Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Look before you leap

Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty one,
Save February, with twenty-eight clear,
And twenty-nine each leap year.

This year, 2012, is a leap year and we have twenty nine days.

On any month end, sellers are in a fix, because there would be pressure from
the people from whom they buy, to purchase lot of goods.

Some discounts will be offered.

It is for the seller to decide what is beneficial for him and he better look before he leaps!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Va Quarter Cutting

Va Quarter Cutting is a recent tamil movie. The quarter here refers to a quarter bottle of whisky
or any hard liquor.

But my clarion call is: Va quarter collecting.

The quarter here refers to the quarter dollar (25 cents) coin of the United States.

I heard someone saying something about God's money and Man's money. He held a silver coin
in his hand and said that it was God's money and a few dollar notes on the other hand and said
that it was man's money.

On the 500 rupee note you find the words: I promise to pay the bearer the sum of five hundred rupees. Signed by the Governor, Reserve Bank of India. I suppose on demand we are to be given gold worth 500 rupees. Let it be.

All the quarter coins of the US minted till 1964 had a large content of silver in them. Some of these coins are still in circulation and can be collected by persons who are a little alert, who take a little time to observe the coins coming into their hands.

Now, here is the silver lining! Let's say you went to a shop and when you got the change you were given a quarter dated 1960.

Go to which gives live updates. Yo ho ho! The melt value of the silver in your coin of 25 cents as of today is 6.40 dollars. That is to say, you have got more than twenty five times the worth of the face value of the coin!

Similarly the one rupee coins minted between 1975 and 1982(big size) as well as those minted between 1983 to 1991 (small size) are cupro-nickel coins (i.e coins made out of a combination of copper and nickel) and the melt value of these coins are much more than one rupee. Some of these coins are still available in circulation. The present day one rupee coins are made out of steel. Unfortunately, we do not have a site like coinflation.

But all in all, it is worth saving those coins!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The sale is not complete...

The sale is not complete....

Many among you can complete the above sentence. Yes, here it goes: The sale is not complete until the payment is collected!

Yes, there is no fun if the payment is delayed or worse still if for some reason it is not collected or only a part of it is collected.

It is advisable that payment are collected in advance or against delivery or immediately upon completing the work, in case of repair job.

In case of corporates one should know in advance who is responsible for making the payment.
The purchasing department may happily place orders but who is responsible for the payment?
It is the duty of the seller to gain knowledge about this aspect in advance.

In recent incident, I supplied air-conditioners to a leading insurance company, since their office was in close proximity to our showroom and we had good relationship with them. Though the pricing was very competitive and the margins realised was meagre, I did not mind.

Everything is fine.... But the payment was not made even after several weeks! I go cheesed off.
Nobody was taking resposibility for the payment. We are installing new software and only after it is successfully commissioned we can make payment and so on and so forth.

I picked up the phone and spoke to the person who came on the line. "I want to speak to somebody responsible in your company. Either the general manager, or the security guard or even you. So long as I get a responsible reply, it is okay" I said.

After enquiring what I wanted, I was connected to the accounts section. I explained and gave a bit of my mind (what else could I do?).

The payment was credited in our bank account in two days.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

(a+b)2= ?

Year: 1964 Summer vacation time.

After the vacation I was to take composite maths as my elective and learn algebra, geometry, etc.

My elder brother's friend Narayanan was a genius in mathematics having set a university record by scoring centum in all the subjects in his B.Sc. exams.

My father asked me not to waste my vacation. He suggested that I go to Narayanan and learn algebra. He was living with his parents in Greams Road Police quarters and I used to cycle down to his house. Both of us used to sit in Modas and with notebook and pencil in hand he used to teach me algebra. What a pleasure it was to learn from him!

When school classes began after vacation, we got two new teachers for mathematics. They were very good in their subject. We were about sixty students in two classes with composite maths as our electives.

In the first quarterly exam the question (p+q)2 = ? was answered correctly only be three students including me.

