Opium of the India people

Karl Marx had famously said that “Religion is the opium of the people”- he was of course referring to his communist utopia when he said these words.

Cut to 2012 and to Indian democracy- from 1947, since we ousted the British from the country and became a democracy, till date, the opium of the Indian population has become “hope”.

One look at the way our politicians have taken politicking and sloganeering to an art form in the face of things that are so grossly wrong in our “MATURE” Democracy that it makes me wonder, why is it that my friends in the US dont see the ugliness of our so called democracy?

Do my learned friends in the west only see the superficial aspects of our democracy, the free elections, an apparently great constitution ( a document that is a glorified piece of our democratic ideals, not understood by the vast majority of our illiterate population, left to be interpreted by the politicians , and fed by these seedy political class to our illiterate masses, who are their vote banks, and a document which is so lose in its interpretation, that the politicians mis-use it to their own advantage at the slightest opportunity!) as the mark of a GREAT DEMOCRACY!!!

One needs to live here for just a few months, go beyond the superficial, watch the joke that is our parliament and its Parliamentary “Decorum” to comprehend the depths of our politicians ans their crassness and you will come back a severely disappointed man.

Very often when subjected to the wrath of the people, on issues that matter to the majority in India, our “LEADERS” in India, either cut a sorry figure and lament the vastness of our “GREAT” country as an excuse for non performance, cite the inaction by the  bureaucracy and the leviathan army of corrupt clerks and administration for not being able to deliver to its people- clearly alluding, that since they are “LEADERS” (very often geriatric, and virtually looking at their coffins), they are not expected to deliver, but people under them need to, and if these very bureaucrats and their incompetent teams dont deliver, its not their fault- THEY ARE NOT ACCOUNTABLE. 

There ends the dream of the protesting masses! and this is the sad reality of our GREAT democracy.

Another pipe dream which is often fed to the protesting masses in India is that of hope- words like, keep calm, we are doing our best (Read- we are pathetic, we are slow witted, we have an incompetent team of advisors and bureaucrats who dont deliver, its not my fault, the buck does not stop with me, but at some one elses table….), we will set up a judicial commission (Reality- judicial systems and the judiciary has been perverted to such levels since independence that one can be forgiven for thinking that we Indians live in a glorified banana republic , with judicial process taking a lifetime !…and these Judges are often political aspirants or worse, corrupt, who are willing to toe the political line of their politicians and work so slowly that the essence of the delivery will be lost in piles of paperwork and years of lethargic progress!!), we will have a parliamentary committee ( Committee comprising useless , sleazy, unshaven politicians, who clearly have no real work, and this provides them an opportunity to pay to themselves allowances from the exchequer for doing nothing).

Over all these years I have been witness to many an issue that erupted in anger in the streets of modern India, the fledgling movement, only to be cleverly doused by our politicians who have successfully used the strategy to provide hope, some hope, any glimmer of hope to their restive masses, (in marketing parlance, the 1.5% of the early adopters in the Rogers curve), and thus ensuring that the early majority never gain traction , which would eventually lead to a mass protest movement, a civil dis-obedience movement not seen since the time of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, or worse, a bloody revolution that will kick them off their pedestals and ensure their demise as a de-facto , demographic class, unique only to India!

Too often have those who took cudgels on behalf of the beaten and bruised, the abused and the raped in India, across the demographic divide, been misled off their path, been led to falsely believe that justice is “around the corner”, a judicial probe will be their panacea to eliminate all that ails our country and its real greatness- the early revolutionaries have been failing to lead an actual revolution, because they have time and again, clutched at hope offered by our politicians as a straw of sustenance, hoping against hope that at least this one politician will deliver on his promise.

This desperate clutching on to the unreal hope offered by our politicians is our opium ..it is not religion.

Audacity of hope!

The title of this blog is inspired by the work penned by President Obama and rightly so.

The reality of Indian “democracy” has been perversely unraveled by the events of the last week. (Please note that I refer to our democracy in quotes )

It started with the ghastly rape of a 23 year old student along with a horrific assault on her friend in a public bus that was impudently plying the dark streets of the national capital, Delhi, while the protectors of the law were largely blissfully unaware of this crime being perpetrated right under their nose. (Please note that I said, largely, because eventually it was some alert police officers who offered first aid to the victims and got her admitted to the hospital)

As the fourth estate brought the ghastly crime into the public domain, the pathetic plight of the victim was immediately (and crassly) used by all politicians, to earn brownie points at the expense of their political rivals, and their ranting in the hallowed parliament (the Indian temple of “democracy”) smacked of opportunism. The crocodile tears shed in the name of justice for the poor victim, their shrill voices raised for “maximum punishment” for the perpetrators were nothing more than hypocritical; any intelligent person would have seen through this travesty that was played in the floor of the parliament, as did I.

In the morning I got to hear on all major channels that the President of the ruling party shed crocodile tears for the poor victim after visiting her in the hospital- photo ops and nothing more.

