Today i would like to share something about my co-worker Liyakat Ali Balbale [ Maintainence Manager & A Skilled Carpenter & also an AC Technician ]
I have a habit of Downloading Movies from the net on a daily basis, so couple of days back I happen to tell my friends in the office where even Liyakat was present that my laptop is getting too hot due to excessive downloads .He heard it & made one beautiful & most of all a practical table which solved my problem, without even telling me ,he inserted a fan which sucked the hottness & releases in the air which you can see in the above image. He did this out of love & respect for me without expecting anything in return.
The point here ,I would like to bring out is ,this small gesture was a good deed from him to me.
If I told him,he would have made it anyways like i tell him to do some things & he do it. He did this on is own without me knowing it, this may not be a big deal for him but this gesture will stay in my mind for a lifetime ,whenever the topic of laptop will arise in the future wherever i am ,i will always remember him for that small gesture. From his point of view ,he did not do anything amazing ,he may not even remember this instance in future but i will remember it.
Customer Service Point: My point was how many of the salespeople are doing such a good deed to a customer so that the customer will remember you for a lifetime & he will comeback to do business with you every time he wants to buy something which you are selling. If you generate this kind of clients ,it will rocket your business like anything , you don’t have to spend a bomb for advertising as this customers will do mouth publicity & the power of mouth publicity is huge which you cant even imagine as to generate new clients you need advertising costs which will be saved.
Today I was talking to my very close friend Radha Krishan Kurup, he is married with a kid .he may be married guy but is a teenager at heart.
He was just telling me his schedule for the day ,like what he was doing & all ,he told me something that I could not help but had to go back in my old memories when I was in school, he was telling me about her daughters first day in school after 2 months summer vacation.
All over my country school reopens on the 13th June after 2 months of summer vacations.
On my first day as all my friends , I would be sad as the vacations were over, the fun was over ,and again the teachers torture was about to start it was the worst day of the student ,but after couple of days it was fun, as even going to school was fun.
I would like to remember the names involved in my school times like my teachers & mates.
My School. – Lokmanya Vidhya Mandir, Mahim ,Mumbai ,India.
I would like to remember my School teachers first as whatever i am due to them.
Please forgive me if I miss anyone’s name.
I can still feel the morning of my school time, like my mom use to wake me up at 6am, and with half eyes open I use to go in the bathroom for brushing my teeth and wash my face and have a glass of hot Boost with Milk, then use to get ready. I don’t remember how was i as a kid going to school, my mom use to say, i was nice and very quiet to go for school, never made any noise.
The obsession for chocolates and ice cream was awesome, how you use to be self-centered when it came to chocolates,i use to love chocolates very much and never liked anyone asking from me.
In school i became very naughty from std 5 when my friendship started with Pratik,Ranjith and Tarvinder ,we use to call him sardar. in our group we considered ourself senior than anyone else even with our seniors ,the reason is we were not individuals anymore we were a group,use to do everything together that is the reason everyone were scared of us, as a group we started smoking together very early in life when I was just 12 years old in my 6th std, now I really can’t believe that i started smoking as a 12 year old which continued in 2 years i was a chain smoker smoking 2 packets per day , but leave aside those vices i never took studies for granted i was always good in studies,i use to just study 1 month before exams and pass with good marks.
Now i don’t smoke and drink,its been 3 years i left everything, i never regret that i started the vices in such young age because now i see my friend wasting lots of time in smoking and drinking [ this is not for my friends in mumbai] and i utilize this time in self development like reading books and writing blogs ,and i have more energy to do jobs, I can continue working for 18 hrs without feeling fatigued, unless ofcoure i am doing something which i love.
When you were a kid everything was so new and fresh like the smell of wet sand during first day of rain, the smell of books, the smell of plastic schoolbag, the days when you use to get wet and sit on the school bench drying yourselves under the fan.
I wish those innocent school days should come back and i can relieve altogether.
Your innocent anger ,your jealousy you getting intimidated by school teachers all those days should come back.
I remember as i use to study only during the exams and use to copy from chits on which answers were written.
I was born in 1981, i still remember the little pleasures of life like waiting for a T.V serial like Mahabharat or Ramayan on a Sunday, Going to the cinema halls to watch movies which use to change every friday and with shows like matinee – 12am, 1st show – 3 to 6pm, 2nd show – 6 to 9pm, and night show 9 to 12 pm, these were the only show timings in all the theaters ,it was very easy to know which movie is getting screened in which theater,you just take any newspaper and see which movie is where and can plan your timing ,it was also fun standing in the long queues for the tickets, era of postman which is completely vanished now ,i still remember how we use to wait for the postman to bring letters from our village and use to ask him if there is any letter for us.era of trunkcalls where we use to go in the std booths for making budgeted calls to our village,
Contrast to those days now , its a complete domination of world wide web.
