Monday, November 30, 2015

Keep trying....

This happened some twenty five years back.
But even today one could learn a lesson.

Two friends, A and B.  A is a lakhpathi and CEO in a large corporate. (within the next few
years he started his own business and became  a crorepathi.) B is a friend of his, a businessman
and a crorepathi.

A and B and others used to frequently meet over drinks. It seems that one day over drinks
B had told that he is going to replace couple of his air-conditioners. A had asked for two
air-conditioners. B might have said something like, "Sure, anyway I am going to throw them".

Now this A was our well wisher. He used to give us a lot of business and of course he was a
very nice gentleman, no doubt. A told us to go to B's office, meet him and ask for the air-conditioners.

We (me and my friend) went to his office. We were made to wait a long time and finally
when we met B he was very kind but gave an evasive reply.

I told my friend that over drinks people promise so many things and needs to be confirmed
the next day afternoon!!!

We told A that B was evasive and in fact he didn't seem to have any units.

But, but wait, A just told us, "Keep trying".

Subsequently though I was least interested, my friend wanted to please A and so
we went to B's office a few times. All his staff became our close friends. Deepavali came
and we were given sweets.

But the story does not end here.

Sometime later B took on rent a huge office space in a prime locality belonging to A !!!

And he placed an order with us to supply eight air-conditioners.

We should understand that an order for eight air-conditioners is like getting an order for
one hundred air-conditioners today.

Are you a salesman or businessman or both?!!

You know your mantra now:  "KEEP TRYING"

Friday, November 27, 2015

PSE (Public Sector Enterprise)

I supplied a few air-conditioners to a Public Sector Enterprise.

They ordered the machines in a great hurry three months back.
Said they would pay 50% advance for the machines on delivery and the balance after installation. Reluctantly we agreed.

The reason was that my wife's uncle was the top man in that company some 45 years back!! I had a soft corner for the company!

Once the machines were delivered, they didn't even tell us where some are to be installed for almost two months!!

After completing the work we submitted the bills and they said, "Wait for a few days".

Two more weeks and they said "We are waiting for fund transfer from Government".

Today they are asking us whether we have submitted our bill !!

Even a snail will move faster I suppose !!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

You want to be a sucker?

You want to be a sucker then it is your choice !!
A customer rang me up and wanted an item costing around 10K
to be sent to them.
They had purchased some items from us in the past, but their payments were very sticky. It was a pain collecting the payment.
So I told them to send a scan copy of advance cheque and I would ask
my company to send the item to them.
We are your regular buyers.... the customer said. I still said "Sorry".
After some time customer rings me up and says " If you are not sending
the item I will go to T.Nagar right now and purchase it".
I told him: You are ready to go all the way to the shop and buy for cash but are not willing to send me a scan copy of your cheque?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

FDI in construction business

A lot of foreign investors invest in Indian construction companies. And there are foreign architects who design homes.
That is fine. But they should study the Indian scenario and the needs of the Indian people and then design the homes. The modern apartments do not have grilles for the windows!! They would design an apartment with floor area of close to 2000 sq.ft. but there would neither be a pooja room nor a store room!!
A little over two months back a company with FDI in the construction business after negotiation entered into a contract with us for the supply of a quantity of air-conditioners. But they never made the advance payment. Around a fortnight back I asked them and they said the cheque has been received. When I sent my representative they didn't give the cheque. They said they would come and give it to us.
A few days later when contacted they said there is some delay in the project and that they would make the payment five days before they actually needed the machines and kept the delivery date open ended.
It is fine. We have not supplied the machines to them. But machines earmarked for them are lying in our godown and we are staring at them every day!!
A manager may say " Come rain or shine I want the job to be done. I want only results."
But there is something known as ground reality.
It is monsoon season and nobody would start any building activity right now. Also construction work here would not start before bhoomi pooja and this is usually done after Pongal. That is the practice.
Come on,  as prudent businessmen we should be able to foresee such eventualities!!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

How to collect money!

Let us talk about how to collect money (as a wage).

The difference between a worker and a business manager is this:

Worker: He does his work and collects his wages.

Manager: He should give the work to the worker, oversee his working, raise the bill after proper paperwork, collect the money, put it in his company's account and then take his wage !!

A worker cannot become a manager (maybe a very few over a matter of time).

A manager should not act like a worker !!

"Everyone rises to their level of incompetence."
Laurence J. Peter, "The Peter Principle"

Monday, October 26, 2015

How I SNAPped a DEAL !!

How I SNAPped a DEAL !!
Everyone wishes to do on-line business these days.
Who doesn't want to?
A friend of mine wanted me to explore the possibilities
of doing on-line sales of air-conditioners via the bigwigs.
I know it won't work, but still....
Even I,  am a human being craving for more business!!
So what do I do?
Very simple, because these guys are dogging you every
other day on the mobile....
I asked one of the guys to meet me and discuss their proposal.
R.E. (Relationship Executive)
Oh what fancy names and jargon these days!!
R.E. Sir you have to register with us online and you are ready!
Me: And then?
R.E. You give us a list of items you have to be sold and the price you want for the items!
Me: (Wow!) OK, and then what happens?
R.E. If an item with you is sold, we come and "take it away".
Me:(Oh wonderful!!) But the price to be quoted by me will
be more than what you normally display in your web-site.....
R.E. (ha, ha) With our deals we may even sell you item for
Rs.1000 or Rs.2000  less than what we pay you....
R.E. It will be done in a fifteen day cycle.
(Note: When I buy a good from somebody, I am responsible for the payment. I have an address and I am available all the time. Here somebody wants to take away my item/s and says "it will be done")
Me: Thank you very much. I will let you know. (The exit door is right behind you).
More later....

Sales and money inflow

Sales and money inflow.

I have explained on scores of occasions to my staff and at times even to some owners of businesses (not that they don't know)
that when I sell an air-conditioner for say Rs.30,000 and get the money.....  only about Rs.1,000 or so out of that can really be considered as MY money ( that is to say the company or firm's money). The balance of Rs.29,000 or so is to be used to buy another air-conditioner to be subsequently sold.

Many people don't understand or don't want to understand this simple logic. They think that they have "made" Rs.30,000 and spend it off.

Well, one can do that. But that Rs.29,000 has to be recouped by some revenue stream - by sales or service revenue. Very soon.

If one does not do this exercise then what happens? (a) The working capital will get eroded. (b) The money owed to suppliers will shoot up. What could happen "one fine morning" anyone can imagine. Let us not go into the details.

Some of the new-age dealers are very smart (like the on-line shops). They try to sell more and more of units at very  low margins or sometimes even with negative margin (to keep the revenue stream (so called!) flowing. Many are in deep waters for this very reason.

