd. But then we are living in absurd times. It may still go wrong, but this market does not permit you to come up with text-book solutions. One has to rely a lot of intuition”.

That word again!

I am reading “Working with Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman and in the very first chapter he writes about intuition. Goleman says that this skill comes with experience – that it’s our subconscious applying logic based on our past experiences on the subject or situation; some people call it wisdom, he said.

Goleman has also said in the book that almost all successful people rely on gut-feel. They are able to go beyond the limits set by rules learnt in text-books and come up with unique and different answers to the usual problems.

So, the next time you assess a situation and decide to take the road less travelled, I’d say … follow your gut!

Categories: Leadership Tags:
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