Thursday, 9 April 2015

You don't need high tech to solve the problem. Just think out of the box, it helps.

In Japan, in a soap manufacturing company the soap blocks were made, then wrapped in a wrapping paper automatically on an assembly conveyor belt and finally packed in cartons.

Many a time it happened that the wrapping machine wrapped the paper without soap. i.e. you had an empty packet without soap.

To rectify this problem the Japanese company bought a X-ray scanner from the US for $60,000 to check on the assembly line whether the container contained soap and wasn't empty.

A similar problem happened at Nirma soaps, in Ahmedabad in INDIA. Guess what they did?

They bought a bajaj fan costing around Rs.1500/- and placed it on the edge of the assembly line. The empty wrappers, without soaps just blew away!!!

And You Say Japanese are Advanced in Technology.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Personal Brand

Academic qualifications are extremely important when you are in starting your job and until you are about 35 to 40 years of age.

Once you past your late thirties, your academic qualifications do not matter as much anymore.

Its your brand - your reputation - that is far more important.

Your brand consists of:
1. Your experience, which will tell people the level of knowledge, skills and intellectual strength that you have.
2. Your character.
3. Your personality.
4. The way you think.
5. The way you handle people and stakeholders.
6. Your principles in work and life.
7. The way you carry yourself.
8. The way you dress.

And finally, you happen to be the right person, at the right time, at the right place 

Monday, 6 April 2015

Customer service : East and West

Just came across this article and wish to share with you ...

After living here in Australia for more than a decade, I have kind of accepted, albeit reluctantly, the customer service culture in Australia - for the sake of keeping my sanity, that is. Recently, I returned to Malaysia for a couple of days and have been able to see and feel the vast difference in the customer service culture in the East-West divide.

In Australia today, I feel that there is a serious lack of personal touch and human connection. If you have a phone problem, try walk in to a random mobile phone shop and see if the staff there would help you. Even if he or she has nothing to do, the most likely response you will get is, "Sorry, you have to go to the shop where you bought this phone."

What if you have a problem with a service provider say, Optus, Vodafone or Telstra and you walk into one of their shops in a shopping mall? Chances are they will tell you to pick up the phone at some corner in their outlet and talk to the operator from some call center outsourced by Optus, Vodafone or Telstra to answer your questions. Can you imagine that? Walk into a store with live human beings and they tell you to go pick up the phone and talk to some one who could be physically two continents away!

In Malaysia, if I had a phone problem, all I need to do is to walk into a phone shop and the staff there will hear me out and solve that problem for me right there and then without reciting whatever BS policies their companies or my phone manufacturer has. And best of all, they will never expect me to pay for it. To them, it is their business to serve customers in need whether we are their customers or not unless of course there is a high cost involved in resolving the problem.

Once, in Melbourne, I walked into a shop browsing around looking to buy the right gift for a close friend. The attendant walked over leisurely with a sweet smile asking if there was anything she could help me with. I smiled back and said no and thanked her. Leisurely, she walked back to the counter. Minutes later, I found what I wanted and handed it to her for scanning. While she was doing the scanning, I requested that the item be wiped as there was visibly some dust on it.

Instead of obliging, her smiley face changed almost immediately as if she wanted to let it be known by me that she was not pleased with my request. Reluctantly, she took out a piece of scrap paper from the drawer, crunched it into a ball and attempted to wipe the dust off the purchased item! I just could not believe it! Even a two-and-a-half year old would know that kind of paper is not for wiping or polishing for it will scratch the surface! And yet this is a shop meant for selling gifts and collectibles!