All of the business' fixed and variable overheads has to be met with the "margin" generated by sales and service and after that some thing more should remain as reserve/surplus.

Then and only then can the business thrive!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Companies ahead of their time invariably fail. In the early seventies Sehgal Papers Limited came with a bang manufacturing paper Napkins. But the company failed. The first holiday sharing company failed. (But they came back some years later). TVS group started a chain of convenience stores. But again it failed.
And now I came to know about India Plaza.
The list is endless.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Let him be there !

This is something which happened twenty-five years back.

I was handling an air-conditioners dealership for my friend.  There was an ace salesman known to
us who would at times give some leads to us.

One day I told him that we should ask the salesman to join our sales team.

My friend immediately (part jokingly)  told me, "No, never do that. He will work for you only when he is there.
If you take him and pay salary, etc. he will start working for someone else".

This is a very bad thing and was a rarity.

Unfortunately today I find that more than 90% of the staff are like this. They work for our company,
but they give better service and put in lot of efforts to the customers, suppliers and more particularly
the other dealers.

Alas, duty and dedication to the employer is totally absent!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

International motor-cycle manufacturer - Sriperumbudur

An international motor-cycle manufacturer in Sriperumbudur wanted five dispensers.

After allowing a decent discount, I told them delivery would be free of charges provided the order is for not less than five numbers.

Then they reduced it to three numbers. Still, I agreed.

But, wait, they reduced the price by Rs.1000 for each dispenser.....stating that another dealer had quoted that price.

I told them my price was final, but they could reduce Rs.500 per dispenser and collect it from my showroom.

No reply from them.

We have call taxis. Soon, it would be better if we have call transport vehicles which would charge only from A to B and not for A-B-A. Also, some consolidation of goods may help improve sales......

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Company turnover: 8,000 crores plus

This is a company having a turnover of 8,000 crores plus and is situated about 50 kms. from my showroom.

They wanted 2 nos. of water coolers.

One must remember that the cost of transportation of these two water coolers would be around Rs.1,500 plus.

I quoted a figure with a minimum reasonable margin but the purchase guy says that another dealer has quoted Rs.1,500 less than me for each water-cooler.

I explained that reduction is not possible and that they could very well
purchase the same product from the other dealer since there is no question of duplicate product (unlike mobile phones, etc) in a water-cooler!

Then they explained that they are having some "issues" with the other supplier. I told them my inability to reduce the price further.

Two days later they came back and said they would place the order on me. (I am still waiting for that as on date).

"Think globally, act locally" has now become "Check prices on-line and buy locally".  Well, this doesn't work out.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Company turnover: Rs.55,000 crores approx.

The purchase assistant from a very big company wanted a freezer for their canteen.

I quoted a reasonable price bearing in mind the transportation cost (which is the game changer these days) and also said that payment is to be made in advance.

The buyer said that the company would pay in 30 days.
Yes, you could pay in 30 days to your regular suppliers who buy month after month. This being a one-of purchase, we cannot be following up for the payment.....sometimes, it proves to be cumbersome. Of course there is no doubt about receipt of payment.

Then the buyer said you know we buy lot of things for our canteen like utensils, vessels, etc. which you could supply. We are not in the business of supplying these items.

Finally the buyer wanted to negotiate the price. There was no scope for any reduction!!

Then I suggested that since the company buys regularly from ABC company utensils and other canteen equipment they could take the freezer from the very same company who are distributors for freezers.

Still the buyer was keen to purchase from me and wanted reduction in price.

I told him: If you want the item, this is our final price. If you want it at a slightly reduced price I have shown you the place from where you can get it and whom you say is your supplier.

Why can't they appreciate this service of showing them where to get the item they wanted at their terms?

Friday, June 12, 2015

A happy customer

Customer: "Thanks for the nice job"
Me: "I am happy"
Customer: "Actually, I am very happy"
Me: "Sir, only if you are happy, I can be happy"

 A few days back a customer phoned me and wanted to buy a
window air-conditioner.

I explained him all the necessary details. Installation involved complete
alteration to window including grille cutting, etc.

I spoke to his carpenter and gave all the details on how to do the job and also the dimensions of opening required to fit the ;unit.

AC unit was supplied and my technician immediately followed and the unit sat wonderfully well.

The customer was extremely happy and gave an appreciation letter.

Since I don't go to office often, shall share the letter after a day or two.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A tough decision - but needs to be taken at times!!

A customer walked into my showroom and after discussions spoke
to me over the phone.

He identified himself as an old customer of ours and having purchased
a few air-conditioners some years back.

Business climate being what it is, our pricing structure is pathetic with
margin of less than Rs.500 on a machine, so that customers do not run away the moment the price is mentioned!! This unfortunately leaves no scope for reduction or bargaining by customer.

For quite some time he was insisting on some discount. Finally I reduced the price by Rs.200.

A few days later he came back to finalise the deal. He met my friend and wanted further reduction!!

Now we come to the most difficult part. We could have said "No" because anyway there is hardly any margin worth mentioning in the deal.

My friend asked me that the customer wanted a further reduction of Rs.300 to close the deal and what was my advise.

I just told him to go ahead and close the deal at Rs.500 less.

No margin, but a sale has been made, a customer has been retained!!

At times we have to do such things, let us not grudge about it!!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Selling to celebrities

People buy air-conditioners. Celebrities are no exception.

If the celebrity himself/herself gets involved in the purchase it would
be okay.

But more often than not their manager or some third person gets involved in the purchase. Of course the celebrity need not waste his/her time on such mundane things

Two days back a gentleman rang me up and asked me whether I knew Mr. XXX (Family name). I said "No". Then he mentioned two first names, which anyone would immediately recognize. Top celebrities.

Then he went on to say that my office insisted on payment and that the celebrity would give the cheque on delivering the air-conditioner.

I said okay. But please send me an order by e-mail giving address, name and phone number of contact person, etc. and I would send the unit.

I am still waiting for the e-mail......

Sunday, May 24, 2015

It happened like this...

It happened like this....


Shri J.S. Jaspal was the Branch Manager of Gem India Limited, distributing Gem refrigerators (manufactured by Kelvinator India Ltd.) and
Ms. Suraksha Giri was the Branch Manager of Hyderabad Allwyn Limited
manufacturing and selling the famous Allwyn Refrigerators.

A few units would get slightly damaged in transit and minor dent removal and painting was required. Our workshop Kool Kontrols was quite close to these companies and they would give us these units for repairs.

We had our painter Arumugam living just two blocks away. He used to do
a neat job. (Later he became a contractor for Hyderabad Allwyn).

Not a thickly populated Chennai, it was wonderful to watch these guys in action. When a refrigerator required full tinkering and painting (after a few years usage), the painter would first scrap the old painting. Then a coat of primer. Later three coats of white paint. Sometimes blue.

