Saturday, September 07, 2013

Forcing a buying decision

Over the last few weeks, I have been grappling with “how to force a buyer to decision?” question in “packaged product based” company. In any sales process, it is important we get a “Yes” from the prospect. We diligently work towards such an outcome starting with cold calling and emailing, understanding requirements, putting together proposals and finally closing the deal.
However as many of you may have experienced, it is an extremely arduous process with a high degree of uncertainty. In fact, the sales process has a higher degree of uncertainty in the entire business value chain than any other process. (See for Porter’s Value Chain model.)
A simple modus-operandi to reduce uncertainty is a simple but effective technique followed by many successful companies.  In any proposal, always give customers only one choice at one price. If they ask for something extra, add it to the proposal if you already have the product or service. If not, then just say “no”.
A buyer’s attitude is to somehow convince themselves why they should not spend the monies with you. You cannot blame the buyer for not wanting to part with their monies. Remember, they are also trying to save their skin or embarrassment if your product or service does not fit their needs. Or if it turns out that your product is inferior in quality.

Forcing a buying decision

  1. Present a non-complicated simple proposal. At most have two fixed priced options - A and B with clearly marked “cost to customer. “
  2. Most likely, the buyer will ask for something extra, something you may not currently have, or something that is on your roadmap.
  3. Your answer to the question in step 4 is critical. To get an immediate sale, the answer to step 4 is “No.”
  4. That then leaves only one negotiation point – the price. Which you have ultimate control over. As long as you make your reasonable profit, you are good to go. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Seven Simple Steps To Convert Your Idea to Vision to Reality

Enormity of scale thinking is one of the biggest detriments of Startups. Almost all startup founders are visionaries and therefore think in gigantanormous scale of grandiose success. But “Big Success” is series of small steps executed efficiently and completely.

Go forth and conquer the world! You have a winner at hand!

Monday, April 29, 2013

How to Decide on a New Product Feature?

Ask any company “what have they done lately?” And they will rattle off a long list of new features and enhancements. Ask them “so, how much has your revenue gone up?” And the answer in most cases would be “huh!!!”

So, here is a simple flowchart to determine if a new feature should be added.

Some additional points:
  • Only work with absolute dollars. Do not accept "We expect to ..." type of response for any of the questions above.
  • "Do it FASTER than now!!!" is money on the table. Existing customers are more likely to give you immediate monies than new customers.
  • New features rarely stop customer attrition. So always explore to see if you can improve other parts like customer service, payment terms, on-time delivery to mitigate customer loss.

That is it. You are done.

Friday, February 01, 2013

New eBook Published on Kindle

My first eBook has published on the Amazon Kindle Store. The book discusses strategies on unlocking the secrets of repeat and upgrade business. Getting a new customer is much harder than losing an existing one. So the matra should be to capitalize on existing ones.

The book is available and is moderately priced at $3.99. The book is available on all Amazon stores.

Post your review and feedback on this page:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Popularizing blogs at no-cost

By Ram Iyer on May 19, 2012.

For those of you who write blogs, the next question would be "How do we popularize blogs?". It is an effort that again is no-cost but great implications. In fact, a popular blog is a great asset for any company. It is the one medium that can help push information to the right set of current and prospective buyers. For non-business blogs, it can become a very powerful platform to speak-out your opinions and views.

If you are just getting started, go read my earlier post on blog marketing.

The easiest of popularizing techniques is to comment on other like-minded blogs.

Commenting on blogs:

Find like-minded blogs that are relevant to the your sector including those written by your compatriots, competitors and partners. Think of all vertical and lateral associations to your line of business or interest. Then read some of their recent blogs with an intent to contribute or rebut. Not all posts will be relevant - if so skip and move on. Write informative and interesting comments.

Some comment do's and dont's:
  • Do include factual data,  if possible.
  • Do back up your opinion with some evidence.
  • Do try to be within the first ten to comment.
  • Don't use foul language
  • Don't threaten or castigate the author or anyone else
There is no need to reference your work or products. However, if you already have a blog on the subject then definitely reference it and provide a back-link.

