Updated: Mar 8
I'm a proud Indian entrepreneur. Heading a world class organization like Salesgasm is an awesome experience as we are able to connect the finest sales and marketing professionals across the globe, through our events, operating mainly from India. Even though I have traveled across the globe and learnt various ways of doing business, India has always been different and exciting. The entropy in India is what mesmerizes me and it is the same randomness that makes this beautiful country incredible. Doing business is not easy here as emotions and relationships play a vital role. A friend's sister wedding is more important than a multi million dollar deal. Keeping this fact in mind, I have listed down the points that will make doing business easier for you and will help you close more deals.
1. Be late: So you've managed to schedule a meeting with a potential customer? Good job. Now here's what you need to do. If the meeting is scheduled for 3 PM, you reach by 3:15. The reason is simple, IST does not stand for Indian Standard Time, it stands for Indian Stretchable Time. That guy is not even expecting you at 3. You reach there at 3 and the chances of you missing the deal increase significantly as there are people who reached after you. Reach by 3:15 or 3:25 as that's the time the boss would feel like entertaining you after his meetings, phone calls, personal events, tea was too hot etc. If you don't believe me, try and reach an Indian wedding venue on the time written on the invitation. If you find anyone except maybe the flower guy running here and there because the flowers have still not reached, I will delete this post... Not!
2. Don't try to be a friend: No first names please. Even if you have to call a person by his/her first name or if you don't know their surname, you better add a Mr. or a Ms. before that. Or better off, call them Sir or Ma'am. They will insist not to call them Sir/Ma'am, but deep down inside they are burning. Your success in sales is directly proportional to the amount of respect you add in a conversation.
3. Be a relative: Try and look up the family tree and check if somehow you and your potential client are related. If you are a sales guy and you are able to convince them that you are a distant relative then balle balle shava shava (That's the Indian, actually Punjabi way of saying you have cracked the deal). You soon might need a machine to count your incentives. There are many 1000 Rupee notes that are counterfeit these days, you see.
4. Talk more, do less: It's easy to be a salesman in India. Promise for gold and give them silver and they still don't complain. Take for example one of the biggest telecom companies in India. They have promised super fast internet speeds but they don't mention that you will get that speed if you somehow manage to get the 4G network on your mobile. But people still buy.
5. Make it as complicated as possible: Your sales presentation has to look like as if you are explaining rocket science. Make it as complicated as possible with impossible diagrams and graphs with more than 5 axis'. Only on the last slide try and add what they are looking for. Congratulations, you have just cracked the deal. This reminds me of one of my favorite Dilbert comic extracts by Scott Adams:
Well, I'm kidding. The points above are not true "anymore". In this globalized world, we just can't afford to follow the points above. The reason why so much business is coming to India nowadays is because we don't follow the points any more and if there are a few who still follow them, it's time to change and come out of the cocoon.
Dhiraj Dev Phukan is the Founder and Chief Client Success Officer at Salesgasm, a professional sales enhancement company primarily dealing in organizing world class Sales and Marketing events across the globe.