The new art of cracking a deal

Prajwala Hegde, Express News Service, Bangalore


BANGALORE: Rajan Parulekar is well-known as a conscientious trainer who has made a difference to people from various verticals of the industry. We caught up with the author to find out about his training workshops and book ‘Contextual Selling’. 

How do you help improve individual and organisational productivity and how do your training programs stand out from the rest?
The post-liberalisation era, 1991 onwards, has brought in competition by local as well as international companies. No longer is it the License Raj where the customer was at the mercy of the seller. Quite often the manager tells his team members “I want you to get me the 30% growth the management has asked for, I do not care how you get it.” Now such an attitude puts tremendous pressure on salesmen who either take short cuts dealing in unethical ways. Such pressure irritates the customer. Our training programs and consulting shows how to work in a smart way rather than hard way to improve the individual productivity by identifying such dysfunctional behaviour.

Tell us about your book, ‘Contextual Selling’ and what message do you want you send across to your readers? 
People who want to enter the profession have mistaken notions, which we want to dispel with. Some of them are:
– It has no status.
– We have to sell by hook or crook
Selling can be done in a highly ethical way and if done properly one gets respect not only from his company but also from the customer.

In your book, what is the paradigm shift the salesman should have to overcome the challenge of canned presentations? 

Canned presentations were in vogue two decades ago. With increased competition and shorter attention span thanks to mobile/laptop etc. Such canned presentations are painful for customers. Most of the executives feel that talking is selling. When salesmen talk too much there is an emphasis on I (salesman) rather than the U. A good salesman has to be a better listener than just a mere talker dispensing routine information. That is the paradigm shift. (This has been covered in detail in question 5 success story)

What are your future plans? Are you planning to write another book? 
a. I am planning to write a book on being an Effective Sales Manager. A good performing salesman is promoted hoping that he may be a good manager. But then to be a good manager is much different than being a salesman.
b.I plan to conduct workshops on Conquest of Happiness(from a scientific perspective) this is primarily based on FLOW by Mihali Csikzentmihaly (University of Chicago) who has done path-breaking work in positive psychology along with Martin Seligman.

What according you, is the most common mistake committed by a manager in the process of achieving success? 
The dilemma between means and ends is perennial. To aim for success and get obsessed with success are two different things. In order to achieve the targets and thus the incentive and the accolades many CEOs and managers resort to unethical means. This may give success in the short-term. But the law of nature says that whatever is good in short-term may be bad in the long-term. Managers make false promises not only to their customers but also to their subordinates. Quite often managers are not able to see how they are perceived by other people.

How does one become a successful negotiator in business?
Negotiation is not winning at all costs. Each negotiation has a context. One has to do proper homework of his priorities and also identifying the other’s priorities. Those who are willing to walk out in a negotiation are able to get a better deal than the one who says I want it at any cost. Quite often I come across people buying expensive designer dresses in boutiques (without negotiation) and then haggling with a poor vegetable vendor over vegetable costing `50. We need to know why we are negotiating in the first place.

How has the response been to your book, so far?
It has been received very well. A number of our clients buy the book on-line which they can pay on our website. Jacob Chandy, VP of Rittal India (Indian Subsidiary of Rittal, a German Company, the largest manufacturer for enclosures for IT/electronics) has utilised our services for training his all-India sales team. After going through the book he placed an order for 80 copies.