The teacher asked: Why? What happened?

Many students stood up and said: Sir, you only taught us (a+b)2=a2 +b2+2ab and
(x+y)2=x2+y2+2xy, but you never taught us (p+q)2 = !!!!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

How many to display?

As a seller of air-conditioners, what is uppermost in my mind is the question: How many should I display?

My wife used to tell me: A sweet-shop owner should have his shop full of sweets.
Yes, agreed. What is the fun of having a sweet shop without bottles and bottles and trays and trays full of sweets?

If I own a car show room, will I have 25 cars in my showroom? Well, I don't think so. Most showrooms have 3 to 5 cars.

In the same logic should I have 50 air-conditioners in my showroom?

The numbers also depends upon the overall size of the showroom. Maybe 10 to 15 units representative of the various models and sizes would be fine.

Having said that one might ask, "How many units will be there in your godown?". I will answer this question on another occasion.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A to Z of AC Business improvement

A = Always be ready for opportunities.

B= Be a doer.

C= Customers pay our salaries.

D= Develop yourself and your sub-ordinates.

E= Employee satisfaction is paramount.

F= Fine tune your systems.

G= God helps those who help themselves.

H= Handle - ever. Mishandle - never.

I= Important - yes. Indispensable - No.

J= Judge yourself - don't judge others.

K= King. We all know who the King is.

L= Lead generation is vital.

M= Money is not the ultimate yardstick of success.

N= Never say yes when you want to say no.

O= Opportunities don't come often. Be ready when they present themselves.

P= Procastination is the thief of time.

Q= Quick response to service calls will carry you forward.

R= Remember that Rome was not built in a day but burnt down in one.

S= Sell at a price higher than you buy.

T= Tool bags should be checked often.

U= Used nail never rusts.

V= Value your customers.

W= Whatever be the difficulty never get disheartened.

X= Excel in whatever you do.

Y= Yearn before you earn.

Z= zzzzz. Don't sleep. Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Customer Enquiry Book

In any business the customer enquiry book or note-book is the most important
record to be maintained from a business point of view.

Alas, not many businesses give enough attention to this simple documentation.

It need be elaborate.

I used to buy 80 pages note-books and allot half-a-page (or sometimes a full page)
for each customer/client.

The details contained it it:

Sl. No. 555 (This is the serial number of the enquiry)

Date: 23/2/2012

Name: Mr. John or ABC company

Phone No. cell no.



Amount quoted:

(On the left hand side margin, I write how the enquiry was generated: e.g. Walk-in, telephonic, regular customer, etc.)

In case the enquiry is converted into sale, then it can be crossed with two red lines (or whatever) with narration: closed. Sometime: Lost. So that at any point of time we know which are the live enquiries.

An index in the first one or two pages will be of great help.

Follow this procedure and prosper!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How to avoid getting cheated.

Cheats, con men, confidence tricksters......

We have to protect ourselves against them. Here are a few guidelines. Comments, suggestions
and your own experiences (if any) may be given in the comments section or separately to me by
e-mail :

(1) KYC: Know your customer. Banks and financial institutions have elaborate formats. We should gather the minimum required information. If the customer has a landline number, we should gather the same. If it a BSNL number, the address can be easily cross verified.

(2) In the case of direct supply to customers, it is advised that we do a site visit and ascertain
things before the units are sent.

(3) In the case of supply to dealers and mechanics, it is better to deal with persons with whom
we have had past experience which was pleasant.

(4) Even to persons to whom we supply regularly, in such cases where we have even an iota of
doubt, it is better to supply only against cash payment or after the cheques have passed.

(5) When collecting cheques please check: (a) date and year (b) whether the amount in words and figures tally (c) has the cheque been signed?

(6) If a person who has been buying regulary elsewhere and comes to us, it is better to refer.

(7) Delivery in front of closed shop, parking lot, etc. to be avoided. This smells fishy.

All said and done, business is risk-taking. Agreed, but let us take calculated risks.