And then almost two to three hours of polishing with pure white cotton waste and polish.....

We even used to get the nearby carpenter to make stands for refrigerators. These too required painting.

The carpenter Dhanapal was a neighbour of the painter. He used to make his own famous "Shivaji" brand of barber chairs....

I asked the carpenter to make a clothes wardrobe and he supplied one for Rs.200.  I am to this day using it!!

Painters and carpenters... where are they now?

(incidentally, "It happened like this is" is a story book authored by
Ms. Suraksha Giri and released in 2014.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Shri Thulukanam (Tinker)

Shri Thulukanam (Tinker)

Today I wish to pay a tribute to Late Thulukanam (Tinker).

He was an artisan, a great craftsman. He lived in Zamin Pallavaram and used to come everday to our Air-conditioning workshop in Royapuram.

A bag containing his tools, hammer, chisel, L-angle, etc.

We had allotted a particular space for him. Nobody would disturb him. He would bring his lunch with him every day.

I am talking of the period 1975 to 1990 and a little later also. You should remember that those were the days of window air-conditioners only.

What are the things he would do? Base plate for window air-conditioner, patch work on base plates, shrouds, fan motor base, patch work and so on.

Half and full!!  I mean half size and full size bottom trays to drain out the condensate water in window air-conditioners. We used to sell many of these.

We used to buy steel and zinc sheets in bulk. When there was no heavy
repair work for him we used to ask him to do spare base plates and so on.

Unfortunately we are becoming slaves to technology and CNC machine working and so on.

The days of the artisan are gone.....

Do any of you out there still use the services of a tinker to do patch work, etc.??  I am curious to know!!

Friday, May 22, 2015

You can't buy an air-conditioner just like that!

You can't buy an air-conditioner just like that!

A customer rang up my office and seems ordered for a 1 ton window air-conditioner and asked them to delivery it immediately.
My staff  had to inform him that he needs to first pay the money for the unit.
He said he didn't want.
However my staff gave me his number and asked me to talk to him.
The next day I rang him up. He asked me if I was from showroom at YY area. I told him that I am not from YY but from Royapettah showroom.
He said he had ordered the unit.
After two days the very same customer rang me up again and asked me whether I could send him a 0.75 ton window air-conditioner. He now explained that the size of the window is just 450 mm x 350 mm and that a 1 ton unit could not be accomodated.
I politely told him that 0.75 ton window unit is not in the present range of units in Voltas.
But we can't leave it at that....
Customer need has to be fulfilled by a service minded person.
I told him I would get back to him and later informed him that OG 0.75 ton window unit would suit him and is available.
Now the customer again said: Send the unit.
I told him that I am not a dealer for the said unit.
He said General? ETA?? It is like my home because I worked there for more than 20 years.
NOW I TOLD HIM: Sir, please ring them up and ask them to send a unit to you. They will surely send you one !!!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Free installation !! (Really free !!!)

Free installation !! (Really free !!!)
Free installation, free stabilizer, free delivery ... these are all standard terms nowadays.
Ofcourse we all know nothing is free and the costs are "Built-in".
But there was a time when I used to give free installation - really free with no hidden costs.
We were maintaing 300 plus air-conditioners for a leading bank. More than 200 machines were in its head-office situated within 200 metres away from my service centre.
We had AMC for all the machines and a technician and two assistants were always present in the Bank.
The bank would now and then call for tenders to buy air-conditioners.
We would quote for the air-conditioner and stabilizer at the cost price to us. Installation: free.
You see anyway our people were there (their salary etc. already taken care of in AMC income...) and they would install the air-conditioner/s.
THIS is surely free installation !! (And the AMC income would go up by as many numbers the next year).

Monday, May 18, 2015

"We are dealers for XX and YY...."

"We are dealers for XX and YY brands of air-conditioners, but for my home I want to buy VOLTAS air-conditioners".

A customer came to my showroom a few days back. My guys requested him to talk to me over phone.

He introduced himself and informed me that his brother is a dealer for XX and  YY brands of air-conditioners.

I re-called my association with his brother, since we both were in the air-conditioning business, in the very same road, during the late seventies.

He pointed out that he is still, yes STILL , using the Voltas air-conditioners he had purchased in the year 1987.  (28 years of performance). Needless to say being air-conditioning people themselves they would have serviced the machines very regularly.

He was sentimental and wanted only Voltas machines for his home. (he has several factories in Chennai and has scores of other brands of units).

He was pleased that I kindled old memories and finalized his purchase.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fruits of good service

What is the ultimate fruit of good service?

A customer of ours rang us up and asked us to send
an air-conditioner. No pricing asked or given. No purchase order
released. No advance payment.

We send the machine, present the bill and collect the payment.

Probably we could say it is the height of mutual respect and confidence.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Killing two birds with one stone (Orae kallula irandu maangai)!!

Killing two birds with one stone (Orae kallula irandu maangai)!!

You may be a SSD. But at heart you must be a businessman!!

Yesterday we wanted to deliver an item to a place 20 Kms. away.
Both our regular vehicle contractors were not available. We were not
in a mood to source an unknown person.

We threw an arrow. There is a co-dealer near our place who has his
own vehicle and driver. We rang him up and asked him whether he
could spare his vehicle.

Yes, he did, he charged us for it and our job was done.

You see my friend
(1) Earned our goodwill by sparing his vehicle.
(2) By charging for it, he could make some money when his
vehicle was idling!!
(3) And his driver got a tip!!!

This is known as business acumen.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

If God wills.....

Nobody can refute the statement that things can happen in this world only if God wills.

Your selling an air-conditioner or for that matter any product can happen only if He wills. But our sincere effort should always be put.

A customer wanted some products and he contacted the company. They referred the customer to me. I telephoned them (a store) and offered them a price - lesser than a dealer price. He said he would come back.

After sometime my friend spoke to him and the customer bargained for the price. Eager to do "some" sale my friend lowered the price further and the customer said "God willing" he would send the money and  transport
to collect the items.

Little while later my office contacted them and asked them the billing address so that they could type the bill and go home. Customer said he would "God willing" get back in five minutes.

A minute later he (the very same customer) rings us up (not knowing that it is the very same company where he has just finalized his deal) and asks, "What would be the best price for...."

God willing he might get a better price or God willing he might come back to us. Maybe God has willed that we should not sell the product at a thinner than wafer margin!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Offer credit - but selectively.

Offer credit - but selectively:

No business can thrive without offering some credit. Selling air-conditioners is no exception.

But it must be done with lot of care and due diligence.

A company in Alwarpet approached me recently and I gave my quote.
The customer wanted a week's credit which I refused.

