Saturday, November 21, 2009

ISIS (Finishing School) Morning Walk Sessions - Sales and Marketing

SellingYourself (Products/Services) a Leaf out of Gnana’s life ……One afternoon Gopakumar woke me up from my afternoon siesta… “HI Gnana, I missed the bus and I need to go to Command Hospital to say Happy Birthday to my Friend and I need to reach before 5 PM else she would be gone for duty, the only way is for you to drop me there in your scooter”.

Reluctantly I agreed not knowing that it will change my life for ever and ensured that I am in safe hands. Whatever I am today it would not have happened without my efforts,dedicated support from Suguna and her sacrifice not forgetting my little one who missed me all along.

When we reached there he met his friend and wished her Happy Birth Day, during the chat some girl in a white Saree caught my eye and asked Gopa’s friend “ Who is that girl, can you introduce her to me”.
“OH, that one Suguna, she hates guys for what reason I do not know, but no way just avoid her”
That triggered my curiosity to get closer and know her and decided that I will not give up unless I understand what is all about.
I was living about 20 KM away from where she was staying and that posed a challenge. The only way to reach my goal is to find more people around her and hence I became a delivery boy for Gopakumar and others who frequent Hospital. I always requested the station doctor to refer me to command hospital for treatment. Months passed but nothing happened and I could not get near to Suguna even to greet her. Finally on an August 7th, the first meeting happened. I went to Command Hospital to meet Dayalsa, another colleague of Suguna. I caught her in the mess and she was in a hurry to go for duty, but when she was rushing, Suguna walked in and Dayalsa found an opportunity and told Suguna, “Oh he has come from far I am not able to give him a tea also, could you please talk to him give some water and tea for my sake”.
Without knowing Suguna agreed and got me a tea and sweet. I asked her what for sweet, 7th August happens to be her birth day and she had some sweets with her. That half an hour with her was completely used to collect information on her interests, which temple she goes with whom and almost everything, that is required to follow her.
My fuel station shifted 21 KM to a one near her place and on specific times to cross the road near the “Gangamma Temple” which she visits every Friday around 5PM. Every visit to the city always used to be taken by a long route which goes via Command Hostpital. I think I was lucky on most occasions and I used to cross Suguna on her walks and say “HI” and in return a small smile. This happened for a month or two and then one day I found her going to a guitar class and told her that I too was learning Guitar and offered to give my guitar notes. Next day promptly I went and gave her the notes and then slowly the conversations started. My efforts to get her to talk always failed and every time I come back to my room with a decision that I will never talk to her again or go back to her area fooling myself to repeat the same again and again. Finally after an untiring and many failures I got her out for a dinner and then the association got established never to break again. Now, we are happily married with a lovely girl and a son to take care of.
The story of selling myself to Suguna first, her family next and then convincing my parents to accept a love marriage was something which was achieved with perseverance, patience and a lot of hard work.

The same applies to Sales people also.

6 Year ago, when I first started BBSSL, a friend of mine, Logu, who worked for a large software company, suggested I speak with a common friend, who is in need of some consultants to tide over a immediate requirement.
So I called Murty and requested for an appointment. Murty was not ready for an appointment and said that we can talk whatever I wanted to tell on phone .But I knew the phone wouldn't make it and asked him for a luncheon. I suggested for a drink after work? Or maybe just fifteen minutes in person somewhere? “Gnana you will travel to Mumbai from Bangalore for this, why to spend on travel and time’ tell me what you want; I will help you as you are a good friend of Logu”. However I insisted that I meet him in person and d finally he agreed to a short lunch next week. However, he canceled it afterwards. I managed to get it rescheduled. He canceled the appointment several times. It was very clear for me that he didn't want to meet with me. I had decided to give up.
At this point I started to think of my efforts and patience that got me Suguna and I realized if I could avoid reacting to my feelings of frustration or hurt. The cost of rescheduling the meeting was a few rupees and a two minute phone call to Murty and the benefits were potentially huge. So I had taken a call I will continue to accept all the rescheduling of Murty until, one day, after many weeks, Murty finally didn’t cancel it and we had lunch. The lunch was short but I was well prepared for an elevator pitch, but long enough for me to ask him to let me do small presentation to his team. A couple of weeks after, he left me a short message explaining that the requirement of resources was not there anymore as his team managed to find a solution but he would remember me next time such a requirement arises.
I felt insulted and hurt. After all the effort and work I put in, all I got in return was a one-liner in an email? Again, I could have walked away from him.
But instead I called him again and asked for another meeting to understand where I went wrong. He as I knew declined, but put me to another colleague in another department who might have a need for my services.
The cycle of scheduling and rescheduling took place all over again just like with Murty. I was mentally prepared to reschedule endlessly and one day I started to enjoy the process of trying to get in, the challenge of making the sale. It became a game to me and my goal was to keep doing until, at some day, I will say the right thing to the right person and get my point to the other party. . to be sincere was having fun. Every single failure to get an appointment was a learning. I had to find a way to continue the conversation going.
If you seriously look at your daily chores many things hinge on repetition and we become good at these things unconsciously. The problem with many of us is that, if we fail once or twice we give up too soon, or treat the same as a boring activity. This is the general pattern unless one has a taste for the activity, it is interesting, is rewarding. Under certain circumstance we enjoy doing some things regularly for no reason because we enjoy it . When I start analyzing my successes that I had achieved over the period of last 30 years plus in various capacities, what I realize is that I have achieved is because I wanted to achieve what wanted to achieve else felt it as an insult to fail, I believed that I can achieve it, even at times I have achieved things when I had no skills or resources but managed the same through friends, and on most of the times I was thoroughly enjoying the challenge and the thrust to achieve the same. However at all times whenever I was to give up I knew I am not up to the standard or did not qualify for taking the task.

