“Why did you opt for Sales? There’s no midway in Sales, you won’t be able to hang around; you will either love or hate the job, I wish to see your skin getting tanned!” These were one among the many sentences I was welcomed with while being inducted into the training session after the brief layover at Bangalore. “I am up for it, and would love to take up the challenges” were my reply, as I walked out of the office confidently, freshening up for the long days, travelling, and lots of meeting ahead.
Before joining full-time in the company, I had a brief experience of what happens in Sales, while I was working as a Marketing intern in Mumbai. Whether it be scouting for Distributor, opening a new wholesalers/retailers or getting the clients for CA, the process remains the same and so does rejections and excuses which often irks and tests your patience. For a fleeting period, that also made me wonder whether I have made the right career choice! But a single ray of hope, in the form of a client who showed interest in my products, and was willing to be associated as a channel partner, boosted my confidence and from then onwards, I never looked back. Now, no rejections or excuses hampers or lowers my confidence. I hold my head high and move ahead with the same determination. I knew the journey is never going to be easy but what I learned within a week of my joining was if you are persistent, the market will value you. In the end, Sales and Marketing work as a level playing field. The only ‘Gyan’ I can give to the people who are looking for the opportunities in Sales after my limited experience is “Please have perseverance”. Whether it’s FMCG, FMCD, or my trade (I have coined the word FMCE for it), be diligent and keep on hammering. You will definitely be able to find the solution for one of the 99 other reasons to not buy your products.
My four-month stint as a Sales promoter in Rajasthan was a life-changing experience. Imagine visiting a retailer at 44° in a deserted street that too in a city like Jaipur, only to hear complaints about the poor sales of cooler due to the temperature not soaring high! If that was not enough, Government had some other plans of coming with the dreaded GST which became the prime reason or I would rather call the bluff, of not stocking the goods. The excuses were never enough, from customers not making the purchases (Demon-etization was just a few months old then), the temperature is quite moderate, to changes in law, and a person in Sales had to bear it all. Phew! The dreaded numbers were yet to come.
Within the four months of joining the company, I was promoted to the new role, as a Sales Officer/Territory Manager (both the designations are used interchangeably), thus increasing my span of control and being held responsible for all the happenings in the territory ranging from the primary, and secondary sales to the branding, reporting, stocks verification, maintenance and expansion of the Stockiest network. I was relieved, as the climate of Siliguri suited my preference but while getting inducted at Kolkata, and checking at the last year’s SAP reports of the zone, I knew the road ahead is going to be tougher.
Siliguri is a beautiful town, nestled among the hills, and borders three countries (Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan). My territory includes the state of Sikkim, Bhutan, and North Bengal (which comprises of 10 Districts). Siliguri serves as the only gateway to the east and the narrow corridor of Siliguri and the adjacent areas which stretches for not more than 80 Kms holds a lot of importance nationally as well as economically. While I took the charge of my zone, the agitation for the Gorkhaland was on prime and the hills remained closed for about 4 months thus marking the longest ever hartal ever in the hills and making my goal of opening a new Stockiest in the town more arduous.
My search for the new Stockiest in Siliguri ended a month back, and launching of the new party has been successful, to say the least. Appointing a good Stockiest for the trade where market credit averages 40-60 days is tough, my colleagues from the industry would vouch for it. Within the stipulated time, I must have visited more than 50 clients and did uncountable follows-ups with the prospects. What lies ahead, will be another post if time and mood permits. And for all the aspirants in Sales, the Gyan I quoted above remains the same, “Be diligent and have perseverance, you will ultimately succeed”.