The Moments that Make or Break a Brand

“Every brand is built on the feelings and experiences it delivers to customers in the blink of an eye”

– Bernadette Jiwa, Author, Make Your Idea Matter

The festive season is normally one where you tend to indulge. Indulgence towards yourself and others. A surprise gift could be one such indulgence.

You visit a store. You go through multiple items on display at the store. You factor in colour, size, design. You keep your budget in mind.

This takes time – depending on your abilities and good luck – anywhere between a few minutes to hours, at times.

All this while you have your recipient in mind. Will he like your gift ? Will he be happy that you thought about him ? Will it help strengthen the bond that exists ?

All these thoughts flash through your mind in seconds.

You like a particular product, it’s design, colour. You make a decision.

After you have gone through the short listing and decision making, the store assistant walks up and asks if he could help in any way. Wonder where he was all this while you were pondering over the possibilities and trying to arrive at a decision !

Eh…you have this doubt…silly, but then you ask – ‘This person I want to gift to stays in another town. If he doesn’t like it, can he exchange it with another product at the store near him ?’

You take this as a given, expecting to get a confirmation for the same from the assistant.

‘Sorry Sir, but the item needs to be exchanged from the store it was bought at.’

Oh No !! There goes everything. What if your recipient actually doesn’t like it?

In a few seconds, you have changed your decision.

All because you feel that a low probability challenge may create a bad experience for the person whom you want to gift to, as well as to yourself.

For any brand, these are make or break moments. How can brands avoid such moments ? How can brands endear themselves to customers ? Can brands create better customer experiences ?

Some ways in which brands can create better engagement and stickiness with customers could be –

  • Spending timethis could be in person at the store, online through social media, offsite activations or in some other ways. Work towards simplifying customer experiences. No customer wants complexity or ambiguity. In short, listen more.
  • Leverage Data– while most retailers generate reams of data, not many leverage the same. Use the same to try and understand ‘who’ the customer is and why he comes to you and maybe not shop at another store.
  • Empower and develop engaged employees– singularly this can be the most important and easy way to help build customer engagement. Even the best of technologies can fail if the employees are not engaged and empowered to take decisions in support of customer satisfaction.

Experiences and long term associations can be made or broken in a moment.

Learn to focus on the moments that the customer is in ‘touch’ with you.

It will be great to understand your views on Engaging Better with Customers from a long term perspective.

Feel free to write to me at and I will be happy to engage with you on the same.

You can also connect with me on Twitter @sanjeevleader and on LinkedIn at 


Selling with ‘The Right Words’

How often do we lose out – in sales, marketing efforts, employee retention – when we don’t use the right words. While our intentions may be noble, unless we state the same using the ‘right words’ there is a high probability that the other person may not understand it in its true sense.

Selling involves a lot of information sharing, with the hope that the seller is able to convey correctly the features of the offering that one is presenting to help resolve the areas of concern for a potential buyer. Here, post understanding of the customer’s needs, it becomes critical to help the customer understand it’s true relevance in a language that is fully understood. Hence, using the ‘right words’ matters a lot in selling.

Read this simple and beautiful post from Bernadette Jiwa from her blog on ‘The Story of Telling’ on why ‘The Right Words’ matter every time.

The Right Words | The Story of Telling

Selling Easy vs Selling Right

Selling is easy – one needs to ensure that you are able to articulate eloquently the benefits of your product to a potential customer and ensure quick closure – right ? Well, yes and no.

More often than not, as sales persons, we are a harried lot. The demands on us are tremendous – for time, which is ours and for money or revenues, which we have to generate and which is the basic reason we exist as salesmen. Compounded to this maybe all the other pressures which we have, which may be justified and which we as social beings have to attend to.  Prioritisation maybe a solution to the above challenges, but then we can keep that as the subject of another post.

As a salesperson, we have multiple goals with one of the critical ones being that of closing the sale. Once the closure is done, revenues should flow in. End of task.

In his efforts to fit everything into his busy schedule and ensure that the sale is made, the salesman will go through the process of generating the sales but as a mere formality. It’s in our nature to conserve and take the shortest route to reach a particular goal. He may cut corners in the process – not focusing on the customer, her problems and the solutions that she, as a customer is seeking, not focus on the value that may accrue to the customer and the organisation he serves by not arriving at the right price for the transaction or simply not be too bothered about the entire customer decision journey. As salespeople, we are impatient for results – we want a win at all costs in the shortest time possible. Failure is something we are averse to and don’t want to encounter.

