By BHISHMA KUKRETI
I started my career as a Sales Representative for Murphy Radios in the mid-eighties. In the late eighties or even early nineties, there were no regular means of assessing future market trends or how the market would behave in the near or far future. Today, there are foreign and indigenous agencies those are publishing future trends for each product category. In my early days in the sales profession, we used to assess the market on our own and had our own invented tools to gauge the potential of the market and what types of radios would be sold. For example, when our dealer used to say that in his town or big village, prostitutes offered credit to their customers or people bought condoms on credit, we immediately used to understand that that market would not grow for ten years and we could not sell three band transistors in that town. If, instead of telling rates by the quarter, the local restaurants started offering alcohol by the peg, we used to guess that the consumers had raised their standards. Chinese or other foreign menus were also a means of understanding the spending power of consumers. For us, spending power meant consumers would buy three or four band transistors. Costlier than regular whisky (McDowell’s number one) display in wine shops was also an indicator on market potential. If we used to see in any town or city more of the young guys putting on jeans, we used to guess that the city is changing and we used to push stereos and music systems in the city. The changing transport system in the city or town from rickshaw or horse carts to auto rickshaw was also a sign of prosperity. We also used to have friendship with bra sellers to know the future market trends. Increase in bra sales was an indicator for more sales for three band transistors. Today’s salesmen are lucky that they have market research agencies to predict market trends. We were lucky that we used to guess market by simple means and we were never wrong in our market assessment.