What made me a Sales and Business Coach?
Until now, I have worked with over 250 companies and 9000 people as their business coach, Consultant and Trainer . Dream to become a professional coach started taking shape around 1996,while reading a book titled ” Think like a Winner” by Dr.Walter Doyle Staples. I still feel that buying that book was the starting point of a great journey. It sowed the seeds of becoming a coach, trainer and an enabler . My dream to become a Sales trainer and Leadership Coach strengthened over the years due to my choice of embracing Sales career over the career in Research and development /Production / Joining a Ph.d programme in Australia.
After working with Mercuri Goldmann (Swedish MNC, part of Mercuri International) for about a decade I also served Mercuri Urval (Swedish MNC) then Better Future (Nederland Based MNC) as their Managing Director (Asia). All this shaped me as an enabler of people and orgnizations. Working with some amazing colleagues and companies shaped my thoughts significantly . Every experience was unique and gave some valuable perspectives.
Mercuri Goldmann gave me the required platform to understand Sales Training. Must say that it has been a great experience with deep exposure to the subject of Sales Training. Ravi, the Managing Director inspired me in many ways . I still have enormous gratitude for Mercuri Goldmann and my senior colleagues .
Is Training sufficient to build people ? Creative Restlessness was prompting me to something more . I was feeling that the comfort zone of my job is not going to be the end point of my career. I always wanted to give more to the corporate world. Something was compelling me to explore more, my quest led me to unexplainable restlessness and Opportunities too.
MY QUEST AS AN ENABLER..
Despite being a Sales performance Consultant and Trainer , I always questioned “Is training enough to build organisations?” This led me to read the biographical work of one of the main architects of Mercuri International, Curt Abrahammson. There I came to know that they had a consultant who took care of leadership recruitment. His name was Hakan Ericsson who moved out of Mercuri International in 1960s , due to the differences in his approach towards building the organisations.
Hakan Ericcson who started Mercuri Urval seemed to be a disruptive person , as I read about him . I liked his idea that unless we have right leaders, we can’t build a right organisation. This thought process was something which I could instantly resonate, as I too owned it deeply . I have always felt , there is less benefit in training people if they are not reporting to the competent business leaders who have the acumen to build the companies. So , the first correction starts at the senior levels and top levels, which is not easy. It needs huge amount of conviction to challenge the ways of working of an organisation. In short, I felt that all the good efforts of Training can go down the drain if the leaders are not aligned strongly to the growth ambitions.
So, with these intentions, I joined Mercuri Urval in 2013 as a Senior Consultant for their Indian operations at Bangalore. I was very impressed with their global culture and freedom to express boldly without any inhibitions. I found their MD in India , Henry an upright and direct person who gave me some useful insights. Due to Mercuri Urval, I moved from being a sales trainer to being a leadership enabler and that was refreshing. I found that the DNA of the organisation was unique and equipped the consultants to challenge the leadership levels. However, there were ambitions and differences in my approach that made me think that I had many things more to do which would not be fulfilled being where I am . By now , I wanted to head a Coaching company that can transform the Societies . Something which can positively impact humans in a bigger way. I could notice my energy shifting to higher levels and dreams became bigger. And that inspired me to start thinking “How do we create new versions of the organisation with respect to the emerging future ? “
This means , not just working on the “Personality” of leaders , but on the Intentions of the leaders . Personality alone can’t help much, became quite clear to me. By then, I was quite convinced that it is the Intentions that drive a purpose to where it should be heading. Without strong intentions , organisations can crumble in no time . Even if they survive, they might not be able to attract well intended people. So, working on the personality of people was not very attractive to me by now. Something more was required to shake me up.
I joined Better Future as their Managing Director ( Asia) in 2014 . It was a good exposure to the ways of building people. After a deep but a relatively short stint, I felt energies propelling me to do something bigger. I felt the need to start my own company that could address comprehensively, various things I wanted to do for the corporate world , NGOs and society. May be a Swadeshi Consulting firm, that imbibes the best of West and East.