The following incident was narrated to me a few years back:

Evening around 5 o'clock. Three people come in a jeep with thick files. They look like Government officials. They want two air-conditoners urgently and also give a cheque with some rubber stamp and signed in green ink. Air-conditioners are supplied and loaded. The cheque turns out to be a fake one. Whereabouts of customer is not known at all. Moral: No government departments purchases in such a great hurry.

Here is another one:

Customer is a person who has been working for many years with a reputed spare parts dealer in Chennai. He starts his own business and buys air-conditioners for Rupees two lakhs and gives a
bearer's cheque. But there is no money in the bank for any number of days.

But as luck would have it, through a common friend who knew the bank clerk, help was sought.
The clerk took the cheque and kept it in his drawer. One day he rang up and informed that the party has deposited a cheque and asked the supplier to come to the bank at 9.55 a.m. 10 a.m. he passes the cheque and pays the money and asks him to be seated inside. The customer comes at about 10.15 and presents a cheque and the bank clerk says that there is no sufficient fund.
When questioned further he asks: Did you issue a cheque for Rs. 2 lakhs to Mr. X. Yes comes the reply. Well, Mr.X just withdrew the money minutes back!

But then all of us cannot be that lucky.

I am reminded of the following words with appropriate pictures which used to be displayed
in many a shop.




Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitaha

I hear this dictum being repeated loudly over and over again by my son-in-law PV.

Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitaha: If you protect your Dharma (i.e., duty with a moral
responsibility), in turn, your Dharma will protect you.

The concept of "Dharma" has been with us from time immemorial. What does Dharma mean?

The word is clearly derived from the root "Dhr" - which denotes: "upholding", "supporting",
"nourishing" and "sustaining". - that which upholds is Dharma.

Dharma is for the stability of society, the maintenance of social order and the general well-being and progress of mankind. Whatever conduces to the fulfilment of these objects is Dharma.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What value can we add?

We see that the very same product is sold by so many shops. The rates are also more or less
the same.

In such cases, our getting business boils down to the most important thing:


One day I was going back home from my office around 7 pm in the evening. My driver was driving the car and so I was free to attend to phone calls. Pradeep, a TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) employee rang me up and he wanted a split air-conditioner. He works in the Siruseri area of Chennai which is around 30 Kms away from my showroom.

Voltas, being a Tata group company has special discounts for all group employees. So there is no question of negotation of price.

He was finding it difficult to come all the way to my showroom to make the payment and other formalities associated with purchasing as a group employee.

I told him not to worry. He need not move from his chair to buy the product which he had decided.

Just scan me the copies of your documents and send me by e-mail and I will collect the documents and payment at the time of delivery of the machine, I told him.

The job was done. Because some value was added.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Two persons - one name.

When I was in school, there were two students with the same name, not only the same name but the same initial too. R. Subramanian. One student was called R1 Subramanian and the other as R2 Subramanian. R2 became Artoo and he was always called Artoo.

In my apartment complex there were two residents with the same name: Narayanan. One of them was working in a Bank and the other was working as a Marine Engineer. So one came to be known as Bank Narayanan and the other as Ship Narayanan. We took it a little further and Mrs. Girija Narayanan became Shippi!

In my company there were two Baskars. Baskar Sarma was our friend from day one and so the other Baskar who joined us much later came to be known as Vasu. I rejoined Prabal Electricals in January 2002 and for a few months I didn't know that Vasu is Baskar!

Some years back I went to Triplicane to my brother's friend Sridhar's house to sell an air-conditioner. While talking to me, he called "Bhargav" twice - loud and clear. I wondered why.
It so happened that his son's name was Bhargav!

I am Bhargav Gopal with surname. My daughter's friend is Bhargavi Gopal.

You too would have several such examples.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The weather is cool. The weather is freezing.

Oh yes, when we read this,

The weather is cool / The weather is freezing

we appreciate the essential difference between the two. In freezing weather it is cooler than cool!

