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Tag Archive : book review

How to sell anything to anybody

I did several part-time jobs while in college but the only part-time job that I held for all the four years of my degree was as a salesman in a jewelry store. The managing partner of the store and still like an elder brother to me, Haresh, gave me this book, How to sell anything to anybody by Joe Girard. Haresh considered this book to be his bible on sales, and once I read it, it was my sales bible too. However, this book is not about sales.

This book is about creating a systematic approach to

  • Recruiting new customers without burning a hole in your pocket
  • Getting your customers to like you
  • Getting your customers emotionally attached to the product
  • Attaining (and maintaining) a high closing percentage
  • Engaging with your customers even if they don’t buy right away
  • Engaging with your customers after you have made the sale 
  • Getting referrals from customers, friends, family and service providers (including your barber!) to grow your business
  • Creating a team around you to ensure you get the highest return for your own time

Joe Girard sold 13,001 cars in his sales career. That is a staggering number because his sales career ended in 1978 i.e. way before the internet; WhatsApp or Facebook made it easy to reach out to a customer.

Joe was profiling his customers, listening to their needs, adjusting his approach to sell his customer. He also made several sales by reaching out to his customer just at the time that their car was ready to be replaced!

How did he know when to call? He kept all this valuable information on his customer in a physical CRM i.e., way before Salesforce, Dynamics, PipeDrive, etc. made record-keeping infinitesimally easier. 

It is for these reasons that this book is a must-read for all founders whether they handle the sales function or not because as I had mentioned before this is a book about creating systems. Therefore I recommend that every founder know how to support the sales function whether they sit in tech, operations, HR, or fundraising.

I have re-read this book several times in my career. Most recently, I re-read this book to create a system to approach, engage, and recruit LPs for my fund. The system ensured that only 13% of the 115 crores we have in commitments came from distribution relationships. Therefore, in the remaining 87% of the cases, I utilized Joe’s system to recruit, involve, and close LPs. My team used a CRM to manage follow-ups and we created new content to reach out to our LPs.

This approach saved us almost one crore a year in paying out fees to distributors, which is a massive cost saving for a MicroVC fund like ours. What is the investment?

Rs. 280 and 8 hours of reading time.

You don’t require a finance degree to explain that these are fantastic returns on your investment and time.

Now it’s up to you…

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The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

There are some books that instantly connect with me because they take various vantage points I hold and put it together in a single coherent narrative.

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing has it all; good research, umpteen number of examples that are woven into a compelling narrative and an easy to understand explanation of marketing rules that any and every founder must follow. I found this book so engaging that I just couldn’t put it down. I finished reading it in a day (which could’ve been done in a couple of hours if I wasn’t so busy underlining or writing in the margins).

The book was written in 1993, by two marketing gurus and best-selling authors Al Ries & Jack Trout, so most of the examples they describe are dated. Yet, it amazes me how accurate their predictions about the decline of brands like New Coke, GM, IBM, 7UP, etc. were and how they pinpointed the exact laws of marketing that these brands flouted that got them there.

In fact, I can easily identify present day companies that are underperforming due to flouting a marketing law and companies that are winning by meticulously following one. It is extremely engaging stuff.

What did I like about this book?

Its simplicity. The laws are extremely easy to understand, and the marketing rationale is explained using real world examples. The authors avoided being verbose and have kept the book concise and engaging.

I love the way in which they’ve given the laws because if I ever find myself in a quandary regarding a marketing decision, I can simply just open the relevant chapter and read it, to guide my thinking. In a way it will be my personal bible for marketing problems.  

My favourite laws?

In order of preference:

  1. The Law of Sacrifice – this one hits close to home because I have seen how flouting this law has hurt several of our companies i.e. when they tried to do everything and ended up becoming nothing.
  2. The Law of Leadership – learning that a leading brand is perceived as the better-quality brand was an eye opener. It answered the question on why investing in a challenger has (for the lack of better word) challenges.
  3. The Law of Category – This taught me that when you cannot win a category… you should create one!
  4. The Law of Focus – the most successful marketing teams are pros at associating their product or service with a single word – a word that they’ll always own.

Who is this book for?

This book is for anyone who is involved in making marketing (digital or otherwise) and branding decisions for the company that they founded or are employed at. It can be helpful to adjust their marketing efforts to work for and not against their company.

This book should be in the purse, bag or back pocket of any founder or marketer – it just that relevant!

35/2019

Book Review: The Wild Diet

Do you know that in the 16-year period between 1988 and 2014, the weight of an average American male increased by 15 pounds, while his average height remained the same?

Did you know that India’s consumption of sugar increased from 5% to 13% of all the sugar produced in the world? – much faster than the global average.

Do you know that many types of white sugar are processed with bone char, thereby making them non-vegetarian?

Neither did I, until I read Abel James’ wildly popular book, The Wild Diet. The book talks about how over the years our diets have morphed from natural foods to processed, factory-manufactured foods that contain many harmful chemical compounds and the negative impact that it has on our body.

I find Abel’s advice to be prudent and sensible. He advises me to consume any food that my body wants, but to focus on the quality vs the quantity of that food. There is no advice to count calories, work out for hours, consume weird & tasteless foods or potions, eat 6-10 meals a day, etc. Instead Abel simply urges me to listen to my body and provide it with adequate nourishment, ample rest and just enough exercise to break a sweat.

