Learnings

Need for Open Government

Today our country has billion challenges ahead of us. The era of one Government  solving all those is over, now it requires billion YOUNG MINDS. Thanks to new age technologies. It has sparked the creativity and innovative abilities in common man to solve the challenges. Today the number of amateur innovations i.e. ideas coming from outside traditional walls is increasing. Today people with the passion of ‘DIY innovator’ are blessed with exponential technology and capital of techno philanthropist. This has now enabled them to create new products/service that make paradigm shift which once was done only by big companies or Government. But, still our country has one major stumbling block for our young minds to innovate – GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS (coupled with state govt regulations).

 India is not only a country with a billion young minds, it is also a country with billion rules and regulations which punishes the innocent and frees up the rich and powerful aka guilty. To put things simply, India has slipped from 131 to 134 out of 179 countries in ease of doing business. And we rank even worse in easiness of starting new businesses. If technology has enabled creativity and innovative ability our rules and regulations have killed it.

 The answer to the problem cannot be SIMPLE LIBERALISATION. Because, I believe the strongest progress lies in OPEN ECONOMIES, OPEN SOCIETIES & OPEN GOVERNMENT. For this to happen two things are required

  1. Transparency
  2. Participatory

 

Transparency:

Providing Govt data or info in public domain in user friendly way creates informed citizens. This makes them control their government reducing corruption and bribery. Also transparent government allows dissemination of information which in turn produces greater knowledge and societal progress.

 Participatory:

The next big thing is to provide opportunities for amateur innovators (common man) to participate in the governance architecture. It makes government achieve solicit expertise so that it makes policies with best of resources.

Open source technology, crowd source funding boosted innovations. To keep the exponential growth in innovation going what is requires is OPEN GOVERNMENT.

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India

CITIZENS AWAKENING

During the time of setting up of our constitution, the number of educated people in India was very few. People at that time, wanted to look up to some one who would provide them with direction, leadership and deliverance. So people who occupied the seats in assemblies became their saviors. And these people tended to gain more knowledge than the citizens as they were in leadership role. This led to the making of our politicians as Demi-Gods, larger than life,  the saviors of our society. Simply – POWERFUL PEOPLE.

Now after decades of setting up of our constitution,  what we find is that – Things have changed upside-down. How? Today, the ordinary citizens have become more intelligent, more knowledgeable than the person who happens to become MLA or MP. Isn’t it ? (Thanks to education, computer and internet. )

Henceforth, now a more important role is needed to be played by the citizens.

How??

Citizens should work towards building up our society in a positive way. How? Like this!!

Over 1000 Coimbatore people comprising of all age groups participated in a VOLUNTARY work to rejunuvate their Periyakulam lake. Great right..?? Instead of sitting and complaining that the government is not doing anything,  people have risen up to cleanse things themselves.

FYI, Periyakulam used to be one of Coimbatore’s biggest lakes – spanning 320 acres, with a catchment area of 63 sq km — but it was gradually asphyxiated by water hyacinth, raw sewage and garbage till it became mere shimmers of water in a sprawling, muddy area, with orange specks interrupting the brown expanse. They hope to have the lake de-silted in four weeks time.

Similarly in Chennai, our own Chennai Trekking Club organized Chennai Coastal clean up. As much as 5000 people participated. More than 36.7 tonne of garbage was cleared out. Marina, Santhome, Besant Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur, Kottivakkam, Palavakkam, Neelankarai, Injambakkam, Akkarai, Panaiyur and Kovalam got a CLEAN SWEEP.

Ok. Now. This is all what I wanted to say – We as EDUCATED citizens of this COUNTRY should take up responsibilities to solve our civic issues and tackle global challenges. Instead of sitting and complaining that the government is not functioning well..blah…blah..blah!! Agreed??

Worse would to do something like this – BANDH,  ROKO for no reason.(Let communists and other political parties do so. For they lack vision and audacity to solve problems on their own).

 

This is a new movement – CITIZENS AWAKENING.

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Economics

Long live THATCHERISM

End of 1980’s

Soviet Union of Russia under communism faced a severe shortages of basic food supply. This led to distribution of food like that of war time using food cards restricting each citizen to a certain amount of food only. State deficit grew from 0 to 109 billion rubles; gold funds decreased from 2000 to 200 tons

Mikhail Gorbachev the then president of Sovient union of Russia tried to liberalize soviet union from the clutches of COMMUNISM and to bring people out of  avert poverty but all his efforts was in vain.

Mikhail Gorbachev

During the same period, In East Germany where Russia colonized and imposed COMMUNISM went under adverse poverty. People in east Germany fled to west Germany where free market was followed.Both professionals and laborers fled out of east Germany and into west Germany.

To control this exodus Soviet Union of Russia built a huge wall which was famously called as BERLIN WALL.

Berlin Wall

In the late 1989 people thronged unto berlin wall and collapsed it.  And in a few years Gurbachov appeared in a national television and announced the break up of the sovient union.