In my own line of business we sell chest freezers and chest coolers.

Customers come and ask for either of the two. At times they are not sure which one they need to go in for. It is the duty of the sales person to talk to the customer and find out which are the things he is going to store. Milk, cool drinks? A cooler is needed. Meat, ice-cream? Well you know a freezer is required.

Some years back my salesman in his enthusiasm to sell a product just ordered for a freezer which the customer asked for and sent it to him, without talking to him and getting to know his need.

The customer phoned two days later and said that his beer bottles were breaking. I realised the mistake and quickly brought back the freezer and supplied a cooler instead.

Moral: Let us not be in a hurry to sell. Let us find out what exactly the customer needs.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I'll fix it, dear Henry, dear Henry. I'll fix it.

Dr. Henry Dasa.

He rang me up two days before Deepavali 2011.

As is my wont, I enquired about his family and his profession. He is a medical doctor
working for Futura Polyesters in Manali. His wife is also a doctor.

I recalled my association with Indian Organic Chemicals Limited (IOCL - now known as Futura Fibres) and the work we did for them and the engineer Mr. Jayachandran.

He was happy and was confident that I will do a good job and keep up my word.

A perfectionist, he explained his requirement of a one tonne split air-conditioner. He had
decided where the indoor was to be fixed, where the outdoor unit was to be kept, how many metres of copper pipes were needed and so on. I listened patiently.

He added that the unit was to be delivered and fixed the next day. I pointed out that it was rainy and my apprehensions on fixing the unit the next day. He said that his wife was not able to bear the noise of crackers and that the most important thing was that the unit was to be fixed the next day, come what may.

I agreed. Rain or shine, we committed ourselves to timely delivery. (Time is essence of the contract!). He promised that he would pay us cash on delivery and that he will not haggle on the price. Tell me how much I should pay and I will do so, he said.

I requested our senior technician to personally execute the job and he agreed. The unit was delivered and fixed the next day.

Dr. Henry telephoned me, thanked me and complimented me for the good job done to his satisfaction. A perfect Gentleman, Dr. Henry Dasa.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I wanted it yesterday!


This is the famous Lucas-TVS company of the Sundaram group.

We were one of the leading rewinders of electric motors doing business under the name and style of Prabal Electricals.

The early and late seventies was the time Chennai was really a large village. At times we even
used to go twice in a day to Lucas TVS to collect motors which required repairs. Some machines had spare motors. Others did not. In a machine which did not have a spare motor, a motor going out of order was grave. The production line would be hampered. We were expected to repair such motors in a war footing.

Mr. Narayan was an engineer in the W.E.D. (Works Engineering Department) and he used to speak English like an Englishman.

One day, after collecting a motor for repairs, I asked him: "Sir, how soon do you want the motor back?".

He replied: "I wanted it yesterday!".

I got the message. I started to run.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Scotch with a German in India

My partner Ranganath being a telugu speaking guy we had lots of customers whose mother tongue was telugu.

Satyanarayana Brothers (SNB) was one of our clients and they were at that time executing the Veeranam project.

Pfeiffer India had their plant in Nekkundram and were manufacturing the cement pipes required for the project.

The air-conditioner in one of the Executive's house in Boat club (what a nice and scenic spot it was in those days!) was not functioning and we were requested to attend upon it.

We went to his house and repaired the unit. I had attended German classes for two years in Max Mueller Bhavan and so spoke to him (a German national) a few sentences.

He was very pleased. He took us to his living room, made us sit and offered us Scotch whisky.
We had two rounds and bid him farewell.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Potatoes, onions, what about tomatoes?

In the year 1990 we had given our property to Alacrity foundations for development into flats.

I used to frequent the place as it was being developed and would often chance upon persons who were interested in buying a flat in the project: Madhurima.

One such person was Gnanasambandan who was to become a very good friend of mine much later.

He was keen to know the facilities in and around Conran Smith Road.

Do you have vegetable shops nearby?

Oh yes, Sir, you have I said.