The next day there was a phone call from Singapore ( I knew it was a call from another country from the number displayed on my mobile). The manager of the company spoke to me politely and requested that time
be given so that he could bring the cheque along with him.

I asked him to confirm by mail and also send his company's web-site URL before I could agree.

He did so and I found the company to be a leading company based in Singapore and distributing among other items coil winding machines and so on.

I agreed, supplied the air-conditioner and got the payment on dot.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

If your hands and dress are dirty - you are a serviceman!

When cleaning, repairing, servicing the air-conditioners your hands and dress will get dirty!

That is the path you have chosen. In the process of cleaning and servicing your hands and dress will get dirty - that is part of the game.

My friend is a multi-millionaire and he did business in U.S.A. for over two decades. 73 years of age, even today, in Chennai he keeps his first business - an air-conditioning service shop, still running. As soon as he enters his shop he would get into the repair section and do something or the other. That is the love of work.

His brother describes him best: "He will run and make you (others, his workers) to run."

In facebook you would have read about the Japanese consultant who came to Taj group of hotels. People at the hotel wondered what new concept he would teach. He went around the hotel and saw in the pantry many dirty plates. He immediately started cleaning them. Come on - let us clean was his mantra. To serve guests with clean plates it is not necessary to have huge stock of plates - rather, you should clean them then and there to reduce the cycle time.

Another observation doing the rounds is about Infosys founder cleaning his own restroom and car....

A young mechanic wanted a job and said that he had worked for a month in a leading Air-conditioning company. I asked him, "why only one month?".

He replied: I am asked to clean filters and air-conditioners. I want to do all kinds of repair work.....

Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Clean the filter as nobody in this world can do a better job than you and then see your growth!!

Have a nice week ahead!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Thanks to on-line businesses (COD) !!

Thanks to on-line businesses (COD)!!

Yesterday (Saturday) a customer rang up and discussed his purchase
of a 1.5 ton air-conditioner.

He told me that he didn't want to damage the wall and whether we could take the pipes through drilling hole in the wooden frame of window. I said that that is not possible.

After a lot of discussion he said, " You send the machine and your person with swiping machine or collect the cheque".

During the discussions, I could guess the customer as a fastidious person.
Also, I was not sure whether his cheque would get through.

I told him that he could transfer the money on-line. He then again asked: Don't you have payment options in your place? What are the offers and so on.

After a while he said that he has transferred a test check for Re.1/-
and that after confirmation he would transfer the balance. After an hour he asked whether our account had been credited.

After nearly a day and innumerable checks, the Re.1/- has still not reached me.....  Hope it will happen soon.

On-line business with huge turnover and Angels giving them millions can blindly give COD for goods ranging from Rs.200 onwards. People like us cannot afford that you see!

Order booked - supply refused.

A few days back a customer rang me up and said that his boss
had decided which model of 1.5 ton split air-conditioner they wanted
and also that they should source it only from a nearby authorised

I gave them a good price and after sometime the customer agreed
but just asked me to send a technician to see the site and decide
how the unit is to be fixed.

My engineer went there and saw that the area was large - 370 sq.ft.
with a wooden partition having a full length opening of about 9" at the
top.  They wanted the indoor to be fixed mid-way so that both areas
will get cooled.

Customer was advised that 1.5 ton would not be sufficient and they
could either go in for two units or one 2 ton unit after widening the 9" gap.

I sent them a mail explaining this and also phoned them about it.

"O.K. Sir, but we can only buy what our management says" was the reply.

I told them politely that we cannot supply one unit of 1.5 ton air-conditioner.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Many a slip between the cup and the lip.

The Tamil equivalent for the above is: Kaikku ettinathu vaikku ettavillai.
(What reached the hand did not reach the mouth).
It was the famous cricketer Krish Srikkanth who once said something better than this. Vaikku ettinathu vaiththukku ettavillai. (What reached the mouth did not reach the stomach.)
Two days back I was in similar predicament.
About a month back a customer about 60 kms from my showroom rang me up and wanted a freezer. Also he felt that if he took it from me the transportation would be high and wanted me to suggest a nearby place.
I told him that I would help him out. With some difficulty I located a dealer located just less than 10 kms from his place and asked him to supply.
(After supplying the person did not have the courtesy to thank me for
giving him some business! Such are the days !!)
Two days back the very same customer rang me up and said this time he wanted a freezer about 3 kms from my residence. I told him I have the product in stock and I would supply him the same.
He was happy. He said he was going to a particular place to buy some
equipments and he would contact me in the afternoon.
Then and there I knew that I had lost the business. Because the place where he went to buy the equipments - they also sold freezers.
The customer did not call me again. A business gained by goodwill and lost by present day business dynamics.

Payment collection - Tatasky way !!!

Whatever business you are in payment collection is an important
aspect. All outstanding payments have to be collected in time.
Recently I switched over from cable connection to DTH.from Tatasky.
They send payment reminder by SMS, follow it up with e-mail. Then
they send messages through TV. To top it all up they phone customers
and follow up for payment.
My monthly payment due is on 29th and today is 24th. I am prompt in
making payment. And of course these guys have the unique way of
disconnecting your connection !!
One guy telephoned me today and said your payment is due on 29th and when are you going to pay? I said today is 24th and you have reminded me so many times in so many ways, don't you worry, I will make the payment. Fine, nothing wrong so far.
Again after two hours another guy phones me and says payment? I asked him: Are you mad? Now when I walk on the road are you guys going to come from three different directions and ask me for the payment? One guy just a little while ago phoned me, so don't remind me again!!
With great difficulty I restrained myself giving a bit of my mind.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Interesting customer-salesman dialogue!!

Customer: I want to buy a 1.5 ton window air-conditioner.
After explaining,
Customer: What is the price?
Me: Rs. xxxxx for the air-conditioner, Rs. xxxx for the stabilizer...
Customer: You mean, you are going to charge for the stabilizer?
Me: Yes, ...
Customer snaps the line.
(1) Customer is happy he has not been taken for a ride.
(2) I am happy that I need not incur a negative margin on sale!!
This is what management jargon would say: Win-win situation !!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Why SSDs lose sales....

We(SSDs)  tend to blame the market for low sales.

Market is dull. Market is not picking up. Summer has not started and so on.

Whatever it may be, let us see how we can retain the business which comes our way.

One of the main and may be the only reason sales is lost is because of pricing.

Here are some of the pitfalls.

(1) (Example) Customer rings up and asks the price of 1.5 ton 3 star split ac.
Our salesman may say Rs.30,000 let us say. Immediately the customer says: "But ABC company quoted only Rs.28,000."

Without a thought our salesman believes that! That is the problem.

To counter that the salesman has to THINK.