Mean while China too faced severe crisis. The then china primer Deng Xiaoping it successfully shifted its focus from Culture revolution to development by bringing in free market policies., SEZ’s which were ideally against the principals of Mao. This act of Xen Xiapongg liberalizing china from the clutches of communism changed the destiny of China.

Deng Xiaoping

And In India, which was once a crown jewel of Controlled based economy, had to change track as it went under a huge BOP isssues. Reformist then FM and now PM Dr. Manmohan Singh and The then PM Narasimha Rao changed the idea of India, once and for all.

The end of 19th century gave a death blow to Marxism and communism across the world.

The fight against the communism all started with the IRON LADY Margaret Thatcher. Taking over a ailing Britain which was burning under trade unions she stood her ground,  broke the unions and brought back the entrepreneurial energy into Britain.

Privatizing loss making public sector companies showed the world the beginning of the end of Communism.

Her political philosophy was DEREGULATION, PRIVATIZATION, flexible labour market and reducing power and influence of trade unions.

Without this grocer’s daughter the world over would have been ailing under  communism.

Long live THATCHERISM.

(Today, India requires a leader with the calibre of Magret Thatacher. )

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Economics, India

R.I.P – Small and Medium Enterprises, Tamil Nadu

Thanks to the rising power cut, most of all the small and medium industries in Tamil Nadu have already shut shop. This year, there has been a significant reduction in industrial output as well as agricultural output from T.N.

Kanchipuram the famous destination for silk sarees, Tripura the famous destination for T-Shirts et all are waiting endlessly for power.

NO CURRENT, NO MANUFACTURING

To add insult to injury, the activism against industries, factories, dieing units are ensuring the final nail is punched on the coffins of TN industry and put to rest once and for all. . My communists frineds who are all in the Facebook,  happily forgetting it as an AMERICAN CORPORATE and accessing it in their MADE IN CHINA laptops/ipads/iphones etc and who patriotically rise their fist against capitalism and target small and medium industries in Tamil Nadu and ensure nothing would ever be stamped with MADE IN TAMIL NADU/INDIA, please do listen – Already there are huge influx of products from china and pushed into the hands of all tamil people with the stamp MADE IN CHINA.

Have a look at the  ‘kosu ‘ bat, the mobile phones which are owned by poor tamil famers/people or even the smart phones like Apple and even cheap grinders, mixies, toys et all…ah forgot even the solar panels doesn’t have the tag MADE IN TAMIL NADU , they are all MADE IN CHINA.

MADE IN CHINA
Naanga Jaaychitommm!!!

I never mind Sterlite getting closed. Since Vendantta has enough acumen to shift their factory to china but do you think the small dieing units, the small power hand loom units have acumen to shift their factory to china or any where else in India for that matter ?. Dear Facebook communist friends..they have no where to go. ( A point to consider – Doesn’t Indian Railways often cause accidents and provide only ‘ compensation ‘? Shouldn’t they be asked to shut down?)

FREE, FREE, FREEEEEE
FREE, FREE, FREEEEEE

But then never worry. Tamil Nadu will now become famous for free TV, free mixie, free grinder, free laptop and all the more important free electricity(not kiddding its there in the promises). Coupled with 100 days of labour provided by the center with the most efficient PDS system, and forgot to mention the various ‘RIGHTS’ –  Right to food, Right to Education etc added with now famous  ‘ AMMA HOTELS ‘   will ensure every tamilan will now be given hand-to-mouth survival. Yes the future is here.

Govt shall give,  MADE IN CHINA Kanchipuram pattu sarree, MADE IN CHINA dindugal pootu for FREEE and we shall have 100 days of labor and eat to our full in AMMA Hotel.

Well, the govt promised that they would work on war footing but never imagined this was the plan.

So, the message :  R.I.P – SME, TN.

R.I.P – TN Industry

Hell!!, even the coffin would be MADE IN CHINA!!

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Entrepreneurship

Customer Centered Selling 3

Always have the customers decision cycle in mind. The process of persuasion can be extremely powerful tool.

Selling is taking an idea, planting that idea in your customer and making them believe that they thought of it.

Salesman ship is essentially the selling of ones point of view – the ability to start with other fellow point of view and to lead view and to lead his mind to the view point of the seller.

The selling cycle has the following steps.

1) Research Stage.

2) Analysis Stage

3) Confirmation stage

4) Requirement stage

5) Specification Stage

6) Solution stage

7) Close stage

8) Maintenance stage

RESEARCH

Taking time to understand about the customers world is not just good business. It is essential to do business today.

Here, the first thing to ensure is to find out of the person with whom you are taking is the person who makes the decision. Asking like, Who besides you make decision for purchase..?

After colliding at the right person, ensure you make the customer to speak more. That is the only way to win trust. So ask question like

Tell me how your office works..??

Then never ask customers if the are facing any problems explicitly. Since, people knowing that you are coming to sale they dodege you around. The way to ask would

What are the challenges you are facing?

