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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.

My Journey from College to Work .

Fresh out of school ,Like everyone I wanted a good college life,wanted to enjoy it, but very soon in my life I realised that I cant have that life for a long period , I decided that I will do correspondence studies

after 2 years of junior college,as planned I passed 12th in 1999 & enrolled for correspondence studies for my graduation.

Benefits of correspondence studies –

You get a lot of free time for yourselves as you just have to go & sit for the exams without attending lectures.

You can work part time or full time jobs & earn yourselves some money to enjoy life.

You dont have to study all year long.

Forgot to mention the reason I wanted to do correspondence is in my college I saw professors teaching students right from the Guide books & not anything from their experiences, I got fed up & I was mature enough to realise that that kind of studies I can do on my own, & I did & passed Graduation by securing 1st class [ 64 % ] which was very good for anyone who did not attend classes regularly.

After the results when I saw lot of my friends who were in regular colleges & were studing throught the year for the graduation, most of them failed & some got less marks than me.

I had to think why I fared better than most of my friends , & I got my answers in no time.

I had nothing to lose as I did not study throught the year.

Most of the friends were nervous writing the paper as they thought they will forget the answers when the question comes in front of them.

I had more experience in real life situations ,beacause I had some work experience from doing full time jobs.

I just read the topic & tried to understand what the author says without mugging up all the answers like my friends did.

When I saw the questions , answers just came naturally to me.

I knew that even if I fail , I was having enough experience for the job which will give me more money than the fresh graduate jobs.

I was fearless at the time of exams.

Now I earn more than my friends who had gone to college full time , but yes I still regret that I did not enjoy college completely , but you have to pay the price for everything , I had to pay the price of full time college to earn more.

Experience made me more mature than my other friends ,which helps me in my day to day life in making decisions for my work & my personal life.

My First Pay Cheque-1999

1999 – The memory of getting my first paycheque is still so fresh in mind as it had happened yesterday.

When I was in my seventh standard in school, me & my friends starting smoking for fun.

My close Friends in school
Pratik Mhardolkar. [We are still very close & in touch on a daily basis]
Ranjit Chavan. [We are not in touch, he is vamoosed without a trace , I miss him a lot]
Tarvindar Saggu. [We are not in touch,its been a long time I spoke to him , he is shifted to Thane]

My first Job in Real Value Ltd , it was a Public ltd co ,with all sorts of perks like daily allowance , Medical facility & others. It was a outdoor selling job , In 1999 Bank Manager salary would be around 6000 Rs .& I was earning 4500 Rs as my first job in organised market.
It was a dream job for me as lots people were searching a job in Banks & Admin sector where they get security & medical & allowances.

Coming back to the point ,

We friends had made a habbit to go in our school ground every evening for smoking cigarattes.
That moment I still remember as my friends were the first to see my salary cheque & give a reaction.
Pratik said he was very happy to see the cheque & happy for me, Ranjith gave a pat on my back & Tarvinder was smiling from his eyes.

It was a proud moment for me as I had worked very hard for that.

It was a very difficult job & I had that fire in my belly as it was my first job.
That job going office to office with that 5g fire extinguiisher to give demonstrations has taught me lots of things which are still helping me in my personal & professional life.

Everyone wondered how I got this job .

5 Days before I got this job,i was unemployed & was searching a part-time job when going through the newspapers I saw an advertisements saying earn 25000 Rs per month, this ad fascinated me & I went to the adress of this ad , what I saw in this place was a marketing office where all the people were carrying Big Sack of Bags in & out of the office & I was wondering that what this people are doing.

I asked the receptionists that I want to earn 25000 Rs per month,she guided me to the manager in that marketing office, the manager called me next morning in the office.
Next morning I went to the office , that manager told me it is a door to door selling job , I thought if it is a door to door selling job how can you earn 25000 Rs, I was wondering that the salesmans who comes to our house to sell the household items ,do they really earn 25000 Rs ,i had to find out.
The manager told me to go with a salesman on the feild & see how he works & earns.
The salesman name was Tiwari he was from U.P & had that UP accent when he use to talk broken English.

I went with him , he did not talk too much . He took me to the nearest garden & told me to sit ,he spread the newspaper on the grass & he lied down.

I was confused , I said to myself that in the morning where we have to go for work , this guy is sleeping without any tension.

I forgot to mention , it was a only commission job with no fixed salary.

When he was sleeping I asked him , what he was doing, He replied after a long pause in hindi , look Kiran this is the morning time when Husbands are gone to work as they have the money ,& Housewives are busy in their daily chores, in the afternoon people eat & sleep for sometime, Nobody likes a salesman in the afternoon & morning , So we will start in the evening.

To my amazement, that guy started from 5pm to 7pm & earned 750 Rs as commission for himself in 2 hours.
As they say people from UP are the best salespeople.
So next day I took my sack & went on my own on the field to sell & earn some commission.
I did not look like a salesman , I was in my Levis Jeans & an expensive T-shirt & shoes.
My mom make Tiffin for me & I use to eat that on station with some tea.
For 4 days I could not sell a single item , it was summer season , was difficult to carry that bag & walk but still I was trying very hard.
On the 4th day in Vikhroli at around 1pm I went to the Real Value office to sell my items , I was desperate & tired , there was an executive in the office , he told me that their Regional manager is going to come at 3pm, so he asked me to come at 3pm.

I came again at 3 pm & their was their Regional manager sitting in his office , that executive guided me to his office, he told me to give presentation, as I was desperate for a sale , I started lying to him about the product with complete confidence & conviction ,that manager was very experienced & was knowing that I was lying to him, when I finished the presentation ,he told me that he liked the way I presented the product & gave me an offer to work for him , & I accepted the job.

This job moulded me the way I look at things & made me a professional very early in my life.

My Great pleasure was not after seeing my Salary Cheque , It was after seeing the Salary Slip with all the Perks & Allowances & Medical Expenses,

My Mom was proud of me , that was enough :o)