Is the customer comparing apple to apple?
Who is ABC and what is his pricing for the product?
What are the things included in the pricing of Rs.28,000?

If the above are probed chances of losing the conversation and the sale are slim.

(2) (Example) Customer says: "ABC offer is Rs. xxx. How much can you reduce?"
Your salesman says: "I will check with my Manger/owner and tell you".
Then and there your sale is lost. Because you have given an impression that
reduction is possible!!

(3) Your regular customers who buy units every year are very important customers. Be in
close contact with them.Help them in choosing the units. These days customers rarely stick
to the same brand. Even in the rare case of they buying from somewhere else, you will
still retain the customer and may be install the units and maintain them after the guarantee period.
(One customer recently purchased a unit from me but insisted that his regular mechanic only
should install it.)

(4) Don't let your salesmen give out prices from the price list in parrot like fashion.
Example: What is the price for 1 ton 5 star AC?
Answer: Rs.35,000.

"Yes Sir, thanks for calling, we have 1 ton 5 star unit. Are you sure you need a 1 ton
air-conditioner? Where are you going to fix it?......

Chances are the customer may actually need a 1.5 ton ac!

to be continued...

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Offering goods on credit is one way of increasing business.

I have also been involved with business to the electrical industry for many years. The payment from electrical industry is very poor.

What you see as ALSTOM in Pallavaram was years back known as The English Electric Company of India Limited. We offered to supply them hylam (Formica - electrical grade) components to them. It is a simple job of buying hylam sheets and cutting and turning them to different sizes.

They said payment will be made in 90 days and we agreed. But.... there was a catch. You have to submit the bill after 90 days.So, the credit period offered is actually 90 + 90 = 180 days! (six months).

Still we agreed because it is a very reputed company and payment will be made as promised. We decided, we will have to provide working capital for six months and after that we will get payment regularly every month.

Today, in the AC and other business which mainly involves supply (no value addition) credit cannot be given. Even Government bodies which used to pay in 30 to 40 days began to approach retailers to buy air-conditioners against advance payment!  (Retailers don't give any credit).

Recently a very reputed paint company with a yearly turnover of more than 2500 crores approached me to buy a water dispenser. They said payment will be made in 15 days cycle. I refused to the terms and told them that as per our policy they have to make either advance payment or if payment against delivery they should first send us a scan copy of the payment cheque so that we can be certain that payment is obtained against delivery.

After two months they came back and send a copy of the cheque, which we collected against delivery.

As my friend often says: "No money - no honey".

Dear friends, it is better these days to supply only against payment.

Happy selling!

Customers are slippery !!

These days customers are slippery. They may not care about relationships in the past. It is only price.

A customer was asking me an air-conditioner for his children's room.
As we spoke he told me that he knows our company and proprietor quite well and that we used to buy drilling machines and other tools from him.

His house is situated less than a kilometer from our showroom.

When discussing about price he agreed that margins are very, very low and that the price quoted by me was not bargained.

These days at the very first instance we quote the lowest possible price, lest the customer gets out of our hand.

He said that his daughter wanted only a red colour panel. The next day I informed him that red colour was indeed available.

When I later phoned, his office informed me that he is out of station and would be back after a week or so. Again, I phoned two or three times but on every occasion he was not available.

Today I phoned and he came on the line. The person who was earlier cordial was as distant as possible. " I asked my office to take the unit from you. Did they not contact you?"

He is a small shop owner and buying unit for his house. Can't he just tell me that he has purchased the unit??

I didn't want to embarrass him. I told him politely: "If you need a unit, you may contact me anytime".

I disconnected and banged on my table. Mild pain in my wrist !!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

SSDs - How to get more business

One reason SSDs could increase their business volume was
because of permanent staff and good relationship.

When there is service required, the customer will ring up a
particular person in the company. For that customer even if
there are five mechanics in the firm, only either mechanic A
or B will be allotted the job of going there.

Nowadays if a new unit is installed on day one and on day two
there is a small service issue to be looked into, chances of the
the technician who went on day one going again is very rare.

Though the job is done, it is not an ideal situation. There is no
bond created between the customer and the company.

Choose some of your big ticket customers like say a Bank, or an
Insurance company, a hospital, a hotel or an IT company and so on.

You as the owner and key person who is always going to be there
should visit the client at-least once in a month or two to keep the
relationship strong and dynamic.

You could very well see your business growing.

Good luck!

Monday, April 6, 2015

SSDs - "Death" of the Salesman !!

During the rise of the SSDs the salesman played quite an important

He was involved in,

(1) Attending to the customers who walk in (if there is a showroom)
(2) Going on cold calls - area wise.
(3) Preparing and submission of quotes and follow-up.
(4) Oversee the delivery of the product, installation
(5) Some general office work

Thanks to the IT culture and other developments all around us
this has completely gone hay-wire

(1) These days, the footprints in smaller single SSD showrooms have
reduced significantly.
(2) Salesman are reluctant to work long hours. (The job of a Salesman is 24x7, but who cares?)
(3) Salesman are reluctant to go on long trips for cold calls. They feel it is "demeaning". The owners are not sure if they really put in so many cold calls or just go to the nearby cinema hall !
(4) The "cost" of the salesman is prohibitive. (For example, if you pay around 15K to a salesman will he be able to get you additional business of around 50 machines?? No way!  Also, Rs.300 per machine cannot be allocated to the salesman alone!!
(5) Salesman used to also get AMC contracts. This has become a thing of the past.
(6) Quotes are nowadays 95% oral and only 5% in writing (to Corporates).
This can be done by the owner himself.
(7) Delivery is by contracted vehicle and installation is mostly by contractors. No work here for the salesman. (As a "salesman" I have helped in lifting the machine, going along in the vehicle, delivery, arranging carpenter, buying wood from nearby shop, sitting through all along and waiting till the machine is installed and run ! )
(8) Office work? If a salesman is asked to deposit a cheque in the nearby bank, he will look around for a mechanic or offic-boy (if there is one) to do the job.

I can go on and on.  God save the SSDs.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

SSD Model is no longer sustainable - Part XII

It was seen that the rise and fall of SSDs can be attributed to Sales.

The revenue from Sales/Service being around 70/30 revenues have dropped because
the realisation per machine has come down drastically.

SSDs could get back to the growth track if:

(1) They do not resort to selling only air-conditioners. The units should be sold only
if installation income of Rs.1500 plus is received with each unit.

(2) All installation should be done by SSDs own team.

(3) Overhead expenditure has to be cut down as much as possible.

(4) All activity to be concentrated within a radius of 5 or 10 kms depending
upon the size of the SSD.

(5) They should concentrate on building the team of technicians, who stay and
grow with them. (This is easily said than done!!)

