Rajnish Shirsat: Don’t sell technically to print buyers who may or may not know the process

Rajnish G Shirsat graduated in commerce and completed his Diploma in Business Management, short courses from IIM, Bangalore, and FIEO (Federation of Indian Exports Organisation). In 1992, he took baby steps at Repro India. He learnt the tricks of the book trade.

Also, he met his mentor Dushyant Mehta and picked the brain cells of Romi Vohra, Mukesh Dhruve and Pramod Khera. Eventually, Shirsat started print management and consulting business under the banner of R&S Enterprises with his business partner, Swapnali Haryan. Now he has published a book Out From My BooX (16 Sales Inspiration Takeaways for Anyone to Adapt). In conversation with WhatPackaging?

03 Jun 2022 | By Mansi Gupta

The book captures stories of learning, inspiration, and motivation for anyone wanting to start a career in marketing, sales, key account management and customer service

WP?: When did you begin work on the book?
Rajnish G Shirsat (RGS):
I started writing this book about eight months ago. It took some time before I got a grip on it but I found the context first and then everything fell into place.

WP?: What inspired the idea for your book?
The context was the period of the early 1990s when India opened its economy and I had started my career during that period. In a way, this was the inspiration as sales and marketing have changed completely what we see today vis-à-vis what it was then and I wanted to pen down my experience, my learnings, and my mentors who inspired me to work in that period.

WP?: There is a joke about a book about sales. The joke is: it is something written by people who can’t write for people who won’t read. What do you say to counter this?
Yes it’s a joke and a nice one indeed but the fact is eventually the one who writes a book gets into a different league. We are also in the business of helping business owners write a book and have seen the best of people excellent in their work but cannot express and capture it on a piece of paper. Coming to the people who won’t or don’t want to read are missing something in life. With attention spans reducing drastically in this gadget economy, a book is the best companion they can get.

WP? How so?
I think content plays an important part for a person to write if he or she can come up with something appealing and for people reading it, they need to get some real value.

WP? What makes one a great salesperson - especially in our industry?
I would say don’t sell technically to print buyers who may or may not know the process but will always pretend to know more than you. Irrespective of the industry, the fundamentals of sales do not change – listen, consult or advise the right way, offer value and say no to something you cannot do to retain the customer forever. Try winning the customer from a long-term point of view, hence, do not focus transactionally.

WP?. Sales are the toughest profession in the world. What are the little gems you picked up from your mentor Dushyant Mehta (CEO of Quadrum Solutions)?
I think he always insisted on offering value, demonstrating by examples, offering solutions, presenting your case well, packaging your offer well, thinking on your feet, the importance of good body language and how creativity plays such a crucial role.

WP?: How much research did you need to do for your book?
It was more of digging from the past memories I had to tax my mind on.

WP?: Describe your journey from the days at Repro India to your work at R&S? How does one stay mentally alert and engaged during a 30-year working life, which means knowing how and when to change the work we do?
All along this journey, I’ve stayed hungry to learn, adapt and have a research-oriented mind. Knowing the trends is extremely crucial as one can then re-package yourself to perform better.

WP?: The only way to discover your strengths is through feedback analysis. Share your plan for the print industry business owners who have no time to follow a plan?
I think from the pre-Covid times to now, the industry will evolve more rapidly. Staying nimble and asset-light is the key. Technology will play a big role not just in operations but also to ensure it is used in pre-sales and sales.

WP?: How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
This book should appeal to people in sales, and marketing, especially the ones who have just started their careers and the mid-level in experience.

WP?: What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about sales?
As I said the sales process evolves with changing times but the one which has stayed rock solid is the art to listen carefully which is the best I’ve received.

WP?: Final question. What part of the book is your fav-most?
The pages where I mention the mentors who played such an important part in my journey - and the lateral thinking concept.