The 10 best questions to warm up a cold prospect

Hi readers,

Apologies for the sabbatical from my blogs…been busy on-boarding in my new avatar as Vice President Business Development of a great technology startup that will disrupt the social media space in the remote , rural , under-served, economically deprived, Bottom of the Pyramid Markets. The company I speak of is called GramVaani media (

All this while I have addressed a distinguished gathering at the Rockefeller foundation‘s , Rock Talk event, and participated at the RMAI round table.

During all this, I have had the opportunity to engage with a group of very bright, young women who are raring to have a go at key account management and sales with a great new  platform that is poised to disrupt the wedding services space in India.

They posed a very good question to me- what would be set of some basic key questions that could warm up a cold prospect in the first meeting, agnostic to the vertical or the profile of the prospect (client). And I started to think on this and came up with this list that I believe would serve many who have the same question bothering them.

here goes…

  1. What can you tell me about your organization… and yourself?
  2. What do you like about what you’re currently doing?
  3. What don’t you like about your current situation?
  4. What would you like to be enhanced or improved?
  5. Have you spoken to other solution providers to address your current specific challenge?
  6. What can you tell me about your priorities and your options?
  7. What obstacles are there in the way of this initiative moving forward?
  8. What will be your criterion of evaluating different options if at all?
  9. How much have your budgeted for this proposal/project?
  10. When do you wish to start?

Try these questions with a cold prospect and write back to me with your inputs and comments…

more than happy to ideate with you !

Happy reading

Three Ways to Get Favorable Shelf Space

Hi readers,

This blog is for those of us who have been engaged in retail management roles during our careers.

Its a dog eat dog world out there in modern retail. You are up against competitors who are vying for the best shelf space at the retailers end.

There are a thousand brands in your category and its a real fight out there!

So what do you do to get your product and brand out there at the best “sweet spots” , where the chances of your customer to get to see your brand, and then decide to pick your brand over your competitors, are high.

Well takes a bit more than schmoozing with the floor manager and the shop manager to get your brand right where you want it…it does take a fair amount of solution selling skills, and here’s how you could win.

METHOD #1: Show the manager how to get more profit.  Inside retail stores, location is all about profit.  The store manager has a finite amount of space and wants to be certain that each part of the store produces as much profit as possible.  So when you talk to the store manager, you want to talk in language that he or she can understand, like “My experience with other outlets tells me that you’ll make more profit if you place the rack over here.”

METHOD #2: Help the manager rearrange the shelf or counter.  Offer to help the manager rearrange the counter so that the most profitable items (yours and others) are located for maximum profit.  To do this, you look at what’s there and come up with a schematic showing where everything should be located.  I’m not sure that you, personally, have the experience to do this, but I’m including it because there are probably readers who do have that expertise.

METHOD #3: Use promotions to gain favorable treatment.  In your case, the coffee table book represents advertising for the greeting cards.  Explain to the manager that when the coffee table book is published, the publisher will be promoting it, which will raise the recognition factor for your greeting cards.  Therefore, to get maximum profit, the manager should give your greeting cards favorable shelf-space.  Also, use your web site to direct potential customers to specific retailers — another reason for them to prominently display.

3 simple steps, and you are well on your way to achieve you quotas and impress your boss!!!