(6) Last but not least, they should scout for alternate sources of income. (some
other associated business).

Thursday, April 2, 2015

SSD Model is no longer sustainable - Part XI

Advertising will no longer work!

When the internet reach was limited, when the wholesalers and retailers had not entered the market in
a big way and when the brands were limited AND there was good demand for air-conditioners,

the Sun was shining for the SSDs.

(a) They got very good leads from their Principal's to sell air-conditioners without much effort
or real salesmanship at play,
(b) They advertised in Yellow Pages and got very good leads,
(c) Companies and institutions encouraged dedicated suppliers for air-conditioners (SSDs),
(d) Small advertisements released periodically in local newspapers and national newspapers
(e) Road shows and melas held in vantage places were productive.
(f) Banners put up in important places drew the attention of many.
(g) 10 to 15% sales occurred due to co-dealers sourcing machines (though at a minimum
or nil margin this helped in the number game).

Good. But unfortunately today none of the above (a) to (g) is going to help in even selling
a few machines!!

It is time SSDs give up the number game and sell machines only to those who do not mind
giving Rs.1500 for installation (splits) and a reasonable margin of around Rs.2,000 on the
cost of the air-conditioner and stabilizer which after providing for transportation and VAT and
Service tax will give a gross margin of around Rs.1000 per machine.

Some years back when margins from AMC, repairs etc was quite good, I used to say that
that I will sell at times an air-conditioner even with a margin of Re.1/=.

I will never ever advocate this to a SSD today!! Times have changed.

Now we have to change ourselves? How?

to be continued...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

SSD Model is no longer sustainable - Part X

SSDs used to get workers and helpers locally.

No longer is this possible. Even if we get workers they do not stick for more than three or four

An SSD was looking for one or two helpers. Somebody said that they could get hard working guys
by "out-sourcing."  They could get them from other parts of the country. We have to give them
accommodation and wage of 10K per person per month. Also they would come as four people. Not less.

We do not know about such guys. When we give accommodation, we become responsible for their
behaviour. As it is SSD burdened by many issues, how can we take this burden also?

For four people the total cost for the company would come to around 60K.

How much incremental business are we going to do to get around 100K and pay these four guys
60K? They have no skill-set except maybe lifting the machines and cleaning the place and some
such odd jobs which are not directly revenue yielding....

Also language is a problem.

It just does not work out at all.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


So we saw how the AC companies used the Service shops as a platform to increase their
volumes. After a period of a few years they found that these "small" (but profitable) shops were
not the right people to invest several lakhs of rupees as working capital to buy air-conditioners in
volumes of 50 and 100 and sell them in the market for lesser margin. Nor did they have the reach
in terms of storage and delivery logistics.

Therefore they were left with no other option but to approach the appliances wholesalers and retailers
to buy in bulk and distribute them to sub-dealers and technicians who had/have dedicated customers.

This being so there was another development. The BEE brought in the rating system of 1 to 5 stars.
The companies had to increase the models to have different star categories in each model and capacity.
SSDs with limited stocks found that to cater to the customer they had to carry  a fairly large stock, much beyond their means or capacity.

As the volumes to the companies soared providing service was becoming difficult. Thus the "Service Franchisee" model with toll-free number was brought up. While the retailers were happy to sell volumes
and make money the could not be expected to take up the burden of service and installation. This works well.

The AC&R repair shops became sophisticated SSDs selling more of air-conditioners and doing little of
repair and servicing work. The goose that layed golden eggs was transformed to goose that lay just ordinary eggs. (No fault of anybody - just the way the market dragged).

Now that goose is finding it difficult to even lay ordinary eggs!!

It is high time that a majority of the SSDs de-link the selling activity and release locked up capital and also lessen the burden of interest and storage. They have to go back to their roots. Servicing and repairng activity.

But is it possible?

to be continued....    Inputs are invited from experienced friends in this group...

Monday, March 30, 2015


Free Installation !

Companies in order to lure the customer built-in the price of stabilizer and installation charges
into the pricing and began to say - Buy Air-conditioner - Free stabilizer, free installation, free delivery.

The market is ever-changing. On-line companies have begun to sell air-conditioners. They are not
much bothered about installation. How can an on-line company know what are all required in your
location to install the air-conditioner?

With severe shortage of skilled man-power and undue pressure of work during summer things
are going to change very soon.

A technician who was in my employment on a monthly salary of Rs.7,000  some years back
has now turned a contractor. A few days back I approached him to know if he could install a
few air-conditioners.

"Sir, people are standing in queue. If you pay me Rs.2000 per installation I can do something
that is very urgent for you"

You get the big picture. Contractors who very happy with Rs.600 to Rs.750 per installation
are now demanding Rs.800 to Rs.1,000 and much more. With unknown, untried contractors
we do not know the quality of work!

Thanks to mobile phones, technicians whom we have trained, have now become contractors
with their own contacts and forgetting our goodwill say that they are too busy with "their" customers.

Who are "Their" customers?

"They" are "our" customers taken away from us !!

.... to be continued

Sunday, March 29, 2015


We saw how the revenue stream for a SSD gradually got diminished over the years.

But there was a silver lining. Companies stopped local manufacture of air-conditioners and went in for
global sourcing (Mostly China). The machines were of very good quality and people found that they
could now buy "imported" goods right here from Indian companies.

In the initial years (2000 to 2005 say) SSDs were the first to become dealers for AC Brands and
sales picked up with good margins. They were able to make a reasonable marging in the unit, the
stabilizer and installation charges.

Around the year 2005 air-conditioners became a "commodity".  Appliances stores began to
buy air-conditioners in bulk and started selling them at prices much lesser than the SSDs.
Since they were buying in bulk at negotiated prices the SSDs without much muscle power were
slowly losing the grip on sales.

There was also another handicap. Mechanics working in SSDs were lured into becoming contractors.
Those who were working in SSDs and earning upto 10K found that by installing one or two splits
per day they could easily earn upto 20K per month!  Of course, it was good for them, but put the
SSDs in a bad corner. Not only that, the mechanics took away the trainees and helpers along with
them to form a team!

When competition heated up all sorts of freebies were offered. Free stabilizer, free installation and so on.

So what has happened to the SSD in the meantime? No revenue stream, no sales, no mechanics....
The troubles only increased!

to be continued....