Your signature email address should to include your blog or company domain. Get a custom domain name if you don't already have one. Alternatively, you can get specialized email address from gmail or similar. Lastly include a tag line in your signature. For example my signature is:

Ram Iyer (
Leadership, Product Management, Design and Development.
By far, this is the most effective and no-cost way to spreading your word in the marketplace. Now start commeting and do not let go.

Next step - Blog posting roster and schedule

Thursday, May 17, 2012

No-cost Marketing with Blogs

By Ram Iyer on May 16th, 2012.

Blogs are the easiest and cheapest way to market your products or services. Sometimes when people do not know where to start, how to overcome writers’ block and what to expect, it leads to blogs being ignored. Some people try it for a while and when they do not see immediate results, they even quit.

Caution: Blogs may not be for everyone. Some products and services do not lend themselves to online marketing. I have seen a lot of people waste time, resources and money with online and social media because they heard from some social media expert telling them “they need a Social media strategy". Do your homework before jumping in to online and social media marketing!

Writing Blogs:

Blogs should be one to three paragraphs long, and focused on your industry. Use easy-to-understand language to write about trends, overviews, product reviews, opinions and outlooks on your industry related topics.

The topics do not have to be directly related to your products or services and as a blogger; you do not have to force yourself to include any special keywords (make it natural.) Your article can be based on your experience talking to customers, friends and family. It can be something you heard at a tradeshow, watched on television or something you even read in a news-magazine. Feel free to point to reference sites or articles on the web, with a link.

Titles should be catchy - Something like "Online education saves tons of money for business houses" - to highlight how education is being transformed; "Hand-sanitizers greatly reduce the risk of common cold.

Writing a blog article should take no more than an hour of writing and another hour of editing. Run it by one person to make sure there are no grammatical errors (sometimes it is hard to see a tense-mix-up or half-completed sentences.) Skip the review if no one is available or if it takes more than a day to get it back.

After you finish writing the blog, think of keywords that reflect your blog. Keep it true to the blog. For example: if you are writing about hand sanitizers, do not tag it with "child welfare" unless you are presenting a unique combination of "hand sanitizers somehow either protecting or harming kids."

And you are finally done! Publish it!!

Next step: Popularizing them

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Elevator Pitch In 3 Steps

By Ram Iyer on May 11, 2012.

I have seen a lot of people struggle with the question "What do you do?" The question seems so innocuous that we never think about it seriously enough to make it advantageous to ourselves. A proper and appropriate response can make things happen for us.
A thirty second elevator pitch is the most crucial marketing statement about you. The elevator pitch is the sum total of all your skills, education and accomplishments.  A well crafted statement can open lots of doors while lackluster ones can cause damage beyond repair. It is the one statement that could mean the difference between landing a good job, securing profitable customers, making lifelong friends and meeting partners.

So how do you get started? 

A 30 second statement usually starts as a two or three min pitch. Over several revisions, you will have to trim it down to flow properly, seem natural and be memorable. Here are the three steps to creating a good pitch:

1. Think about (better still write down) the value you bring to the table. Things like "I have helped [group of people] with [some specific issue/task]", "I can make this happen for [customer group]" or, "My expert is [speciality]."

2. Convert the above into a statement like "I am a [IAMA] and we help [companies/people/groups] with [product/services] by [unique method/process]. This [saves/benefits/entertains] you in [dollars/time/value] thus greatly improving your quality of life. Some of the beneficiaries of our products/service have gone to great heights like [success story]....". And so on. Take your time with step 2 as this is the crucial piece.

3. Refine and practice the statement until it rolls effortlessly. Practice enough to make sure it seems natural. Then practice some more.

Feel free to share your elevator pitches in the comments. I will publish the interesting and the unusually sticky ones.