Tag Archives: Jehangir Nagree

My Mentor -Mr Jehangir Nagree

Jehangir Nagree
Jehangir Nagree

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.

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The Living Room – Journey.

The Living Room
The Living Room

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.