While looking at the SSD Model over a period of about forty years, we have seen that the profitability or rather the avenues of getting margins on different activities have slowly disappeared.
Let us recap these in short:
(1) Due to very good quality of machines and compressors being offered with five-year warranty - REPAIR JOBS HAVE COME DOWN.
(2) Owing to high quality refrigerators (frost free, stabilizer free) there is
(3) Because of minimum use and sale of window air-conditioners -
(4) Reluctance of customers to enter into AMC contracts for their machines. On the other hand if maintained in AMC spare parts like PCB's are hard to obtain for the Service provider. (Use and throw culture).
(5) Total absence of customers buying second-hand machines. - RECYCLING OF OLD MACHINES NOT POSSIBLE. EVEN REASONABLY GOOD MACHINES ARE SCRAPPED !!
(6) Additional burden on SSDs by way of Service tax and Sales tax. Though these are collected from customers and paid to Government no doubt, let us see what happens. If we charge Rs.1,500 for installation of split air-conditioner with tax, what we actually get is only Rs.1,315. I have not come across anyone charging Rs.1,500 plus service tax Rs.210 = Rs.1,710. ( I would like to know of anyone charging this way in any State of our country). (Tax calculated at revised 14% for demonstration purpose only).
to be continued...

Monday, March 23, 2015


Point # 9

In the seventies and eighties the big companies had their own security staff, their own drivers, their own cooks. When the economy opened up and foreign companies came in, in order to cut costs, the companies:

(a) Gave the security work to security agencies
(b) The canteens were handed over to contractors to be run by them.
(c) Drivers were sent out and companies found that hiring vehicles from Travel companies was
(d) Companies maintaining maintenance departments gave the maintenance work to contractors.
Nowadays for Air-conditioning companies we have the Authorised Service Franchisee.
(e) Finally companies found that instead of making an air-conditioner found that importing
them was cheaper and the quality better and liked by people. This is the extreme case of
MAKE OR BUY decision where company finds that the buying decision is better than the
making process.

                                                                                     to be continued...

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Point # 8

In the late seventies, there was a craze for foreign goods. A lot of workers were coming back to
India (mainly Kerala) after working in the Middle East for a few years. They were allowed to bring
back goods used by them under T.R. (Transfer of Residence). In order that they might make some
money by selling foreign stuff, each one of them started getting 2 air-conditioners  (some used, some new also). Most of these were General and along with the logo in front these units came to be popularly
known as "OG".   The name has stuck.

Many machines were brought to Chennai too for re-sale. Machines were available in Burma Bazaar too.
The popular brands were OG, National, Sanyo....   

The AC&R shops found that they could make some extra money by checking these machines, repairing/polishing them (to look like new!) and selling them for some profit.

This period marks the beginning of the end for AC&R shops, because they were lured into selling
machines for profit rather than concentrate on their core strength of repairing!!

In the late eighties CARRIER entered India setting up a plant in Gurgaon. 

Subsequently National set up a factory in Chennai. They completely toppled the market! They were given a five year tax holiday and they were among the first to offer a five-year warranty on the compressor.

We had put up a fabulous plant for manufacturing heat-transfer coils (condensor and evaporator coils)
but could not take it forward for a lot many reasons. We had ideas of selling these to manufacturers.
I was surprised when one day two executives from National landed up in my office telling me that they
had spare capacity for manufacture of coils and whether I would be interested in buying! How the cart had turned!!  (Later the National factory was shut down).

Now you can very well imagine the scenario...

(Inputs from readers are welcome)

                                                                                To be continued.....

Friday, March 20, 2015


Point No.5

As the service persons and their company grew, they found that (a) It was easy to get workers residing nearby and train them (b) wages, rent and electricity bills and other overhead expenses like tea were quite low (c) All customers were within  radius of 5 Kms from the shop (d) customers could be reached by cycle and bus. The supervisor or chief technician had a moped and was proud of it!! (e) fuel price was low (when I bought my Yezdi bike in 1974 petrol used to cost Rupees three and paise forty per litre. (no traffic jams).
People used to report for work by 8.30 a.m sharp.

Well the city grew into a mega-city, we started to ape the west, and what happened?
(a) Technicians are difficult to get. Most of them stay 10 to 15 Kms away from the work-place.
(b) Technicians with even a minimum skill-set want to become contractors.
(c) 80% of the customers are very far off. Some even at a distance of 25 to 30 Kms away from the work place. (d) REnt, electricity and wages have shot up. Overheads have sky-rocketed. For instance a cup of tea costing Rs.2 in the year 2002 is now Rs.8 ! (d) All technicians are to be provided with motor-cycles, no other cheaper mode of transport is possible !! 

RESULT: Business is fast becoming unviable.

Point No. 6

With only window air-conditioners in the market, good used machines were available. Shops used to frequently sell pre-owned (a new-age name for second hand goods) and make good money. The present day machines though far, far superior in quality than the earlier machines are not made to last long (>5 to 7 years). Nobody wants to buy a second-hand machine.

RESULT: Revenue loss.

Point No. 7

Some years back there was no sales tax on second-sales. (Today we have VAT)
There was no tax on repair/ service. (Today we have Service tax - recently hiked to 14%)

RESULT: We are proud to serve our Nation. But margins get eroded.


Point No.3
When air-conditioners were sold with one year guarantee, SSDs used to send AMC proposals by
post and through personal delivery to the customers. Many would enter into AMC and send in
their cheques by post!  Companies on the other hand would never hesitate to enter into AMC contracts.
We would have many good working window air-conditioners in stock and in case an air-conditioner is
brought to the workshop for gas charging/ compressor replacement, a stand-by unit would be provided.
In fact for companies and others, the units would be brought to workshop for water-wash and return
once in a year. (New name: Put-down service). Also the very name SSD is  recent . All the shops were  known as “Air-conditioning and Refrigertion Engineers” and all of the business was repairing, maintaining under contract. A few new machines were sold in any given year.

RESULT: Revenue loss. Hardly any AMC business is obtained these days.

Point No.4

Purchase of air-conditioners were “Capital” in nature and required Board sanction. Companies found
that it was easy to get air-conditioners on rental and write off the expenditure as expenses. Customers used to be charges anywhere between Rs.500 to Rs.800 per machine per month. Business owners used to buy old units and refurbish them , provide with new grilles and keep them ready to be given for rent.
The minimum rental period was six months. NRI’s coming back to their homes during summer insisted that parent’s provide air-conditioners and they in turn asked for 3 to 6 months rental contract.
This was a good revenue stream for many. After introduction of splits and disposable income increasing this business  segment is totally lost. Air-conditioners are ordered with impunity by executives in the Purchasing department.

RESULT: Revenue loss. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015



The SSD model is no longer sustainable.
Point no. 1:
Traditionally a SSD in this field was known as Air-conditioning and Refrigeration workshop.
SSD’s used to get revenue from repairing of refrigerators, replacing compressors in them, gas
Charging, tinkering and painting. People and small shops used to buy second-hand refrigerators.
The present-day refrigerators are very good and there is no-need of service or repair to these
and also no-body wants a second-hand refrigerator!!

