This is an interesting story, maybe, unknowingly planned many years back… but, being reported after time.

This story dates back to 1996, when I was part of the Automotive tyres industry. As a branch head then, I used to toy with ideas, which many would not have agreed with me, then. Also, I used to be part of a company which was really not in the ‘encouraging mode’ as far as independent thinking is concerned.

There was this very enterprising dealer.. retailer… channel partner, who wasn’t appreciated much amongst the echelons of decision makers as he was too very blunt. Straight-forward, manybe, not a psychophant. Not too very educated… by no stretch of imagination someone who could trade discussions about management and neo-marketing techniques, which these neo MBA converts were in the habit of appreciating. Nevertheless, when I took over, I ran through my distribution base, and identified this one channel partner to mould into an asset.

I sat with him one day at the office(remember, there were no mibile phones to intrude into conversations), and had a frank chat on expectations. I spelt out my expectations, and he spelt out his aspirations, professional and personal goals and his preferred way foward. As was the practice of the three Ws (Wine, women & wealth) in that sector, I spelt out my aversion for either the above three, or even the need ever for any kind of reciprocity, in return for professional decisions taken by me.

Nevertheless, I had mentioned the subject of this post to this particular agent and had advised him to continually work on his own brand name, parallel to building the corporate or product brand of his principals.

My thought was – “PEOPLE BUY PEOPLE, NOT PRODUCTS.” Essentially, what I really wanted to convey was that principals might change, product lines might, business entities might – but, in a small town, people go to people, to buy products, rather than the brand pull of products making the ‘people meeting people’ incidental.

I was in the city for about 2 years, and then I moved on. During my stay, I tried to intersperse the management & statistical tools to think through the market dynamics and formulate strategies. While my team was clocking 100% YoY growth, this particular agency was clocking double that.

This particular gentleman has been in touch with me, off & on, since my exit from the city. I have been supplying him with some acquired & realized thoughts on how he could consolidate his personal & retail outlet brand. Re-affirming my thoughts that “People buy people, not brands“.

I received a call from him yesterday mentioning on how this brand is one of the foemost in the country, and how people recognize their family name in the city. Also, he has been able to secure the future of his family, as most reputable institutions & families are wont to associate their brand name, with his.

Another fact to peruse is our individual shopping traits. Most often when we enter an apparel store, a multi brand one, the individual courtesy and demeanour of the counter sales-person determines on our duration of the stay in the store, and that determines on how much money we splurge. Consider this, it is our money, and we are spending on ourselves. Even the products offered in these stores ae not unique in nature. It is available in every branded store. Havent we “bought the People, not products?”

Dont we have to spend 2-3 days a week in some of the upmarket restaurants, 5 star hotels and rendezvous points, for work of for pleasure? Is there a quantum of tip defined? Is there a benchmark of how much do we sign on the dotted line? Dont we like to be pampered by the waiting staff? Would we not welcome the chef venturing out of confines of the kitchen and trading our ‘ill-informed’ pretence about somalian or Mongolian or even Nawabi food? But yeah, most often, we are governed by the pleasant demeanour of the staff, and that determines on how much do we leave as tip. nother re-affirmation that “people by people, not products”.

In my line of work, which is real estate in India, there are a 100 developers operating in Delhi NCR. Each of them are making similar products, at different prices, with cosmetic changes. When clients approach us, they want us to certify what to invest into. More often than not, many would place their trust in us to invest their lives savings in a oduct recommended by us. Are they not Buying people, rather than products?

Dont our colleagues & team mates buy us as people, rather than consider our designations & positions, before accepting us as their leaders?

Dont the kids and family say “I love U Papa” for they buy us as what we are (People), rather than accept us as their bilogical parent.(Product). I wont ever disregard the ability of kids to compare products, the near perfect Shahrukh khans on the screen, with their real life parent, and secure an impression.

Our surrounding always buy & sell – Buy people, and sell people.(Kids exempted, for innocence has no pretence or salesmanship).

Ladies and gentlemen, whatever products, services or stories that one might be marketing, please cosider this thought that “People buy people, not products”. Hence, the tagline that I always recommend to my team:-


Hope you see merit in this arguement, and model your selling strategies accordingly.

I would welcome thoughts, criticism and a difference of opinion. You can write to me on OR leave a comment on the bottom of this page.


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