It was a fine September evening on 2009 and I was enjoying my favorite muffin with Darjeeling tea in my favorite coffee shop. I felt a pat on my shoulder and it was Mr. Murali, the then HR Manager of Sutherland services, in which I attended my first interview in Chennai. Back then I was a rusty youngster from south Tamil nadu in Chennai trying to find a place in the city. I was looking for a job, not very particular about it, ended up in the interview of call center. The Interview was a big Eye opener, as I miserably failed. Mr.Murali too should have the same memories, I guess. We both had smiles on our faces. He did not remember my name, and felt sorry for that. That meeting in the coffee shop was a great learning experience for me. I gave my card to him and said that I am self employed now as management consultant. He complimented that I have improved my ability to speak the Queen’s language. We again had a laugh remembering the way I spoke in English in the interview 5 years before. He then said something very interesting. He said “I knew you would end up like this when you attended that interview. You had a good sales man inside you then!”
Though I was running small business back in my hometown before coming to Chennai, I never mentioned this in my profile or in my self- introduction. I was again curious how he figured out that. He said he knew these things because he is a seasoned HR person. I questioned him again “But how do you know that I am a good marketing executive?” He corrected me once again that he never mentioned me as a marketing person, but a sales person, though I had some qualities of a good marketing material too. He added that I had a correct mix of a puzzle breaker and a mystery solver. I asked difference. He then gave me an absolute blinder of an explanation, which I never forgot. I thanked him for the piece of knowledge he shared with me and said I would never forget this in my whole life time. I shall share that with you now and hope this would be useful to you.
What is puzzle? What is a mystery? Are both the same or are they different? If different how? A puzzle is a thing which is created because of lack of information. Every extra information when added it brings us close to the solution of the puzzle. The example for a puzzle would be finding a treasure hidden somewhere. Each information about that treasure would actually drive us close to the treasure. For example, if the clue is that it is in north India, we move closer. And if the next clue is that it is in J&K state, it makes the quest further easier. This is how a puzzle is solved. The person who has a talent to solve puzzles is called as puzzle breakers. They actually excel in a single trait of data collection. The more data you have on the hand the more close to your victory. Now let’s see what the things are, essential for a person to be a good data accumulator. He has to be energetic, he has to have perseverance, he has to have good memory, and he has to have good presence of mind (To identify whether this data is relevant to the collection). So why are we speaking about puzzles now? We can equate puzzles to sales and a puzzle breaker to a sales person. A reasonably good sales man has to have all the above mentioned traits to have a successful run at sales. In addition to that a sales man should have two more traits Pitching and Phrasing. This completes a sales man and the probability of him closing a sale is much higher.
Now let’s take the case of Mystery. Mystery is entirely different from a puzzle. A mystery is not the lack of information, but it is the excess information which is causing the confusion to solve it. The more information you pour in, the more problematic it becomes. The best example you can give for mystery is any scandal. The more information about persons involved and situations can actually deviate the issue from the core stance. So the mystery is solved by careful analysis and deep observation. The person who solves the mystery is called as demystefier. Once you got hold of all those relevant informations, if a person can find a format, see a lead, connect the link then he is a successful demystefier. Let see what all the qualities that are essential to be a demystefier. He should be assertive; He must think out of the box and should be able to connect the dots. This Mystery solving can be equated to Marketing. To be a great marketing person you need to have the above mentioned qualities plus important traits of foresight and insight.
The sales person has an advantage that he only needs energy and perseverance. Everything else comes along due to implicit learning. So age is not a factor to be a good sales man. Steve jobs was a great sales man. He was successful at the age of 20. So was Michael Dell. He sold at the age of 18. But Marketing needs Experience and Insight. A great company to run a successful marketing campaign need to study and analyze the market data and come up with the plan of Branding and advertising. The insight quality in the marketing department has always led to new products and services. So Marketing happens basically by explicit learning. So a person in sales may not necessarily be successful at marketing and vice versa.
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