RESULT: Revenue lost.

Point no.2:
Air-conditioners were of the window unit type with reciprocating compressors. New units came
With one year guarantee. Providing a stand-by unit was easy as all the units of different capacities
Were of the same dimensions. Repairing of compressors (i.e. cutting open, rewinding the coils, resealing) was done by skilled technicians. This resulted in a lot of repair jobs for the company and there was a revenue stream.  Today we have only rotary high efficiency compressors which seldom fail and these are offered with a five year warranty. No repair jobs (except those under guarantee/ AMC) are available to the SSD.

RESULT: Revenue lost.

                                                                                                      To be continued….

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

On-line attack !!

Companies were warning the public that guarantee/warranty conditions would not
apply if goods (air-conditioners in particular) were purchased on-line.

But it seems slowly they are changing their attitude?

A leading company has put up an advertisement in the front page in a leading daily
offering upto 35% discount on some leading brands of air-conditioners. It also
seems to say that the offer is for one day....

The very same paper has a news item elsewhere which says that the on-line company
is to invest Rs.940-1,250 crores in logistics in the next one year to ensure delivery
within four hours.

A representative from an on-line company met me a few days back and said that
we could put up our stock for sale through them and mention our price. He also
went on to explain that with their "deals" they might sell the goods at a lower price
still paying our price to us!!

But what is the bottom-line?

A person in business can easily understand a lot of things by reading the above.

Anybody selling an air-conditioner will realise that he/she cannot sell a unit with
a discount of 10 to 15% on the M.R.P.  Stop.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Carrying cost

The cost of keeping a product in our godown for a given number of days is an important
and real hidden cost which many among us fail to calculate.

To make it clear with a simple example, let us assume that a person has a
godown in which he can store say 100 given items and the rent for the godown
is Rs.30,000 per month.

In this example if a given item is kept for 30 days then the cost of keeping
that item is Rs.300.

Suppose an item worth 10,000 is kept in this godown for 40 days and then
sold for Rs.11,000 it goes without saying that out of the Rs.1,000 margin
a sum of Rs.400 was spent for just keeping the item till sold.

How many among us actually try to calculate this?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Business ethics

We often hear about ethics. Rather nowadays we more often hear "no ethics".

Whether you are a small company with eight employees and a turnover of less than a crore of rupees
or a big corporation with thousands of employees and turnover running into thousands of crores does
not matter. Behaviour and attitude should be ethical.

But then what is ethical?

To put it in simple words, the behaviour by an individual or company towards its customers, suppliers, employees, government and the society at large in a rightful manner without showing partiality or trying
to avoid certain obligations falls into ethics.

Many companies have their own set of principles written down as "Code of conduct" which is
expected to be implicitly followed by all its employees.

As India progresses into the twenty first century it is better that each one of us has our own
code of conduct and follow it.

A few days back I received a phone call from a person in Kozhikode. I could have said that I operate
in Chennai and so cannot do anything much for him. I wanted to help him or guide him as much as I could so that his need is fulfilled. After talking to him I came to know that he wanted a small part for a water dispenser. I told him it is available with me and he said he could collect it when he visits Chennai. Why
make him come all the way to my shop? I told him to give his address and I can send it by courier and he pay on-line which he did.

What has this incident to do with ethics? IT IS THE IMPRESSION I HAVE CREATED IN HIS

Happy selling for summer!!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Refusing service is also service...

A few days back I observed my car to be running bumpy. My local mechanic asked me to get
the wheel balancing and alignment done.

There is a wheel alignment centre near my office. The guy took a ride, came back and told me
that three tyres are to be replaced. I asked him not to do anything. I was not sure if his advise
was right.

I called my friend, a veteran tyre dealer for his recommendation. He told me that in radial tyres
it is difficult to see the wear and tear by sight. The tyres were more than seven years old and I was
asked to replace them. I asked them to replace all the four tyres and do the alignment. Now my car
is running smooth.

About a year back a corporate asked me to give AMC offer for their twenty and odd air-conditioners.
I went around and saw the machines. They were more than twelve years old and in poor condition but
were working....  I told them it is not worthwhile for them as well as for us to take the machines in AMC.
They may continue to use them as long as they work and then replace them with new ones. They were happy to receive this advise of mine.

Last month this very same corporate called me and said they wanted to buy ten units for their new office and asked me to come and  take their order. Yes, COME AND TAKE YOUR ORDER. We got the order after fine-tuning the price to somewhat match with other quotes.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Lunch and a lesson!

Having gone to my office yesterday, I had lunch at the V.I.P.'s  restaurant at Royapettah.

As I entered the restaurant with my friend, somebody having his lunch greeted me. At first I could
not recognize him though I too greeted him but immediately remembered that he is the owner
of restaurant.

A few years back I had asked him: Why do you call your hotel V.I.P.s restaurant?
Reply: Sir, every person who comes and has his/her lunch here is a Very Important Person to me!!

Yesterday after lunch I asked him jokingly: What Sir, owner having lunch in own hotel??
Reply: My mother is 86 years old and when I started this hotel 20 years back she had told
me, "If you can't have food in your hotel you are not fit to serve others!". That is our family philosophy.
Every day I have lunch and dinner here. Even if I go out to a function and have lunch, I will have my
dinner here. I never miss a day....

When I was in-charge of an air-conditioning firm (SSD) a big ticket customer walked into my
cabin and after chatting with me for a while, got up and went near my window air-conditioner.
He ran his finger over the front panel and showed some dust. Then he said, "If you can't take
care of your own unit, how are you going to take care of others??".

I immediately replied, "Sir, we are so busy serving others, sometimes we don't mind about our
own needs...".    It was not a very serious question and I somehow wriggled out of the situation.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Some people wrongly take service to mean repairs in the context of air-conditioning and refrigeration field.
Service means not only repairs but much more. It means help. Helping the customer in arriving at a decision.
A corporate customer wanted to buy a few air-conditioners and called us over for a discussion. We immediately went to their office at the time they wanted us there and explained everything.
When the question of pricing came up they pointed out to pricing of some retailers and said our pricing was little bit above than that.
But there is a difference between the two of us, we said.
Like what?
Like you called us and we came here to your office. Our service to you has already begun even before your purchase.....
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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Practice makes perfect

A new year gift?

Well you may take it that way.

A friend of mine introducted me to the 2048 game ( an app).

He also told me that he has been trying it for some days and unable to go beyond 512,
I was warned that I would become addictive.

I tried a umber of times and rarely reached 512,

Then I observed carefully and after a few days I reached 1024.

With confidence and constant practice I could reach 1024 quite often.

Then it happened on 1.1.2015. I finished the game with 2048!!

And again on 2.1.15.

Now I understand "practice maks perfect" fully.