SEEDS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP – CHILDHOOD SUMMER OF 1978
It is not very easy for me to share the sources of my inspiration in my life .They are multi-fold. My first exposure to entrepreneurial experience was as a school going seven year old kid. That was with starting a small library to share the wealth of good books and comics that I had bought for my reading . My library gave me some financial muscle to reinvest into buying new books and read them too. My first lesson about entrepreneurship as a Kid was that you have to reinvest whatever you earn into the business and also self-learning. Unless you can’t explain the kind of books you have in your library, your prospective buyers would not be impressed. I also understood the variety of likes and dislikes . Business is all about embracing diversity of choices.
My Second exposure as a Sales professional was When I was a Second Year Engineering student. I had just completed my First year examinations and had enough time in my summer vacations. I never believed in wasting my time. Joined a computer education Institute called LACE (London Academy of Computing and Education). My job was door to door selling. Knock the doors, gain trust, have a dialogue about their ambitions to study different courses and inspire them to enroll. These courses (Cobol, Fortran, Unix C, C++) were quite expensive then. I still don’t understand fully the reason behind my love for this job. The easy answer is I liked meeting strangers, understanding them and it used to give me satisfaction that I am able to sell them something unique . I did get substantial success that gave me required confidence to consider sales and business oriented career. Though I sold computer education, I personally did not like the idea of sitting in front of a machine that has no life.
During the winter vacations of my Second Year of Engineering , I got a job to sell computers . My family members could not understand my interest for Sales. For me, apart from the joy of selling , it also sponsored some of my hobbies related to music , buying some expensive books, apart from giving me exposure into hardware sales. This was a student internship program sponsored by ICIM (ICL). I was the only undergraduate student and rest all were MBA graduates from reasonably good colleges. In the interview, I remembered they had questioned my motive for joining this part-time job, and also questioned my maturity to sell computers. I firmly replied, “I don’t have to do an MBA to be able to sell computers, for that matter sell anything”. In a way I developed a feeling that an MBA degree need not be a necessity to excel in a business. However , I did not allow this feeling to interfere with my quest for learning. In the later years I did my PGDBM and Doctorate in Management studies purely to explore the newer realms.
Business and Sales career requires a clear conscience and common sense . Education helps to widen the perspectives though. Life teaches you the ways to do business.
This was the time I was doing my M.Tech from Indian School of Mines (Now IIT Dhanbad). I took a major decision of not going ahead with a Mining and Mineral Engineering Career, after completing my M.Tech in Mineral Engineering.
I got quite good scores and successfully completed my M.Tech on “Thermal Decrepitation of Iron Ore” under the guidance of Prof.DD Misra (Now Prof. Misra is Chairman of Indian School of Mines / IIT Dhanbad).
After investing 6 years into something quite passionately , I did not connect to it anymore. I had options to do PhD in some good universities in Australia, also got a interview call from Hindustan Copper Limited, but I thought that’s not my interest anymore. A career in Sales and Business Management seemed to be more exciting.
I had attended an interview in Sunflag Iron and Steel during that time, as there was an advertisement in the local newspaper. Again Sunflag wanted MBAs to sell steel. Somehow, I could convince them that they don’t need MBAs to sell steel. I could sell the idea and got the job. My colleagues were also engineering graduates with an MBA, I was the only M.Tech joining their club. That was the starting point of my career in marketing ( Not Sales) , more of an interface between production and sales.
1995-2005-UNDERSTANDING B2B SALES
My career in Industrial B2B selling helped me to understand Sales Better. This also set a foundation to consultatively understand the requirements of customers. This gave me confidence to become an entrepreneur. I travelled across the length and breadth of India. It was setting a stage for my career as a Sales Trainer. And then finally I started my career with Mercuri Goldmann in 2004..