Then play to your strengths. Say if you’re company is strong in services..ask a question like How often the machine is serviced?

At the end of the conversation always ask.. ‘Anything Else??’

ANALYSIS STAGE:

Always remember,

Customers do not fix problems, they fix big problems

You need to probe into the customers mind and make him tell his problems that he has with current system/product. There are three probes

1. Identify probe. 2. Development probe 3. Impact probe.

Identify

– What kind of difficulties are faced in Services?

Development

– How are you managing this?

– What does your employee say??

– Who else is affected

Impact

– How does it affect your over all business

CONFIRMATION

Ask here itself if the customer is willing to CHANGE. There is no point in explaining things to a customer who is not willing to change anyway i.e the customer not in the need to buy what you sell.

REQUIREMENT

– List down the needs said by the customer and prioritize it.

SPECIFICATION

Say if the customer has said that he needs better services. Ask him how does he define better services as?

SOLUTION

Put your product knowledge to display

CLOSING STAGE

– Ask for payment

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Entrepreneurship

Customer Centered Selling – Part II

Because of the wrong training sales people  talk way too much and listen way too little. In the name of training sales people are put through information and more information about products and are then asked to vomit all those in front of a customer. There could be no deadly sin than this in sales.

To give you an example, a sales guy called me for selling a ticket for a event. He asked my name and went rattling about the event. He said what the event is about, who is going to come, how big it is going to be and blah blah blah…never did he ask me if this event would be of any interest to me. After completing all his rattling about the event, he simply asked how many tickets I would need. I coolly said, I need none. No wonder why most sales people fail.

In Customer Based Selling you are taught to PERSUADE customers from moving from one decision point to another and persuade them into buying. This happens with the important point that Customer do not make decisions based on needs. They make decisions based on problems.

In Customer Based Selling first we need to realize where the customer is based on the Decision Point.

For example, consider the following statements with respect to buying a mobile.

  • a) You feel its perfect.
  • b) You feel its perfect but not good enough
  • c) Fed up. But still willing to put up with it.
  • d) Actively looking for new ones.
  • e) TREAT – Brought a new.

As you see, it is easy to sell to the customer who is in ‘d’ stage. And it would be very difficult to sell to a customer who is in ‘a’ stage. But the issue is only 20% of the customers would be in ‘d’ stage. And if you are a sales man who is only in order-taking mode then you end up in Price-war.

On the other hand influencing the other 80% of the customers who are not in mood of buying but persuading them step by step opens up a new world of opportunities.

The ways to Persuade the customer, will be said in the next post.

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Entrepreneurship

Customer Centered Selling – PART 1

Selling happens to be one of the most betrayed professions. Simply because people think sellers as the one who speaks deceptively and manipulates price. But, the truth is selling is an ART. More important truth is that there is no occupation that does not require selling skills.

Today people think that they could become efficient sellers by using some computer or technology. But if you would look closely into best sellers you would find that ‘ People sold – and they sold because based on who they were not how computer literate they were’. The point is that one cannot become a best seller just by depending on computer or technology. But by depending on a skill.   The best way to learn selling is by learning a good technique and practicing it and mastering it.

Through customer centered selling process you would find that customers go through a REPEATABLE , PREDICTABLE process when they make a decision to commit to change or buy. This repeatable and predictable process is what we call is as Customers decision cycle. The key concept is to try and understand where your customers are in their decision cycle and assist them in moving them through a decision. [This process cannot be applied for decisions involving less than Rs.1000.]

The best way to learn customer decision cycle is to analyze our own decision cycle, when we intend to buy something. Try answering the following questions relating to last time you purchased a mobile phone?

1. What mobile were you using?
2. What were the stuffs you did not like about it?
3. What were you looking for in a new mobile?
4. When did you realize that your old mobile was less than perfect
5. When did you start seriously looking for a mobile phone?
6. When did you actually buy the mobile?
7. What other mobile you considered for buying?
8. Where did you get the information
9. Given another change would you take the same decision?

Answer all those questions and think you would find that customers go through the following cycle before purchasing any product

1. Satisfied – Customers are satisfied with what they have.
2. Acknowledge – Customers sense and acknowledge that they have some issues with the product they have.
3. Decision – Then they decide to look for alternatives.
4. Criteria – Then they set the condition/features of the product
5. Measure – Customers define his criteria list
6. Investigae – Comparing solutions
7. Selection – Then they select the best one that satisfies their problem
8. Reconsider – Then he re-evaluates his decision.

Here is the secret sause for selling – People do not make decisions based on needs; they make decisions based on problems. The bigger the problem, the bigger the need. The bigger the need, the more the customers are willing to pay.

There are usually three decision points what customers go through

  1. Should I fix this or not?
  2. What am I gonna fix?
  3. From where am gonna get it?

In the next post I shall post on the essence of Customer Centered Selling.

[ Courtesy : Customer Centered Selling by Robert L Jolles]

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