You get everything in there, you want to see tv serials you get to choose from innumerable sites or you can download it and watch it later, you need movies – there are lot of free sites available where you can download dvd clarity movies.
I miss those uniformed postman very much , emails have changed the way messages are sent, mobile phones are so cheap you can call anywhere anytime without thinking any budget.
The world wide web has made the world become smaller and closer place.
This new era has created unlimited demand with unlimited choice to customers.
Earlier there were huge no of customers buying single items ,number of transactions buying single or one items were huge like the movies in cinemas use to run for 25 to 100 weeks which we use to call silver or golden jubliee as compared to now where the average movie run only for 6 to 10 weeks. The economy was huge even then and it is huge even now,only difference is that per ticket transaction was much cheaper then and it is expensive now. Everything is become expensive now as everyone wants to cover their costs, its only fair.
I feel blessed that i was born at the right time as i have seen the era before the www and this era. in old times you could enjoy the little pleasures which doesnt happen now ,now the life is become more stressful ,more complicated like you never know now which movie is running in which theater on which time,like earlier you use to go with the normal timimgs in the theater like 12 to 6 to 9 to 12.
I forgot to mention the days when all my friends in my area use to come out on the road on every sunday for playing cricket,it was like a tradition to play cricket. But now noone is interested in playing cricket as people are busy in earning money.Nowadays as there is so much choice available to us on the internet its difficult to choose what you want.
He has always been a source of great inspiration for me. Just watching him work was a pleasure. He had an eye for detail and never accepted anything which was not perfect, initially I use to think why is he being so perfect even for small thing which was not important, but over a period of time you realize what he meant. I had heard from people of the days when the living room was started, he worked very hard in very difficult circumstances to make the living room a brand which is respected by millions of people around the country, the days when no customer use to come in the store for weeks he had seen those days and kept his patience and drove the living room co.
All the staff use to get intimidated by him but I was never afraid as I did my work perfectly and always took responsibility, my business was very good and I had a good rapo with the staff.
You learn so much by talking with him.
One quality which i admire of him is he always took advice from people junior to him.
In my 6 years, he never yelled at me if I did any mistake.
He always gave me good opportunities like opening Pune Showroom.
He also gave me an opportunity to present the contest winner with his prize and take a snap with him for the photo which was going to come in the newspaper. My Mom was very proud when she saw my picture in the newspaper. I was on the cloud for that day.
Worst day of my life –
The day i had to tell Jehangir sir that I was leaving The Living Room for abroad offer was a big challenge for me and the worst day of my life. It was very difficult for me I was in tremendous stress that day.
What I did that time was not right from the living rooms perspective as the store in Pune was going through bad patch from low business and problems from the landlords, Jehangir sir was banking on me, he never expected that I will leave the company, what I did wrong was not giving him enough time for replacement, I still regret it and if I were to go back in time and do that thing all over again, this time I will give him enough time.
In Pune, it was like a dream job for anyone as you can play with your ideas as no one senior is around you and Jehangir sir gave me enough freedom to do things differently. But I thought to myself that I can do more than what I was doing and you have only one life so I had to take a stand to leave the living room, it was not easy I can tell you that, I had good salary,Jehangir sir had given me a two bedroom flat for myself, gave me a bike ,I had it all.
One big reason I had to leave Pune was also that riding bike in Pune had given me some serious back troubles. In Pune you cannot do without a bike.
I made one mistake that I should have asked Jehangir sir for a transfer to Mumbai back ,but I dint.
In life you make lots of mistake, but I have made it a point to learn from them and not repeat them, this wrong decisions which we make gives us experience .plus I don’t like a simple life, I like struggle in life, without tension there is no fun that is the way believe in spending my life.
If you see my profile I have always taken the road which is less traveled, like quitting a good call center job which was paying good money for a low salary job in living room, like going to Pune as a Store manager when others were not going there and quitting the living room job which was paying me good and freedom for a job in Bahrain for 2 years contract which I have to stay away from the family.
This decision has made me more and more experienced which helps me in my daily decision making in personal and professional life.
The other Director Shakeera Nagree – She is an extremely creative person, her ideas are unconventional which people take time to understand. She always thinks ahead of time.
I admire for the way she carries herself & her style.
I am what I am is because of The Living Room store today ,it’s not some other furniture store ,it’s an institution. I cannot thank the employees ,carpenters & peons, office boys of the store enough to teach me what is life all about.
How I got selected in The Living Room:
After I finish my graduation, i got a job in a call – centre as a customer service representative in
TATA with a very good salary of 11000 Rs during that time in 2002 , Call centre was booming those days ,everyone wanted to work in the call centre as they were paying handsomely to all who knows how speak English. But in my life I never cared about money so much, I don’t know why , On the 4 th day itself I decided to call the job quits as I was fed up of talking to customers on phone most of all , I
Did not enjoy what I was doing. I had some sales & marketing experience before my graduation & I was enjoying it & now I wanted to do something related to customer interaction.