At all times I learned to become an expert from a very poor, average or a below average person.

Take away for the day
“If you want to reach the peak of your career and become an entrepreneur, you need to spend your time being a poor one , accept many failures learn to enjoy being poor one till you become a good one. This attitude is the one that is going to make you a great one”.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Banking Fundementals-Nostro and Vostro Accounts

When Money transfer is to be done beteen countries in different currencies Nostro and Vostro Accounts are used.

When Bank ‘A’ opens an account with Bank ‘B’ (which is located in another country), that account is called (from A’s point of view) a NOSTRO account. The same account will be called a VOSTRO account (from B’s point of view). The account will be generally in B Bank's country currency.

Example Nostro Transaction:

Exporter Mohan sells his goods to an importer Robert in Bermuda. Mohan banks with ICICI bank in India and Robert Banks with Bank Of Bermuda which has no operations in India.

Bermudian Dollar is not traded in India and hence the importer needs to pay for the goods imported through a common currency which is generally US Dollar or Euro. Assuming Mohan has preferred his payments throgh US Dollar and has asked Robert to pay through US Dollar.

Since Bank Of Bermuda has no operations in India, The bank will find a common bank which has operations in India or has established relationship with an Indian bank. In the current context Bank Of Bermuda will look for some bank which has a relationship with ICICI Bank of India to make the transaction simple.

Assuming that ICICI Bank has relationship with CITI Bank, New York which has operations in many countries. Bank Of Bermdua will establish a relationship with CITI Bank , New York and open US Dollar Account. As the need has forced Bank Of Bermuda to open an account with CITI NY, ICICI Bank also has opened a USD account with CITI NY.

These accounts are called NOSTRO Accounts of Bank Of Bermuda and ICICI Bank with CITI NY.

In the above export /import transaction between Mohan and Robert where Robert to pay USD 500,000 to Mohan the following will happen.

At Bank Of Bermuda

Debit Roberts USD account 500,000
Credit CITI NY Account USD 500,000 with an Instruction to pay this to ICICI Bank Account with CITI NY.


Debit Bank Of Bermuda's (Nostro)Account USD 500,000
Credit ICICI (Nostro) Account USD 500,000 with an instruction to pay Mohan in India

At ICICI India

Debit CITI NY Account USD 500,000
Credit Mohans Account INR (500,000X47), 47 being the exchange rate between USD and INR

Example Vostro Account:

If in the above example, if Robert Exports and Mohan Imports, Robert should be getting the money. CITI will maintain an account with Bank Of Bermuda if it does not have operations in Bermuda. This account of CITI to pay inside Bermuda is called the Vostro Account.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Banking Fundamentals-Trade Finance

Forward Contract

The exchange rate between two currencies is subject to change accordingly to the market conditions. Such movement in rate can prove disastrous. To ensure against such eventuality, corporate bodies resort to taking cover of their exposures in various currencies. They enter into contracts with Banks, undertaking to delivery / take delivery of certain quantum of foreign exchange at a pre-determined future date/period, at a certain rate. These contracts are referred to as Forward Contracts. Because of very nature of the transaction (uncertainty), the contracts are subject to amendment. These amendments make take the form of ‘extension’ or ‘cancellation’. Normally the contracts are closed by ‘delivery’.

Banks provide this as a service to its customers who deal with foreign currencies and the bank generally charges a service charge for each event while issuing a Forward Contract for forms part of the service charge income to the bank