A DISTRIBUTOR OF OUR COMPANY SPORTINGLY CLEAN BOWLED OUR ALL INDIA SALES MANAGER
As a young Technical Sales Representative selling Industrial Dyestuffs in Uttar Pradesh,one of my fondest memory is the first time the company All India Sales Manager visited my market.It happened several years ago in 1980,but it taught me a lesson that stayed with me until this day.
An All India Sales Manager’s visit was rather important because in the company’s history,no All India Sales Manager had ever visited Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.I was posted in Kanpur just one month before the planned visit of AISM.As a man who would get to travel with the AISM,I was working hard to ensure I had answers to all the questions that may be asked to me.Like, how were the brands performing? What were the growth rates? How was the competition behaving? How much money were we spending on local marketing? What was the profitability of the local distributors? I had worked hard to gather all such vital business informations- and then some more.What was the main crop in the region? What was the population? What was the main source of livelihood of Kanpur village area? The list seemed endless. But I hoped for the best.
The D-day arrived. The Area Sales Manager and I picked up the All India Sales Manager(AISM) at the Kanpur Airport and drove out to Kanpur City about 40 km from the airport. The initial discussions were rather general, and extremely friendly. He asked about my family,my education,my interests but I was still waiting for the real questions.
We were approaching Kanpur local Dyes Market fast where we had our first appointment with a most important Distributor of the company. I still remember the name of that Dyes Distributor-Kunju Babu!! After introductions and a quick review of his business,we came down to the main agenda.Although 37 years have passed, but I still remember that our discussions in the last leg of meeting was confined to getting bulk orders from the distributors,never heard of before, in lieu of some attractive Commission.
We were looking for an order of 20 tonnes of dyestuffs to be lifted in that month which was equal to distributor’s four months sales.After lot of discussions and persuations,Kunju Babu(Head of distributor)) agreed to lift this quantity,provided we agree for a 10% commission as against normal commission of 3%.We were reluctant for 10% commission.Our All India sales Manager eventually gave the final proposal as under:
0-5 tonnes-2.5% commission
5-10 tonnes-5% commission
10-15 tonnes – 7.5% commission
15-20 tonnes -10% commion
Our All India Sales Manger told Kunju Babu that it was not possible to give flat 10% commission on entire 20 tonnes but if you “AVERAGE OUT” this scheme,this will work out to be a very -very attractive commission for you.
Kunju Babu’s immediate reaction was-‘Mitra sahib,I am a very small business man but am double of your age and experience.Can I say something?” Mr Mitra said-yes,yes,pl go ahead kunju babu!
Kunju Babu said-“ Mitra sahib, “ DARIYA MEI AVERAGE LEKAR JAOGE,DOOB JAOGE”(If you try to cross a river on the basis of its average depth-you will drown)
Everybody laughed at his swift comment but it has stayed with me until this day.
Working out on an ‘average’ principle can backfire sometime.
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