Do you get potatoes?

Aye, Sir.

And onions?

Aye, aye, Sir.

What about tomatoes?

Well, that really tickled my funny bone. I said, Sir, in a shop where you get potatoes and onions you will surely get tomatoes, beans, carrot and so on. Don't you worry.

He later purchased a flat in our complex and we are good friends. I nicknamed him
Thakkali Sambandam and it has stuck to this day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Adele, Michelle and selling air-conditioners

The whole world knows Adele. She is the latest singing sensation of the world and on Sunday she won six Grammy awards.

Most of you will remember " Michelle" the song sung by the Beatles. This song won in 1966 the
Grammy song of the year award. Sir Paul McCartney won another Grammy award in 2012 for the Best Historical Album.

There was an enquiry from Admiralty Hotels of Chennai for air-conditioners a few months back.
I was interacting with the Secretary of the Managing Director of the Hotel and her name is Michelle.

She was impressed with our presentation and timely follow-up. She felt sorry that the order could not be placed with us for price considerations.

I told her, " We win some, lose some". I pointed out to her my love for The Beatles and their song Michelle. She felt very happy.

"I intend to by an air-conditioner for my home coming summer and I will surely contact you and buy a Voltas air-conditioner from you" she said.

Moral of the story: Try to connect up with your customers in some manner. It will help you in the long run.

Monday, February 13, 2012

What is in a name?

First came MRR (Maddikere Rangappa Ranganath) my partner in Kool Kontrols.

Then came RR (Ramasubbu Ranganathan) my colleague in Prabal Electricals.

Air-conditioning business and motor repairing business. We were in need of transport

My dad suggested we buy and operate a tempo. And so Bharani Vans was born.

My dad arranged a loan of Rs.5,000 from my sister Indira.

And he suggested Bharani Vans as the name.

I asked him, Why Bharani.

Pat came the reply:
You are Bhargav - Bha
Ranganathan is your partner - Ran
And your sister Indira gave you the money - I

So Bharani. And you were born under the star Bharani.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

You can lead the horse to the water....

You have heard the proverb: You can lead the horse to the water, but you can't make it drink

My father taught me this proverb as "One can lead the horse to the water, but one hundred
can't make it drink".

And then he explained the word "Obstinate".

Probably he could foresee the worker attitude in the twenty first century.

A man (as also a horse) will do something only if he has a mind to do it.

In the jargon of today we call this "mind set".

But can mind-set be instilled in a group of persons? Yes, to a certain extent. The pre-requisite
is that you should have at least one or two persons in that group who are self propellant.

Mother Teresa said: "The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.

Last Thursday I went to the super-market Lotte to buy vegetables. Fresh stocks arrive on
this day and the shop as usual was crowded with plenty of customers. We picked up a cartload of vegetables and were waiting in the billing lane.

It is then that I saw this young korean guy. Let us call him Kun. He was happily singing and alternating between two lanes. Just as I was about to put the things in the plastic bags, he
came running and Tak, tak, tak. He had filled five bags in a jiffy and moved on to the other lane!

I loved it. I wanted to do that kind of thing myself. If you have one or two persons like Kun
then you will see that excellence becomes contagious! He is a self-propellant.

Today's top brass will say: We have empowered him!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Deserted Shop

Past is all its fame. The very place which I had visited many a time in the past
looks deserted.

I am talking about the Nisham foods super market in Royapettah which used to be
a franchisee of Vitan. Vitan too... is gone.

Customers used to throng the Vitan shop. It had two floors. It still has.
The ground floor was full of groceries, vegetables and cold store items. Snack foods.
There were three customer lanes for billing. Come Saturday the security guard
used to ask passers-by: "Would you like to take a copy of Mylapore Times?"
There was an ice-cream counter.

In the first floor one could find cosmetics, gift items, plastic household goods, greeting cards and stationery items. Sales girls were enthusiastic.

