From a humble beginning in New Zealand eight years ago flipping burgers, Dharmesh Parekh, 36, is now sales manager for computer component supplier Zcom. He has a diploma in computing and is now studying at Unitec, working towards a degree in computer science.
Parekh, who worked as a civil engineer in India, enjoys the excitement of his current profession.
"The thrill of victory and satisfaction for completion of allocated tasks and responsibilities is my first priority," he says. "And of course money is not everything, but it is something so it does kind of motivate you as well."
His message to newbies is simple: Do your homework.
"Research your product, market and your prospect’s actual requirements by asking relevant questions," he says.
But being nice counts, too, as a general rule.
"Be pleasant to whoever comes through your sales process," he says. "I mean, from security guard to MD. They all are your allies."
What’s your experience of cold calling?
I was hunting for new customers from all possible angles and while making random calls got a hit by asking for a 40 percent quote from an unknown without knowing the company or its history. The worst was while calling a company to reach a decision maker. I was just thrown from one extension to another for ages and at last they hung up. Cold calling is not to make a sale but to create an opportunity to prepare a pitch for a sale. Make calls in the morning because there are more chances to reach a decision maker.
How important is personality in sales?
Personality plays a huge role in success whether it is business or personal life. To be successful you need to be optimistic, persistent, passionate and focused and all this comes from your personality.
Most sales people have some experience of other jobs, what’s yours?
As a civil engineer in India, my duties were to supervise construction given by the architecture and structural designers. I learned the skills of how to relate with labour, but also with prospective clients. I can relate to a variety of people because of that, and that skill has helped me to have a successful sales career. I’m looking forward to getting my degree in computing and to keep heading for sales long term and to understand all aspects of the IT industry.
How do you develop and execute your sales pitch?
It is a human game. Ask relevant questions to the right person and you will find the right pitch for a sale. I used to always try not to be seen as too pushy to make a follow up call but now I make it in a positive way and I think to myself if I don’t make that call the prospect will assume I don’t want their business and I consider that prospect is waiting for my call.
Do you consider yourself a persuasive person?
No, I believe in KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid. Sometimes I become over occupied and lose my focus but then I apply the above rule of KISS and get back into normal mode quickly by dividing big tasks into smaller ones.
How do you balance training with leads generation?
Product knowledge boosts my enthusiasm about products and clears any doubts about products which in turn grows my confidence. Once I know my product well I become more confident to understand the prospect’s requirement.
Would you encourage your offspring to go into sales?
Yes, I would encourage any person who wants to achieve professional satisfaction and recognise their importance in the world of economy as well as in individual lives.
What’s the best line of jargon you’ve invented?
Even Spiderman has to take risks; I am just a salesman.
Has anyone ever made you feel intimidated?
How would you get over forgetting some vital information during a meeting?
Keep calm and be confident. Effective meetings do not happen automatically. Even if some vital information is forgotten then I keep myself balanced and sum up from past experience and I don’t make excuses for any inadequacies.