Results which come in this way are invariably through the easy route. Something which may help us achieve our short term results but may not be sustainable and repeatable. Such results are always at a risk in the long term.

Selling right‘ is therefore, extremely critical. It needs time, patience and sustained efforts. A salesman needs to question himself, on the following aspects, to constantly understand whether he is selling right –

  • What is it that the customer wants ? Say a customer comes in to buy a cycle. While the overt intention made by the customer is to purchase a cycle, it is critical for the salesman to understand the reasons for which the cycle will be put to use – leisure, fitness, racing, adventure or anything else. Basis the final use for which the customer wants a cycle, the salesman can recommend the right product to the potential customer. For the salesman, this therefore means that he needs to know his products very well, what each product stands for and the benefits that each can provide to the customer.

  • What is it that I want to do ? For an individual to be a successful salesman, it is critical that he understands his True North. He needs to have a passion for sales, be committed to driving himself to the highest standards that he expects from others, keeping honesty at the core of all the actions he takes. No doubt these are difficult standards to maintain, particularly in a profession like sales, but an individual who strives to attain the same will have a strong and loyal set of customers cum followers willing to accept anything that he sells – this in a way embodies the next two elements of a successful salesman.

  • Am I being respectful to the customer ?  A salesman, thanks to his training in a particular area as well as the time he spends on his job, is expectedly more knowledgeable than the potential customer. This knowledge should be viewed maturely, to assist and help understand the needs of the potential customer helping her to reach a decision. The effort at all times,is to enable a satisfying experience for the potential customer. The customer comes first and she should leave the point of sales feeling respected.

  • Am I willing to learn ? Potential customers are on a journey of exploration and this starts much before they actually encounter any salesmen. Hence, when a salesman walks up to a potential customer, he should be prepared to encounter an aware customer. Thanks to the internet, at times, the customer may be aware of certain aspects of the offering much better than the seller. The salesman needs to be respectful of new things which he may be made aware of by a knowledgeable customer. The salesman’s respect towards  the heightened awareness of the customer also leads to a very satisfying purchase experience for the customer.

What you believe as an individual will be crucial for you to succeed as a salesman. A genuine person at heart, who sincerely believes in helping others has a good chance of succeeding as a salesman. For him then, the right way is the easy way.

As an organisation or a sales leader, are you taking the right steps to ensure that your team members sell the right way ? 

It will be interesting to learn from you, as to how you are going about the process of helping your sales team to sell the right way and making it the easy way. In case you will like any form of help in creating, streamlining, scaling up and sustaining your distribution network, feel free to write to me at and I will be happy to connect with you to help out on the same. You can also connect with me on Twitter @sanjeevleader and on LinkedIn at 

The Making of a Sales Hero

“Sell”, as per a definition online is –

  • give or hand over (something) in exchange for money
  • persuade someone of the merits of

Now the very act of handing over something for money or persuading someone about the merits of a particular product or service, entails that the person or entity intending to undertake the activity has thought through and done the following –

  • Created an offering, be it a physical good or some form of service, basis a definite need for the same from someone (a potential buyer), with the intention of solving some problem of this potential buyer
  • Endowed the offering with some attributes which could be highlighted at the time of making a case for the same to the potential buyer

All very good till this point, but the key challenge is normally encountered after this, when the seller has to communicate his offering to the potential buyer. This communication can be done in a multitude of ways in today’s connected world. One of the ways in which it is still done, is the old fashioned way of direct communication, wherein a salesman engages in the presentetation of the offering to a potential buyer.

Most entities, post creation of their offering, expect the salesman to create magic for them on the simple premise that the offering in itself will speak for itself. Well, to an extent that does definitely matter, but the salesman is the actual hero who carries the offering to safety by ensuring that the same reaches the intended buyer.

To ensure that this happens the salesman needs to be fully equipped and the entity creating the offering needs to ensure that the salesman is indeed enabled to deliver the same.


As an organisation or a leader, are you ensuring that your sales personnel are being fully equipped and enabled to ensure that they come out successful in their daily operations ?

It will be interesting to learn from you, as to how you are going about the above process of enabling your sales team. In case you would like any form of help in enabling your sales team members, feel free to write to me on and I will be happy to connect with you to help out on the same. You can also connect with me on Twitter @sanjeevleader and on LinkedIn at