Back in 2014, I was in my final year of college. I remember worrying about my career most of the time. Those were tough times and I did not have the slightest clue of what I wanted to become or where I would end up. Having been always average in studies, with no extra certifications or no programming background I never took my career too seriously when my peers were doing multiple courses, preparing for exams or doing internship from bigger names. The only two things that I seem to have flair for was to understand people by talking to them and giving seminars almost twice every month of my college life.
Unfortunately, I never thought any company would want to hire people for talking and making presentations exclusively. Until
Location: Auto expo 2014, Chennai trade center, Chennai, India.
I walk in with my friend and we saunter past a lot of cars. Almost anyone could tell that we were not there to buy anything. We walked past many cars and being car enthusiasts, we almost took long stops at all the stables and shot penetrating questions at the representatives about torque, horsepower of the car, mileage etc.. Almost many of them took us light and simply shoved flyers on our faces and took to attending the potential prospects. That never slowed us down, we were still teens who just loved cars.
We walk into a super busy Skoda booth and most of their representatives are already taken by interested prospects. We wait for some clearance and there comes a very old man with a Skoda badge beaming over his shirt. He had the air of a man who commanded the world he lived in(or least the booth he lived in). He is delighted to see us, two young insignificant guys. He reaches us in no time and walks us through the then newly launched Skoda Octavia with advanced features. We almost spent the next 40 amazing minutes with him and there were a few things that happened,
1. He took the time to understand what bought us to the expo. Once he found that we were just students trying to learn what’s new in the market, he gave us every information we ever wanted.
2. He knew that we were not there to buy a car. He still treated us with the same way he would have treated a buying customer. He opened the door for the car, sat with us inside and gave us all the reasons in the world to get a Skoda.
3. We came up with lot of objections and facts about Skoda and how badly they did in the Indian marketplace. He took the objections, acknowledged them and explained about the high standards of making, the safety provided, the reliability it offered which made us realize that Skoda made good cars, It was just that there were fewer people who could afford them. They were still a good value for money.
4. We were talking a lot about other competitors and he never took to bad mouth about any of them. He even joined forces in appreciating a few of them.
5. When we part ways, did he shook hands and said thank you? Oh no, not this guy!. He said “It was great talking to you boys!. Now if you want to test drive this big guy (pointing at the new Octavia), then I would suggest you walk in to our showroom in Anna Salai, Chennai. There are lot of other wonderful cars here at the expo for you to explore. See you around!”. He hands each of us his card. We exchange a firm handshake and leave.
As I left that booth, I realized that I felt someone inside. I instantly knew that this was how I wanted to make people feel for the rest of my life. I went home and revisited the encounter I had with this salesperson and concluded that what made him click was genuine talk, extraordinary presentation skills and his domain knowledge of not just Skoda but other cars as well.
I knew I had a hint for two of the three skills he exhibited. They were still at the kindergarten stages though and needed much grooming. I decided from that moment on to be a sales guy. I took it seriously and found it more interesting than any other job on this planet.
People say that sales is a tough job, I agree to disagree with them. I think its one of the best jobs in the world. You get to represent the values and morals of a work system. Many times a sale is made because of the salesperson. Through all that calls, follow-ups and waiting is a beautiful relationship that awaits, like a bamboo — It grows after years of nurturing. Now is that not a beautiful experience?
I have been in sales for 2 years and there is more for the road ahead. I am glad that I am a salesperson. I spend much of my time connecting with people and addressing their needs. I go to bed every day knowing that I change the world. As for the sales guy I met at the expo, I never saw him again, I lost his card and forgot his name, But I still know where I need to go if I ever wanted to get a car.