Sales Circle

So lately, I had started going to Delhi bars/ clubs a lot; and by ‘a lot’ I mean 5-6 nights a week. To put things in perspective, even the waiters working there took more leaves than me. On top of that, I was trying out Barney Stinson’s ‘Suit Up!’ technique; I was going to these clubs in the complete formal attire of a handstitched suit with a matching tie, and leather shoes. The best part was that I used to wear AirPods for the whole night which definitely piqued a lot of interest, some were high LTV/ NPV leads curious about the AirPods. Most others were people who because of the suit thought I worked at that place. They used to request lighters, tables, chairs, charging points, water, food, et al; one woman even tried to give me 500 bucks as a tip. Anyway, as mentioned in the sales funnel, I soon caught the attention of the gatekeepers/ bouncers as I was there almost every night, that too alone. So they raised alarms and started creating issues in my entry from one place after the other, as is the inorganic Delhi bar culture.

I generally used to stand by the bar counter, possibly one of the best places to start a conversation with a girl. Firstly, on ladies’ night, the girls need to get the complimentary drink themselves so no friend-zoned guy is around to block the conversation. Secondly, even if a girl is buying a drink for herself, that most likely means she is single as otherwise, the guy would have bought the drink or would have at least accompanied her. As highlighted in the experience economy, a good way to start is with a subtle compliment about something she is wearing (shoes, jacket, dress, et al). If she engages (more than a monosyllabic reply), and carries the conversation forward, then move on to asking her about herself. Everyone loves to talk about themselves. In case of interest, she would ask the question back. Hence, ask the question quite carefully in accordance with your unique selling proposition (USP). Now in the next step, your elevator pitch comes into play. I generally use my Instagram profile as the elevator pitch as I have over 700 posts from 2013. It establishes legitimacy, as well as, portrays exuberance since most of my posts across the years have been of cherishable memories; I focus on capturing fun experiences.

On one such night, I met her in a club. I got talking to her primarily because my phone pinged and I took it out of my pocket. It was a notification from some dating app (‘research purposes’). She was standing next to me and happened to glance at my screen. We immediately hit it off as everyone these days is highly curious about whether dating apps are of any use. I just cracked a light joke and one thing led to another. Time just flew by in her company and she had to soon head back, we exchanged our Instagram handles. We stayed in touch in the coming days, and met multiple times across Delhi; Khan Market, Hauz Khas, Qutub Minar area, Aerocity, and even Gurgaon; I wanted to see her every day. We had drinks, dinner, breakfast, lunch, and everything together. We even played pool, and though it was hard to gauge who was worse, it hardly mattered as I just wanted to be with her.

Anyway, coming to the MBA concept of the ‘Sales Circle‘. Many of us must have heard this phrase: ‘A great product sells itself’.

In essence, any transformational difference can be brought about by the product at its core. Other levers like entry into new markets or using more channels (online: E-commerce, quick commerce, apps, et al) or even the technique/ strategy operated by the salesperson (be it Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, or even a used cars salesman), can only make an incremental difference. This circle can be used in all contexts, from commodities to businesses to even people (dating/ job market).

For example:

  1. Product: Diet Coke
  2. Markets: US, UK, China, India, et al
  3. Channels:
    Offline: Grocery Stores, Supermarkets, Restaurants, Bars, Cinema Halls, Airports, etc.
    Online: Quick Commerce (BlinkIt, Swiggy Instamart, et al)
  4. Selling Technique: Bundling, Deep Discounting, et al

A great example in the Indian commodity market is Nestle Maggi. Across decades, the product has sold itself; be it in a kirana store in a remote village or via BlinkIt (Quick Commerce) in a metropolitan city. Compare its sales with that of the me-too brands of the likes of top ramen noodles and you’ll see a stark difference despite the deep discounting, bundling and other sales strategies used by such competitors. The product will always remain the core of any transformation and work on perfecting it, instead of expecting drastic differences from other factors or looking for the easy way out.

The Sales Circle can be applied in the context of modern-day dating quite aptly:

  1. Product: You
  2. Markets: India (Del, Mum, Goa…), US, UK, China, Africa, et al
  3. Channels:
    Offline: College, Office, Mutuals, Coffee Shops, Bars, etc.
    Online: Dating Apps, Matrimonial Apps, Instagram, Facebook, etc.
  4. Selling Technique: USP, Scarcity Principle, Elevator Pitch, Brand Seduction, Luxury Brand Marketing, et al

I used to think that I was not using the right technique, or the right channels, or was in the wrong location and that is why I am not meeting the ‘girl of my dreams’. I have tried almost all channels both online (dating apps, Instagram, Facebook, Orkut, Yahoo messenger) and offline (mutuals, bars, coffee shops, supermarkets, airports, Volvo buses, et al). In close to two decades across all markets of Delhi-NCR, Bombay, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Pune, Goa, or even up to Africa, it is highly unlikely that despite countless attempts, I couldn’t end up with a girl who fits my pre-requisites. The core is always the product so my unsuccessful attempts have less to do with all the other factors and more to do with me as a product not being attractive enough for my target market (TG).

Let us say you had just one or two substantial connections in your lifetime, where both you both were totally into each other and everything was perfect but it didn’t work out because of a small anomaly. You are still single and in the never-ending quest of finding the perfect love. Either transform yourself as a product completely or alter your prerequisites for the perfect match. Trying a new technique or different channels or exploring new markets won’t lead to drastically different results.

That brings me to the ‘pool’ girl. So is this it? Have I finally found the one? Is the game finally over? Well, I mentioned entry into new markets won’t give drastically different results; the product is the core. She is Thai and was here on a vacation with her friend for a few weeks, so it was more like a holiday escapade. It was her final night in India and that is why we were together for the whole night and the subsequent day. We went to a Thai restaurant for dinner, I bought her some flowers on our way there. Then we went for drinks to a rooftop bar overlooking one of the colossal monuments in Delhi. From there, we went to a friend’s place to hang out there for a bit. We spent the night at her hotel, then the next day had lunch at a North Indian fine dining restaurant nearby. We hung out at a bar for a bit in the evening, finally culminating in that game of pool and my dropping her off at the airport. She just requested one thing; to not miss her. Hence, I am back to my final respite for closure, the only element that never left my side all my life; my writing.



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