I recently visited this shop now known as Nisham foods just before leaving India.
The time was around 11 a.m. The shop looked deserted. I wanted Shaving cream.
I looked around and could not find any. I was hard pressed for time. I asked the people
around. Then one guy directed me to a shelf behind the cash counter. The place was
cluttered. With difficulty I reached the place and dished out a tube of shaving cream
and a brush.

I went to the billing counter. There was only one lane. The guy didn't quite know how to
operate the cash register.

As I was about to dart out I remembered, "Tweezers". My wife has asked me to buy a pair of tweezers. So I started proceeding towards the first floor and somebody said "You can't go there".
Just then an elderly girl came in and asked me what I wanted. I said "Tweezers" and she asked me to come along with her to the first floor.

The place was dark and dingy. Dust all around. She switched on a few lights and said we have plenty of tweezers somewhere here and began to rummage the place. Maybe she was one of the older employees who had come to eke out a living. Though I was in great hurry I did not want to
be impolite by walking away. I waited patiently. Finally she took out a box of combs which also contained many pairs of tweezers. I took one and walked away.

What a fall!

As I was getting into my car there was a call from my wife who was shopping somewhere in Mylapore: "Forget the tweezers. I have bought one pair here." I just said: "OK, OK!!"

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities

I read several blogs about service and in one such blog the author has the following to say
about his experience in a New York restaurant recently. The waiter spoke on his own and
delivered excellent service.

I quote:

"But, isn't it ironic that the best restaurant servers do things their way? They don't follow a script. They don't take direction about their every move. They bring their own personal style into the engagement with their customers.

This struck me last weekend when I was out to dinner with my family. And for those of you that know me personally, no, it was not at my local Applebee's.

It was, on the surface, undetectable. But, the more I thought about it, the more it began to sink in. Sure, my waiter did all the basics. He was attentive, courteous and timely without being overly intrusive. But, the style with which he delivered his service was what made the experience richer.

After a few days of pondering this, going back to work in a contact center on Monday morning, I wondered how that same dining experience would have gone if my waiter was given a script to follow verbatim.

I've heard all the reasons under the sun why scripts are necessary in the contact center. The interaction is complex. These reps are paid eight bucks an hour. They can't be trusted with free forming it; using their brains. The regulators require that we say certain things.


Hire people with a passion to serve. Give them the basics and set them free. You'll be amazed at what they'll deliver."

Let me tell you my own experience. You would have seen these people standing in the entrances of the big shops like Pothys, Naidu Hall, etc. who speak one or two sentences and guide you inside the store location. Nothing great about it.

On one occasion I visited the SKC ( Sree Krishna Collections - don't think of Sweet, Karam and Coffee!) and the guy standing in the entrance was from down south. He had a penchant for speaking in chaste repeat chaste tamil with everyone coming in. This way he was able to attract the customers and spoke to them not one or two sentences but as much as the customers wished to - maybe two or three minutes at times.

Since I had only escorted my daughter to the shop, I asked her to go in and spoke to this guy in the very same style - trying to talk in tamil without using any english words.

I happened to visit the same shop a few weeks later and this guy says:
ஐயா, வாங்க ,வாங்க. நலமாக உள்ளீர்களா? என்னை நினைவில்வைத்துள்ளீர்களா?
(Sir, welcome, welcome. Are you keeping well? Do you remember me?) with uncommon familiarity.

I told him that I do remember him and complimented him in his remembering me among the hundreds of customers he keeps meeting every other day.

What will be your rating for this customer relations executive?

70%, 80%, 90% ?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Humour in uniform

This is what my two year old grand-son has to say:

The cow is playing peekaboo (hide-and-seek) with Thatha-swami.

Page views: >500

Page view information:

Blog first post: 1.1.2012

500 page views on: 9.2.2012

Thanks and keep visiting.

Your comments are welcome.

Enough is as food as a feast.

Among the many proverbs that my father taught me is this one:

Enough is as good as a feast.
போதும் என்ற மனமே பொன் செய்யும் மருந்து

We all attend many marriage functions and in the wedding feast one of the ubiquitous sweet
is the beet-root halwa.