In the end I had to stop her and asked if she has something softer. Without missing a beat she said no! No tissue paper, serviette or cloth in the entire shop??? I ended up using my own tissue paper from my pocket. I just had to give up before she start opening her mouth again not because I was afraid of upsetting her. I was just fed up with such behavior.
On another occasion, I had to collect my previously faulty lawn mover from a mower shop after it was being repaired. The owner served me, pushed out my repaired machine and asked where I had parked my car. He continued pushing that mower to my car and had some small talk with me. I could not help myself and spoke my mind there and then. I said what he was doing was extra-ordinary in Australia. In my long years of living in Australia, this is one of the rare moments where I was experiencing good old-fashioned honest and quality customer service. I told him most shops do not treat customers the way he and his staff have treated us. He corrected me by saying, "Not most, mate, ALL of Australia is this way! That's why we are falling behind in this global market place!" The shop is Burwood Mowers located in the southeastern part of Melbourne. They have been around for more than 30 years - a friendly family business with excellent service.

In Malaysia, I see people fairly obliged and willing to help even if you are not their customers. Not saying Malaysians are kinder or more generous people. It is the larger culture that determines how people behave in general. Australians are generally very helpful people, have good manners and kind hearts. But when it comes to doing business and servicing customers, they just have this Jack-is-as-good-as-his-master mentality. Why do they have to always see things in master-and-servant terms? Today you might be Jack's customer buying food from his shop. Tomorrow Jack could well be your customer getting his hair trimmed in your shop, right?

In Malaysia, even though customers are not always right, BUT service providers let them feel right nevertheless because business is about creating goodwill, building relationship and win-win situations NOT winning arguments or debates. Not so in the West. Maybe this has to do with the adversarial approach adopted in the Western courts of law.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

26 Questions that sell

If you spend your sales appointments giving a lecture about your product and how great it is, you’re working way too hard. A much more effective approach is to ask questions that draw your prospect out. When done effectively, you can end up getting your prospects to sell to themselves!
Asking your prospect a series of open-ended questions during your presentation serves three important purposes. First, it helps you to confirm whether or not the prospect is a good fit for your product. Second, it helps you to identify their hot-button benefits, which in turn allows you to fine-tune your pitch. And third, by getting them to talk about various benefits you sneak the information past the prospect’s “salesperson filter.”

Not every question listed here is a perfect fit for every prospect, but these examples will give you a good place to start. Ideally, once you ask a few questions, the prospect will launch into speech and you won’t need to do any prompting at all.

Buying History Questions
By learning more about the prospect’s previous buying experiences, you’ll get a glimpse of how his mind works and what his buying routines are.
  • What experiences, good or bad, have you had with this [product type] (e.g. “What experiences, good or bad, have you had with buying cars?”)
  • When did you last buy a [product type]?
  • What process have you gone through in the past to buy a [product type]?
  • Has that process worked well for you? How/how not?
  • What have you already tried doing to fix the problem with your current [product type]?
  • What have you purchased from us before?
  • How did that purchase go?
Purchase-Specific Questions
These questions relate to the specific transaction you’re hoping to initiate.
  • What prompted you to meet with me today?
  • What qualities do you look for in a [product type]?
  • Which quality is most important to you?
  • What don’t you like to have in a [product type]?
  • What is your timeline for buying a [product type]?
  • What is your budget?
  • Who else is involved in the purchasing decision?
Rapport-Building Questions
These questions get your prospect talking about himself and help you develop some level of friendliness (and also help you find out the prospect’s likes and dislikes, which can help quite a bit).
  • How long have you been with the company? (for B2B sales)
  • Where did you buy that beautiful sofa? (B2C)
  • How old are your children? How many do you have? (If you see a photo)
  • What would you like this [product type] to do for you?
Clarifying Questions
If a prospect gives only a brief response to an important question, try drawing out more information.
  • Tell me more about that.
  • Can you give me an example?
  • Can you be more specific?
  • How did that affect you?
Objection-Seeking Questions
Until your prospect voices his objections, you can’t do anything about them. If a prospect hasn’t raised any objections then a little questioning can draw them out.

  • What are your thoughts so far?
  • Do you have any concerns? What are they?
  • What other subjects should we discuss?
  • Is there any reason we shouldn’t move forward?