Posted in Fiction Experiments

The Pink Flats


It’s a third time today that I am opening that tempting tab in my browser to peek at this object of desire that has caught my fancy.

I find myself staring at this pair of sinfully elegant, unapologetically feminine Parisian pink flats.

Then my eyes hover over the hefty price tag – surely my overstuffed closet doesn’t need a $450 Gucci shoe. But the mind is wandering and I can imagine this pair going perfectly with that still untouched magenta super swingy skirt which I had never been confident enough to pull off.

A meeting reminder pops up on my screen and breaks me of my reverie. “Ah”, I scold myself – “The PG&E meeting is in 15 minutes and you are lusting over a pair of shoes that you don’t need. Wake up Girl!”.

To give some background, I work at BigRock – an investment management firm.  And yes – today is just another ordinary day. I have an upcoming meeting with a client and there is this lingering sense of anxiety to bat this well.

“Many eyes are on this deal, and if you nail it – the Sales Director role is yours. Just make sure they get the messages right .. and don’t make it seem too much of a hard –sell .. and hopefully, they won’t dwell too much on the terms in Section #4… ”

A constant drone of to-do lists is hammering at the back of my head.., imagining all the ways this meeting can go wrong. And every time there is a blip in this train of thoughts – I am seeking refuge in these pair of Parisian pink flats.

“You need these shoes to be successful!!”  – a chirpy voice screams inside my head.  Click .. click ..click. it would be so easy to buy.

“I’m sorry, but..”, another calm voice patiently explains. ” Remember how you had to give away those Coach boots which were in perfect shape because you realized you had two pairs which looked exactly like the same?”

“But well, you know..” – the chirpy voice pops up again – “Don’t be so hard on yourself,  you’ve been working so hard and that contract that you won last month. You deserve this!”

“So.. On Page#5, don’t forget to mention that we analyze the attractiveness of an asset not only based on its risk, but also on the return potential the asset may bring to the portfolio”  – That one is my BigRock employed thread, urgently entreating to be heard among the other two voices.

“Blah, blah, blah”.. the chirpy voice interrupts again. “Pleated Magenta skirt with a sleeveless white blouse and pink flats with a floppy bow –  now that’s a killer outfit!”…

“Nooo… Too many shoes in your closet, remember?!”. The calm voice seems all flustered and is screaming now.

“.. and the long-term performance goal for this portfolio is to achieve at least 80% of the return of the global stock market” – weakly mutters the BigRock thread again.

The calendar invite has popped up. It is time to join the PG&E call now.  I take a deep breath and flick these voices away as I begin dialing the number…

Hello Everyone, this is Anjali from BigRock Investments”, I brightly announce myself on the phone.

Like I said..  it is just another ordinary day today.

Posted in Random thots..

A Small Lesson in Sales


 Lesson in Sales

To cut a long story short- I recently moved to another country with my family and had to sell off all the stuff at my house  before the move.

So I took nice pictures of everything and put up ads in the classifieds. And started getting flooded with  calls – “Is the Computer table still available?”, “Is the price negotiable?” etc etc..

And although this might seem a cumbersome task, which it was in the beginning, I slowly began to get fascinated by all of it. It was like my own tiny social experiment on C2C sales – selling stuff to people who would actually use it!

And with a well intention-ed scientific curiosity, I went haywire designing my experiment, bundling offers to see how people respond to different options. – “Coffee table free with King size bed”  vs “20% discount on king size bed if picked in next 12 hours”  I even had a pipeline for every item I was selling , trying to find some pattern in the madness!

Here are my observations  – some not-so-random findings from this totally random experiment.

People buy for their own reasons:  “So you’ve liked the sofa. Would you like to take the dining table also with it . I’ll give you 20% off on the bundled price on both” – I used this dialogue on many unsuspecting subjects. Well, they will smile politely, and go see whatever else  you offered them.. Engage in small talk.. Phone a friend.. Take an audience poll.. And then politely decline due to reasons entirely beyond their control- “Err, wish I had more space in my flat”.. “Oh no, I just bought a new dining table!”. Bottom line is – do what you may, people buy for their own reasons. You can’t change that!

Buyers always look for Trust:  Nobody will ever tell you on the face (hopefully!)  that -“You look real shady to me”. But before getting into any transaction , people will always want to know if they can trust you. So they ask questions like – how old is your Refrigerator, did you ever need to get any repairs done on it? And they will believe what you say. So although you might not have any papers to prove any of this- if they trust you then they will still go ahead and buy it from you. And the weird thing is – you really cannot define where this trust comes from. Perhaps it’s a gut feeling, perhaps it’s about your body language, or just a culture where people trust each other. But earning Trust is the foundation of any successful sale.

Bargaining is good for any Negotiation:  Everyone feels good after a bit of haggling. Don’t agree with me? Well.. On the last day of my social  experiment on selling stuff  (adding  an academic zing to it!), a guy turned up for my TV Table. He named half the price I had quoted. Since I was on a deadline to clear everything off,  I agreed immediately . And the expression on his face was that of extreme disappointment. He seemed so upset , as if he had been cheated!.. Which is why – if a negotiation happens and you easily agree to the other party’s terms, then they will always  feel that they didn’t  get a good enough deal.  Ergo,  unless it is grossly appropriate – haggle away! 

But then, generalizations are generalizations after all. Every sale is different, as Sales gurus might say – The deal is in the details!.