In pre-served feasts the BRH is served in every leaf.

I find that seven out of ten never touch this item.

I for one relish this sweet and if any server asked me "Is there anything else you want?"
and I reply " Some BRH, please", many around look askance!

When so much of BRH is going waste!!

Costs having escalated, I think it is high time that all wedding feasts be turned to buffet
and people just took what they want, as much as they want.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

PSU - Repeat-u

Public Sector Undertakings.

Let me recount one more recent incident.

This PSU wanted to buy water-coolers. We participated in the tender.

A day after the opening date we rang up to find out the fate of our quote.

They have innumerable landlines - but nobody would pick up the phone.

And when they did, they said they didn't have time to open the tenders.

We again knocked their doors. This time they said they had received only two bids
against their tender and that they need to have atleast three competitive bids.

And in case they had to decide with two bids, they need to get approval from
their Managing Director.

The Managing Director is away for a week in Delhi on official work..........

God Save PSU-s.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


My wife Lalitha used to teach my daughter when she was in the UKG class.

One day she was teaching opposites.

Black-white / White-black / Black-white/ White-black / Black-white

This was going on for sometime.

I asked her what she was upto. She said that she is teaching opposites.

Is it not enough if you said Black-white?

Yes, but if they ask the opposite of white?

Black-white / White-black / Black-white .......

I was amused.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Brick and mortar AC business

The other day the subject of bricks came up for discussion.

A young service executive Dharmesh had quoted:

" A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others
have thrown at him"

Quite appropriate for a service executive to have given the above quotation, for the people in service are the ones who receive the brickbats, not the bricks. Substitute brickbats for bricks in the above quote!

A service call is to be attended to immediately without a second reminder and the service person should have a sincere approach.

Sathya Sai Baba said: "I have no enthusiasm to visit the houses of the people, nor have I any disinclination to do the same. I do not care for the brick and mortar structures in which you
live; I care to visit and reside in your hearts".

If the serviceman has the right attitude towards service, he will surely receive the boquets
when he goes in response to the brickbats!

AC Dealers: Build your brick and mortar business, brick by brick! Welcome the brickbats and try to get boquets in return!

Stick, but don't get stuck!

Public Sector Undertakings!

A Public Sector Undertaking wanted to buy an air-conditioner.

These days people decide and buy an air-conditioner even before you finish saying Jack Robinson.

But this company took three to four months and still they had not decided.

They wanted a 1.5 ton Voltas Vertis Plus 2 star window air-conditioner.

Fair enough. The above specs. are enough to supply what they have in mind. But by the time they floated a tender, got the quote and finalised the order, the model Vertis Plus was out of stock.

We told them, please amend your spec to Vertis Elite which also is a 2 star Voltas 1.5 ton window air-conditioner and the minor difference between the two is mostly in external appearance.

They wanted a letter from manufacturer explaining the difference between the two. They got the letter.

Still they said we have to submit the papers to our purchasing committee and so on.

It would not have taken more than two minutes for the Materials Manager to decide and place an order....But oh! These public sector undertakings.....

They wanted to stick to their specifications - but they actually got stuck!

Because, " A committee is a group of persons who individually can do nothing, but as a group decide that nothing can be done".

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A bolt from the blue

This particular dealer meet was christened: Competition Khallas.

After the presentations and talks by the dignitaries, Mr. Nair of Voltas came to me and asked me if I would like to take the mike and speak on behalf of all the dealers around.

I said: Oh yes, why not.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have some good news and some bad news for you. First the bad news...

Having started thus I was in a quandary, but soon I composed myself and said that
the bad news is to the competitors of Voltas because we have such wonderful products,
dedicated service team and so on. Good news is that the Voltas team is committed to excellence, etc. and completed my speech.

When I got down from the stage a Voltas executive came to me and said: In the beginning we were apprehensive and were wondering why we gave the mike to you and what is the bad news that you are going to break! Congratulations.