The reality of our polity and the class of leaders that lead our nation was exposed when a spontaneous crowd of youth started gathering near the seat of power in India, Vijay Chowk, leading to Raisina Hill, which house the Government and the Presidents residence (the rashtrapati bhawan); and this crowd was immediately confronted by a strong posse of para military personnel, a strong contingent of the Delhi Police. This force, that is meant to serve the people , the youth who had gathered for a peaceful demonstration, went about their real task- which is protection of their  POLITICAL masters, the real masters (and not leaders) of India.

As the violence against the youth gathered momentum, the anger that has been simmering underneath for what seems like a millennium, erupted like nothing seen before.

One would have expected that the youth Icon of the party in power, Rahul Gandhi would have taken this opportunity to reach out to his constituency, the youth gathered on Raisina hill, and been among them to calm their anger and assure them that he would see that real changes take place FINALLY after 60 years of independence….but he was no where to be seen…at that time at 2 PM, Rahul Gandhi was apparently oblivious to the violence taking place very close to where he was entertaining his guests at the Sagar Ratna, at the Ashok hotel!!

After having a hearty meal and laughing and joking, as if nothing of consequence was happening in the vicinity, he walked out of the restaurant, all smiles! This is the youth icon of our country.

The youth icon of today’s angry India resides firmly on Vijay Chowk, on Raisina Hill, in the laws of India gate, protesting the apathetic, non nonchalant attitude of our politicians (many of whom have rape charges pending against them, and the “GREATNESS” of our democracy is , that they sit in our temple of democracy, because they are deemed innocent , till proven guilty by our perverted justice system, that takes upto a lifetime to decide rape and murder cases, and this system has been perverted impudently by our “PEOPLE” politicians and their servants, the bureaucrats and the police)

It is time for the youth in India to awaken and lead a real revolution, and let than revolution be bloody if thats what it takes for us to reconstruct our nation and make it truly great, capable of taking its rightful place in the league of nations.

7 Ways to Make Cold Calling Easy

Hi guys,

As a follow up to my earlier post ” 7 steps to a perfect cold call”, I thought it prudent to share this bit of wisdom with sales reps and sales pros.

7 ways to make cold calling easy is to help ease the jitters of early life sales reps and those who want to quickly earn their pips as sales stars in their teams.

Here are 7 steps that you can take — to turn cold calling from a dreary hassle into an engine of sales success:

  1. Get a better list.  Tell your marketing group to winnow out your list of leads to those who are most likely to buy.  If they won’t do it, do it yourself.
  2. Get some referrals.  The absolute best lists of suspects are ALWAYS referrals from existing customers, because they’ve already vouched for you.
  3. Get some feedback.  If you’re not sure what you’re doing wrong, get a colleague or your sales manager to listen in on a few calls. They will be able to hear, better than you, what you’re doing wrong.
  4. Improve your attitude.  Your sales effectiveness is dependent upon whether you sound like somebody who can add value.
  5. Don’t call on Mondays.  Mondays are awful days to cold call because suspects are catching up on what happened over the weekend.  Find the time of the week that works best for you and your leads.
  6. Experiment with scripts.  Different approaches will get different results, so don’t be afraid to play around a bit.  Do a mental debriefing after each call to decide what you could do better next call.
  7. Track your close rate.  It seems obvious but unless you’re measuring your performance, you won’t know whether cold calling is getting easier.   Keep a record of what works best for you.

7 Strategies to Build “Negotiating Power”

Hi readers,

Over the last 18 years I have successfully negotiated with a plethora of customers and clients, across verticals and domains, across B2C and B2B businesses, with bosses, with team members, with suppliers and unions and realized that a strategic approach to the business of negotiation serves you best if you wish to “close” the sales engagement.

When negotiating the final terms of any deal, complex or not, many sales pros find themselves in situations where the clients apparently hold all the cards! Now that is not a happy situation to be in at that critical juncture of the sales closure process…

Since you have invested so much to reach this position, chances are that you will have a lot more to lose than your client, if you wish to walk away…and worse….the client knows that…

This is a recipe for a WIN -LOSE outcome , with you on the losing side.

In order to counter this, you may be better served to create a “counter balance”  by developing your “negotiating power” throughout the sales cycle – some strategic initiatives may help you in developing your negotiating power

  • Strategy #1: Eliminate or thwart competitive threats.
    Convince the customer that your product or service is the only one that can adequately fulfill the customer’s needs.
  • Strategy #2. Develop at least three contacts inside the customer firm. Provide perspective to your solution-building process and information about the motivations and politics inside the customer’s firm.
  • Strategy #3. Show the customer your ability to see beyond the obvious.
    The customer can’t know everything about the firm, much less the market, so being an “outsider” gives you the ability to see situations more objectively.
  • Strategy #4. Create the legitimacy that comes from consistency.
    Remain aware of the strengths and limitations of your offerings, adhere to your firm’s policies and procedures, and be willing to explain why they make sense.
  • Strategy #5. Position all interactions in terms of mutual success.
    A productive relationship is based upon mutual respect and understanding, and a sense of working together to achieve mutual goals.
  • Strategy #6.  Generate a solution that matches the customer’s needs.
    Your value to the customer skyrockets when you help the customer to crystallize needs and visualize the right solution.
  • Strategy #7: Differentiate yourself from other sales reps.
    Communicate clearly how you, as an individual, are a unique resource to the customer and use your own unique personality to your advantage.