Bechoge toh bikega na (It can only sell if you sell it)!

Chapter 11, page 112 - "Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand". 

You just have to read the book once and Atticus Finch will always remind you of your Dad. You go to classes, attend workshops, work your way through decades of training/education and yet the things that define your outlook of the world are simple things that someone said or did. 

One such incident was when I was going through a phase of struggle after completing my Engineering degree. After looking at an advertisement "classifieds" section of The Times of India, I found myself applying to work for a company selling imported educational books and toys. We all know the "importance of imported things" in India (did you notice that they have the same starting letters as "imperialism"??). In the interview I was told - "You have a natural flair to sell". Next day, full of confidence, wearing a borrowed shirt and tie from Dad, I thundered off the on my second hand Bajaj Chetak scooter. Mom was as-usual worried about the hot day. She tried her best to force me to have a proper breakfast. I had no time for such things and was almost angry at her for delaying me in my mission (a typical Indian middle class drill). As I navigated my way to MG Road, my mind was full of optimism.

"I will show this world how sales are supposed to be done"
"The chaps in the company didn't look too bright. I should rise to the top pretty quickly, given the right opportunities" etc. etc.

A few hours later, I stood under a tree shade to have my first cutting chai (tea sold roadside shops in India). The tie was now loosened and shirt sleeves folded but spirits were still high. I didn't sell anything that day. A day later at a different tapri the situation hadn't changed. But this time the hot afternoon sun had started to melt some of my spirit (and yes a proper breakfast would have helped). As I downed a bread pakoda with the help of a Chai and Navy Cut, I started to wonder:

"Four years of technical education and here I am selling fancy books to suspicious housewives". 

Of course in my mind I didn't lose any battle or anything. I was just being reasonable. I along with some other "entry level" interns decided to take an extended break (not like we were all doing anything meaningful anyway). From "which area are you covering?" the chat slowly moved to "is this even the best way to sell these books?". As time passed by other dust-bitten job seekers/doers also occasionally participated in our discussion. Among others there was this middle aged guy who stopped by for a few minutes. He seemed to be a regular at the shop. The shop owner had kept his "special" (extra milk) chai ready for him. He didn't say much but as he rode off on his bike he just said one thing: 

"Bechoge toh bikega na. Yahan baithke sochne se bikega kya?"

"It will sell if you sell it. Will it sell by sitting here and thinking about it?"

At that time it didn't sit too well with us and maybe that's the reason I remember it even today. Much to my displeasure, it has since become clear to me that the rude man was right. Most things fail because of not doing rather than doing it incorrectly. Fear of failure or just procrastination are indeed the predominant reasons why things don't get done. It fits extremely well in the world of sales. Numbers are the key.  The bottom line theory is very simple but not easy. One needs to act enough number of times to succeed and there is hardly anything in this world that awards action more than the world of sales. Of course we are all sales people when it comes to selling our own personal brand to the world. 


Suggested reading: Action or inaction - both have substantial effect on people's perception about us. 

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