I’m at the growth phase of life due to sales.
Internship was over after 4 months in August 2017. Placement season was in full swing post that. There were 1200 students in MBA program. On average 150-180 companies used to approach our college for hiring. Each company would hire 6 students, on average, as management trainees.
Hiring process included an aptitude test, then group discussion (GD) and, personal interview (PI). To every company I applied, i got rejected in GD. Not because I had no subject knowledge, but I have a low-pitched voice and I’m an introvert. By the time I framed a sentence in my mind, someone else would say it. While speaking I was focusing on whether I was audible or not, rather than the tone of speaking. That made me look nervous and awkward. I know it is difficult for you to understand what I’m saying. Everybody have their own set of weaknesses.
I used to admire my classmates who had loud voices. How grateful they are, they can crack 90% of GDs. Because of my quite nature, I couldn’t make any friends.
One day a pharmaceutical company approached us. Luckily, I was the only person eligible to apply for it. I had done Bachelor’s in Science with major in chemistry. I was given a small case study, and later I cleared the PI. There was no GD as I was the only one. And here begins my sales journey.
Sales of medicines in Vadodara city
I’m a born risk-taker. In 2015-16 when I was doing back office job, we had 2nd and 4th Saturday off. I joined German language class on weekends by lying to my manager on those off Saturdays. I had no specific reason to learn German, but I’m always looking for something new. Something which is totally off-beat and other don’t do. I couldn’t continue the language course because I couldn’t take every Saturday off. I paid ₹9000/- for the course.
After getting shortlisted for the pharma company, I chose Vadodara city as the job location. I could have chosen Mumbai, which is closest to my home. But I take bold steps. There were 7 more shortlisted students from other colleges. They chose Mumbai location, and I was the one with different choise.
The guidelines were, all trainees had to work on field, selling medicines to pharmacies and convincing doctors to prescribe our brand. We had to do this for 6 months, and if we convert big reputed doctors, then only we can get permanent job, else we’ll be fired.
I got a room on rent. My day began at 10-11 am in the morning and ended at 5-6pm in evening. There were 15-20 medical representatives waiting for doctor outside the clinic. Once the patients subsided, MRs were called one by one.
When my turn came, doctor would hardly look at me while I was pitching. Only those doctors paid attention who were already prescribing our products. I used to enter the clinic and start talking about our product. I didn’t knew sales is about interaction and not a one way communication. After 20 days, I improved my interaction skill, but doctors were not prescribing.
Let me tell you how pharma industry works. First thing, many pharma companies are located in Vadodara compared to rest of India. Area managers who were in sales setup their own companies. They already knew doctors after building 4-5 years of relationship. I just a newbie, who could speak local Gujrati language.
I was not able to convert any doctor during 6 months. I even begged to one of the doctors, but it didn’t work. I was fired. That was the darkest phase of my life. Imagine your peers doing job and you are jobless and fired! After that I and to my hometown and sold Icecreams in our shop. I also did internship again selling juices to corporates. I worked in MNC selling PoS machines.
I have accepted that what makes you weak, can become the greatest strength. Today I’m about to setup a small edible oil manufacturing unit, with my savings and parents’ money. I’m also into affiliate marketing.
Just remember, whatever you are going through today, it will definitely work in your favour after 2-3 years. Fortune favours the brave.