TechSparks 2019: Manthan's Amit Agarwal breaks down his golden rules for sales
Is sales a profession or a life skill? How many sales owners are there in the world? Is there a hassle-free way for a sales owner to become a trusted adviser? How can you become a great storyteller and move people?
These were the questions Amit Agarwal, Senior Vice-President and Head-Asia of Manthan, threw at his audience as he kickstarted an engaging and insightful workshop on Saturday, at TechSparks 2019, YourStory’s flagship event.
Amit started with ‘What is sales, and who is a sales owner?’
Titled ‘Sales Sutra: 3 Definitive Principles to Become a Trusted Advisor and Create Predictable Sales’, his workshop served up three simple yet effective strategies for every sales owner — in his words, sutras.
“In this world, everyone is selling something in some way, whether it is an employee asking for a raise or a mother cajoling her son,” said Amit, explaining that this made everyone a sales owner. That would make for precisely 7.7 billion sales owners in the world, he pointed out.
With everyone becoming a sales owner in one way or the other, there would undoubtedly be certain possibilities as well as challenges. For instance, how does a startup or a high growth company successfully deliver a pitch that wins over clients while steering clear of competition? Or, how does an individual become a great storyteller, moving his audience like no one else?
Though Amit’s book, The Ultimate Sales Accelerator, answers many of these questions, having the man himself break down his ‘sales sutras’ did hit home.
The author and salespreneur encapsulated his three sutras or golden rules as ‘the metaphor’, ‘the magic of one thing’, and ‘most-few-none’.
Metaphor, a sign of pure genius
This sutra, according to Amit, involves becoming a persuasion powerhouse using just two words. It’s common knowledge that, in sales, communication is key. It’s all about persuading people – and in the right way – while capturing their attention, appealing to their interest, and passing on the message in the best possible way they would understand it.
One way to do so, according to Amit, is by borrowing a tool from the literary world itself: metaphors.
For instance, if someone asks you, ‘Are you the Amitabh Bachchan of your craft’, it is most likely that the person is referencing your skills and talents in a particular field. A connection is established immediately and the communication is clear. This same strategy could be applied to the world of sales to convey pitches or business ideas, he said, and went to explain,
“It’s a three-step process. First take a situation, then choose the point of comparison, and then connect using ‘it’s like’ or ‘is like.”
Referencing the startup ecosystem, he quipped that selling in startups was like scoring centuries on bouncy and swinging pitches in England. “When we communicate like this, you will get the ethos right away,” he added, emphasising that the use of metaphors made it easier to communicate.
The magic of ‘one thing’ in sales
To explain this sutra, Amit used the Pareto principle, also known as the law of the vital few. According to this rule, nearly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. For instance, 20 percent of customers give 80 percent of revenue. Or 20 percent of batsmen score 80 percent of the runs.
This rule basically helps to identify those efforts or elements that are unnecessary. Amit shared his spin on this rule which, he said, involved asking the simple question: ‘What is the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?’
The salespreneur, who used several personal anecdotes to enthrall his audience, explained the sutra further by drawing attention to another version of this question (one that had helped him in his personal life as well, he said): ‘What is the one habit I can develop in 2018 such that by developing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?’
Not only did Amit find an answer to this question but he had also used the answer to change many aspects of his life. For instance, he now wakes up at five in the morning to devote the extra time to meditation and fitness. This same rule can be applied to sales, he added.
‘What is the one thing I can achieve in this client meeting that…’ or ‘If I have to present only one slide to the client, which slide will I present.’ These were some of the questions he urged his audience to ask to make a winning sales pitch.
Last, but not the least, Amit shared the rule of ‘Most–Few–None’.
In order to grow, one needs to master skills or talents that either very few people or none know. The same applied to sales as well, he said. His words clearly defined the areas sales owners should focus on: the ‘few’ and ‘none’. As quirky as it sounds, the idea at the heart of this sutra is pretty simple — novelty.
A storyteller, a salespreneur, and a master in the various practices of sales, Amit concluded the 75-minutes-long workshop with a quick loop back to his original question: ‘What is sales?’
Contrary to popular opinion, sales, Amit concluded, was all about service.
“Sales comprises four key elements — it drives livelihood, creates joy, creates customer value, and economic growth,” he said, adding, “If we combine all these elements, together they represent a salespreneur.”
(Edited by Athirupa Geetha Manichandar)
YourStory's annual extravaganza TechSparks brings together the best and the brightest from the startup ecosystem, corporate world, policymakers and, of course, the investor community. Over the past decade, TechSparks has grown to become India's most loved tech and startup platform for knowledge sharing and networking. A big thank you for all your support over the years and a big shoutout to our sponsors.