Abel shared his own struggles about gaining weight despite being an active person that ran marathons and ate lots of fat free and sugar free stuff. His own investigation into the food that he was consuming led to the realization that industrial food processing was the leading cause of his troubles. Once he began to eat the RAW (recently alive and well ingredients) version of the things he liked, the excess fat dropped off just like that! This book breaks down the process of how and why that happened.

The book is written in simple language and from Abel’s point of view, which makes it easy to follow. It took me less than 4 hours of uninterrupted reading time to finish the book. The simple recipes to make amazing & filling smoothies, soups, entrees, cookies and cakes (yes you read that right) were especially helpful. The only thing that I am being asked to do is remove the refined and processed foods from my diet .

I tried my hand at making a smoothie and a soup yesterday. Not only was it easy it but bloody delicious and filling. This successful trial motivated me to take up the 40-day challenge (in the book) to lose 20 pounds! After reading this book, I believe that one of my year end goals will be finished earlier than planned! 🙂

Links:

Here is the link for Abel’s book on Amazon

Here is the link for his podcast on iTunes

Here is a link to the app that provides recipes for his diet

Lastly, I want to leave you with this video of Kurt Morgan who lost 87 pounds on the “My Diet is Better Than Yours” show by following Abel’s advice. This one is pure gold!

 

10/2018

 

Book Review: Kranti Nation: India and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

While attending the Web Summit in Lisbon I met Pranjal Sharma, the author of Kranti Nation: India and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, for breakfast. As passionate students of economics, innovation & start-ups we immediately got engaged in deep conversation about Indian consumer’s behavioural shift and how that was significantly changing the start-up ecosystem in India. As we were getting ready to leave for the summit, he handed me a personally signed copy of his book. Interestingly enough (at the time), I was reading The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab. Prof Schwab has also written the preface for Kranti Nation.  

 What I like about this book: 

Indians tend to underestimate the tenacity of the Indian entrepreneur – new and old. Kranti Nation provides ample examples of Indian entrepreneurs who have not only kept pace, but also led evolution during the fourth industrial revolution. The stories about age-old businesses, like the Kirloskar Brothers, Mahindra, Marico, Reliance, Honeywell, etc which I would imagine as having outdated, out of sync management systems pleasantly surprised me. The stories of Kirloskar Brothers implementing 3D printing, Marico’s utilisation of IOT and especially the one about Renault Kwid were exciting to read.  

Some of these stories completely negate the story line that the industrial IOT or 3D printing start-ups put out in their pitchbooks.   

What I didn’t like about this book:

The book is written as a collection of essays of 10 different sectors, and in many places, there are overlaps of the same technology influencing different industries. I felt that it would have been a tighter read if the author had focused on how each new technology was changing the dynamics of multiple different sectors and structured the longer essays around the technology instead of the industries.  

 The chapters towards the end reflected the fatigue of trying to cover too many points in too little space. There are outdated facts with companies like Educomp being profiled as leaders of the education sector tryst with revolution, even though Educomp has been in a downward spiral for the past 7 years. Some company profiles read like sales brochures with too many unnecessary details & histories that are not relevant to the objective of the book. In some ways I think the second half of the book disappointed the promise that the first half held.  

 Who should read it? 

 This book is relevant for all readers especially those investors or entrepreneurs who are seeking to enter the B2B space. India is changing, and this book provides an ample number of examples of it.  

 2/2018 

Kranti Nation: India and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

While attending the Web Summit in Lisbon I met Pranjal Sharma, the author of Kranti Nation: India and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, for breakfast. As passionate students of economics, innovation & start-ups we immediately got engaged in deep conversation about Indian consumer’s behavioural shift and how that was significantly changing the start-up ecosystem in India. As we were getting ready to leave for the summit, he handed me a personally signed copy of his book. Interestingly enough (at the time), I was reading The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab. Prof Schwab has also written the preface for Kranti Nation.  

 What I liked about this book: 

Indians tend to underestimate the tenacity of the Indian entrepreneur – new and old. Kranti Nation provides ample examples of Indian entrepreneurs who have not only kept pace but also led evolution during the fourth industrial revolution. The stories about age-old businesses, like the Kirloskar Brothers, Mahindra, Marico, Reliance, Honeywell, etc which I would imagine as having outdated, out of sync management systems pleasantly surprised me. The stories of Kirloskar Brothers implementing 3D printing, Marico’s utilisation of IOT and especially the one about Renault Kwid were exciting to read.  

Some of these stories completely negate the storyline that the industrial IoT or 3D printing start-ups put out in their pitchbooks.   

What I didn’t like about this book:

The book is written as a collection of essays of 10 different sectors, and in many places, there are overlaps of the same technology influencing different industries. I felt that it would have been a tighter read if the author had focused on how each new technology was changing the dynamics of multiple different sectors and structured the longer essays around the technology instead of the industries.  

 The chapters towards the end reflected the fatigue of trying to cover too many points in too little space. There are outdated facts with companies like Educomp being profiled as leaders of the education sector tryst with revolution, even though Educomp has been in a downward spiral for the past 7 years. Some company profiles read like sales brochures with too many unnecessary details & histories that are not relevant to the objective of the book. In some ways, I think the second half of the book disappointed the promise that the first half held.  

 Who should read it? 

 This book is relevant for all readers especially those investors or entrepreneurs who are seeking to enter the B2B space. India is changing, and this book provides an ample number of examples of it.  

 2/2018