Service the needs and not the wants of the customer

WgCdr. K. Chandrasekhar is currently the Executive Director of TiE Kerala( He served in the Indian Air force as a Commissioned Officer for almost 24 years in various functions like flying, command, staff, training and rose to the level of Wing Commander. A Post Graduate in Science with an MBA, Chandrasekhar joined M/s Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co Ltd, as their Business Head in Kerala after taking premature retirement from Air Force. He served almost 12 years with M/s Godrej at various senior levels like GM South, General Director, Godrej Overseas Ltd., Vietnam, etc. He was also the Managing Director of Commonwealth Trust India Ltd, for five years.

After he took over the responsibility of managing the business of Kerala region  and later for the entire Southern zone for Godrej, he had to manage P&L for a  large number of consumer items, office equipment, engineering items, locks and security items to name a few of over the 12 product groups items. With a large sales team and a long network of distributors and retailers, he entered the exciting world of selling and managed the operations very successfully. His has a few words of wisdom to Founders on the lessons he learnt while selling as given below:-

  1. Every customer will have a need and also a want (Eg of Need is what he must have to meet his immediate requirement and want is what he would like to have). He says that the founders should first meet the needs of the customer and not the want. If you try to meet the want without deeply researching the needs and suggesting what would be the best choice for him, then the chances are that the customer may at later date feel that you had slighted him by thrusting needless items. To understand the needs, you have to ask a lot of questions over several meetings. There should be no hurry in coming to conclusions on the customer’s needs before you are thoroughly satisfied.
  2.  As a seller, you should know about your product well, its strengths &weaknesses /limitations. Never exaggerate the capabilities of the product to close early sales as it becomes an exaggerated sale and when the customer finds it is not what it was meant to be, he will be disappointed. Promise less and Deliver more is the mantra to success in sales.
  3. Before the sale is closed, state the terms very clearly so that there is no ambiguity. On the warranty terms, sales sections etc. because it sends a bad message.
  4. Sell on your strengths and not on your competitor’s weaknesses.
  5. On servicing the customers, make sure that the service conditions are being met and respond promptly.
  6. The first feedback/complaint from a customer is almost true and factual as 80% to 100%.  The next complaint will only be 50% correct and 50% will be his grievance. The third complaint on the same issues will lead to a potential lawsuit, termination etc. Attend to source complaints from the customer promptly.  So try to resolve the issue when you get the first feedback/complaint from the customer.

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