One sunny day I was sitting at my house and was going through some job search in the newspapers, my neighbor Kishore Kothawale walked in & sat next to me.
Before we go further, I would like to describe something about him, he had a good personality, his dress sense was excellent, he use to wear expensive clothes & our parents always wanted us to be like him ,when mobile phone had just come in the market some 15 years back, he owned one. He was very soft-spoken, during those days there was a rumors that Kishore was earning around 25000 Rs in commission. per month. In short he had style.
Coming back to the point Kishore came & told me there was a vacancy in The Living Room, why don’t you go & try ,he recommended me, I went for an interview & passed & got selected.
Early Days in The Living Room :
My first day was nice & I just spent 1 month observing other people selling furnitures.I learned a lot from observing, I never directly worked under Kishore as he was in the other store & I was in other.
I use to spend lot of time in the manufacturing unit as I was always eager to know the technical details as I had seen that those salespeople who do maximum business were the ones who had good technical know-how, these salespeople use to convince very easily with their knowledge , & I observed very keenly that when this salespeople use to say more technical details in their presentation they use to get very less objections, Till the time I was in the Living Room I used to spend around 2 hrs/day in the manufacturing unit to learn details & you can go on learning everyday new it never ends.
That is the reason, I was the Best Salesperson for a long time till I use to directly handle clients, I also use to give trainings to new recruits on the Selling Skills & Product Knowledge.
Other sales people use to be in the store through the day, I use to spend most of my time in the manufacturing unit still my business was much higher than others, this was the power of knowledge & I use to manage my time very well, for e.g. Other sales people use to go to customer visits in the office time & I use to go during lunch breaks & after office hrs so I could spend more time on the floor & do more business.
I would like to mention about 3 people in The Living Room who mentored me to be a good manager a good salesman & a good human being.
1] Sudhir Shelar –
He was a very cool manager, with a very good temperment,i never saw him getting angry & panic in difficult situations, he management style was very different, he used to deal difficult situations in a very systematic way. Was very positive in approach & he use to trust his people & fight for his people no matter what. I have picked up lot of his style of management, in his soft style there are some negative points & positive points also.
Negative points – People tend to take advantage of you & try to bully you initially but Positive point is after some time you never lie to the manager & you work very honestly because the manager completely trust you & you feel guilty to break that trust. Plus you will take lot of initiative without the fear that you will fail & the manager will fire you.
I can’t thank him enough for being there for me in my difficult situations professionally & personally.
2] Moosa & Arshad –
This 2 people are genius in selling stuff.
I learned smart selling from this guys, how to talk to clients, how to handle angry clients, how to convince people in selling your product.
Arshad Sagar – was the person who had abundance technical knowledge, because of him I started going in the manufacturing units as I use to see that he had the maximum percentage of customer conversions.
Moosa – I learned from him the art of selling comb to a bald man. He proved that in furniture business you don’t need to know good designing to sell items, he was the only one was so bad in sketches & he use to get more business in contracts than any other salespersons, I also learned from him the art of bluffing with confidence, I mean all know if you are a salesman you need to bluff a little right!
This 2 people use to challenge that they can make any client buy their products & they did that always.
The Living Room – Pune.
Our boss had planned to open a store in outskirts of Pune. Pune is very expensive, so they had got a place on the 4th floor in Viman Nagar – Pune.
I never thought they will tell me to go & open the store from concept. As the store was located on the 4th floor my seniors did not agree to go & handle that store,
So my boss called me in the office with Sudhir & asked me if I can go in Pune & handle the store from concept, I immediately said yes. That moment I just knew that out of all the seniors they took my name as I was just 3 years in the company & the seniors were all more than 8 years. I thought I can go & see for a change , even after I accepted, lot of my colleagues told me not to go as no customer will come on the 4th floor & plus it is not in centre of Pune , it’s in the outskirts.
I was very thankful to them for giving me such a good opportunity & considering my name.
But still I went & opened the store singlehandedly, I did my research before the store opened & did extremely good business which no one expected, I started my own in store advertising but making attractive danglers & catalogues.
My boss was very happy as it had crossed the business as he had not expected & we went on to open 1 more store in the other side of Pune in 6 months time.
We also opened a manufacturing unit with some carpenters & polish people.
I was given complete in charge of 2 stores & 1 huge manufacturing unit .
You must be wondering I am saying My Boss but who is the Boss.
Well in my next post I will write the details about my Boss Mr. Jehangir Nagree & how he helped me in my life & he was like a family also.
Leaving The Living Room was my biggest decision in my life & I can’t apologize enough to my boss who treated me like a family.