All is well that ends well.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

He asked me to bid. Then, left without bidding farewell.

In the seventies hardly any imported items were available in Chennai. There was the Burma Bazaar lined with a number of shops. mostly selling spurious stuff. The bazaar was largely dependent upon the M.V. Chidambaram which made fortnightly trips between Chennai and Singapore. And the "kuruvis" who boarded the ship.

The British Council Library and consulate used to auction their used stuff like furniture, air-conditioners, copiers, appliances and what have you.

These auctions were held with much fan-fare and there used to be huge crowds. Items were sold at exorbitant prices.

We visited one of these auctions to watch the fun. While the auction was going on, one person edged towards me and said that he had a sore throat and asked me to bid on his behalf. Twice I raised the bid on his behalf. Then he asked me: What is the item that is being auctioned? OMG!
I stopped my madness.

I looked around. He had quitely slipped without bidding farewell.

Friday, February 3, 2012

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

Some fundamental questions are the very foundation.

In my line of business, most people nowadays buy a split air-conditioner and a few others buy a window air-conditioner.

The very first question I normally ask a customer is: Are you looking for a window air-conditioner or a split air-conditioner?

Last month a customer asked us to inspect his window air-conditioner. Our technician reported back saying that it would be wise to replace the unit. We spoke to him and told him that it would be better to replace his unit. He referred the matter to his friend who is known to us since long.

Later this friend phoned us and asked us to send the new air-conditioner. We sent the new unit forthwith. When the unit reached the customer's place, he phoned up and said " But I wanted a split air-conditioner."

We had to bring back the unit and had spent considerable time and money which could have been avoided.

We re-learnt that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ingenious way of making money.

Some people have ingenious ways of making money.

Years back window air-conditioners were the only units available. No splits. No cassettes.

Only one or two brands were selling and Voltas was very popular.

The B-1-Z model window air-conditioner was a work-horse and there was good demand
for the second hand (pre-owned!!) units too, which were hard to come by.

There were mediators or commission agents who used to offer these units for sale. The understanding was a Rs.100 commission from the seller and another Rs.100 from the buyer.

Every air-conditioning shop knew Vedakumar aka Veda. Even if you didn't know him, he knew you. Something like, I know Indira Gandhi, but Indira Gandhi doesn't know me.

He was ingenious in his methods. He knew who will buy a second hand BIZ for 3,800, who for 4,200 and who for 4,500. So instead of approaching the person who bought for 4,500 he will first approach the person who bought for 3,800. From him he will sell it to the person who bought for 4,200 and so on! So much so for one unit he will end up making two or more sales!!!

P.S. In case you make money using above tip, don't forget my tip (dabbu)!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How to become a lakhier


These days people talk of millions.....and lakhs of millions....samajthe hain na ji?

We had this four ground property in Gopalapuram and sometime around the late 60's we used to be proud of the fact that our property was worth a lakh of rupees! Today it would have been worth a hundred million rupees.

In the sixties people dreamt of a four figure salary.

In the nineties people dreamt of a five figure salary. Today it has gone up to six figures.

But let us come back to that figure Lakh; or Lac; or Rs.1,00,000.

At times in schools they would ask you to write an essay on how you would spend the amount of one lakh of rupees if it were made available to you.

Sometimes to become a lakhier you have to be luckier. In the seventies the Tamilnadu monthly lottery tickets were sold. 1 Re. per ticket. The first prize winner drawn gets Rs.1,00,000.

My father used to buy a couple of tickets every month and keep them under his pillow.

Something that he used to say quite often:

* You can dream of becoming a lakhier. But to do that at least you should have one lottery ticket with you!

* In business it is very difficult to make the first million. But after that, even if you don't want it, the millions will come pouring in!!

Have a nice day! Wishing you to become luckier!!


* Don't think you have become a millionaire by believing those SMSs!!

* Luck is another word for hard work.