In this post you will find the contents of the speech made by a leading industrialist to leaders of our Indian economy at a secret meeting last week and the incidents that followed it. The participants will of course deny the occurrence of this event but I felt the need to give my massive reading audience the complete picture.
“Fellow businessmen, retailers, shopkeepers and members of the industry, I stand before you a worried man, a man who sees a paradigm shift that is happening as we speak and like many of you I too am helpless & am looking to you for suggestions and advice. For decades, we businessmen have held the upper hand as we have dictated prices of everything from soaps to cars, from movie stars to chocolate bars. We decided what the right price for everyday & non-everyday items was and customers remained ignorant without that blasted thing called the internet.
Nowadays we have to deal with Disturbingly Informed Completely Knowledgeable Shoppers (Note from Neil - This is an acronym friendly blog but in this case I must make an exception to the acronym that was used by this ignorant gentleman). These D**** do all their research on the internet, analyze offerings from different competitors and then go to buy what they want armed to the teeth with knowledge. You cant pull a fast one on D****. You cant lowball them with a substandard product or services. D**** will make life miserable for you if we try doing such regular unscrupulous activities by publishing all our shenanigans (Note from Neil - surprising that he uses words like shenanigans but is ignorant about the usage of the acronym D****) all over the internet or taking it up with the media.
My colleagues and I have thought about it a lot, we have hired consultants to figure a way out for us but it is of no use. We can probably hold out for a while longer but eventually we need to cave in and herald the age of the D****. That will be a sad day for all of us indeed. I urge you to pull as much as possible from the pockets of these customers while you can because our good times wont last.
(On this solemn note, the speaker sat down & the crowd settled into an unsteady silence)
An old businessman stood up and took the microphone and said "What rubbish! I have been running my business for 40 years and have never once met a customer like what you described. You people are making a big hue and cry about nothing !"
(A young man slowly stood up and asked for the microphone)
" I’m afraid uncleji, that you are wrong. Let me give you a perfect example of what a pain in the you know where these D**** can be (Note from Neil - Is it just me that finds what is being said at this meeting errrr imaginative?). I am a salesperson for one of India's largest car manufacturers and just a few days back a young gentleman came in to book a car for himself. I thought I would give him the customary schemes and with that I would have the booking completed and another easy sale in the bag. However the customer refused to sign saying he wanted more. He insisted that he wanted free mudflaps, carpets, sunfilm and a car cover. It appeared that he had done a bit of research before coming and I had to go and get the necessary approval from my manager."
"Even after getting this the customer refused to sign and said that he wanted even more stuff. By now I was beginning to sweat profusely. He was walking around the showroom nonchalantly and saying he wanted this accessory & that freebie. By now I realised he had done his homework thoroughly & was making me work for my deal. Meanwhile my manager appeared and was watching the customer literarily wring my neck as he extorted (Note from Neil - funny how the customer has started extorting businessmen these days!) more and more accessories from me. Finally I had to almost plead with him to stop & eventually he relented and signed the papers. I was never happier to have a customer finalise his order and walk out the showroom.
(A gloomy silence descended the group until a smartly dressed man in his mid 30's stood up and said)
If only we could go back in time and shoot those blasted men and women who made the internet! Nowadays you have information on anything and everything on the net, from user reviews to contact details to prices. How are we expected to get away with our arbitrary pricing policies? Earlier if our kids wanted the latest technological device all we had to do was overcharge the next few customers and that was it. One new iphone ready & paid for. Nowadays I cant even overcharge my customers enough to get my mobile phone recharged!
(And so one by one participants stood up and narrated their sad stories until they started dispersing slowly and steadily).
Note from Neil - The next time you are tightening the screws on a sales guy and making him sweat (both literarily and figuratively) cut him some slack, he probably has gone through a few customers like you already. And how did I get all this insider information? I too am in sales and was a sad participant at the meeting you see .....