If you are in India the chances that you wouldn’t have been to a road side tea shop /chai shop at least once in your life is almost zero. for some a road side chai ( Indian tea , by the way tea is still known as cha in Japan , china and in many Asian countries too) is just a regular way of life , for returning expats it is nostalgia , for visiting tourists it is their way of experiencing Indianness, For kids it is a place to get small bites , for college guys it is their evening heaven for fun and frolic, for many senior citizens it is a social hub and and an interactive real life facebook . I definitely did not miss any of these in my life though am yet to reach the real life facebook phase of life . In totality a chai shop functions as an information exchange .
Bout how many of you notice what happens around you at the chai shop every time you go there ?. Obviously not many ,right ?. Now, that is not surprising , a normal human brain is designed to function that way trough selective attention which is one of the behavioral biases. May be that is the reason why we have to be taught and tutored at various phases of life . This blog is about an interesting discovery at a chai shop that I visit often.
In India it is common for most mid career confused executives/managers to peruse an MBA to brighten their prospects in life ( or at least to assume that it would do so) . And a specialization in marketing is the Hot Pot . As part of the curriculum they are doused in to an ocean of frame works and strategies to learn which frame to pick but still have to make it work .
As part of business to business marketing course these grads are taught how to identify personas like suspect, prospect , decision maker , influences, gate keepers and collaborators and peruse apt strategies based on the persona of the other party. But how did a humble stray mongrel come to know about it, and not just that also practice it ?.
The other day on my regular visit to the chai shop there was this mongrel who was standing at a stone fling distance from there . I didn’t have much to do on that day and so was quite relaxed and was watching this mongrel while sipping my chai and my usual cigarette. Every time some one would come to the shop counter the mongrel would advance just a couple of steps and observe the consumer’s behavior but would never come near the shop , may be this is its suspect list .
If the customer is solo and if he/she would pick a biscuit the dog advances towards the shop but still stays a few meters away from the shop while looking at the customer, This attracts the customer’s attention ( This is the principle of advertising in conventional marketing) , However the dog is not naive. it evaluates the customers eye contact to see if the customer is looking at it while breaking the biscuit to eat. If so, it wags its tail and adds him to the prospect list and advances further. If the customer moves away the dog goes back to its initial position (and probably even removes him from the suspect list). Else it advances further and greets the customer with a welcome squeal and bark and the customer mostly ends up buying an additional biscuit for the dog ( And hence accomplishes a sale closure) .
Now here is the dogs way of implementing a business to business sale . If customers visit as a team or a group of two or more, the dog still stays at its initial position, How ever keeps observing the customer’s purchases . If one customer purchases many biscuits and passes on to other members in his group or shares his biscuit by breaking it in to pieces with other members, then the mongrel advances quickly towards the others who are the beneficiaries of the shared biscuit and greets them. And usually the beneficiary of the free biscuit influences his friend to buy one more for the dog .
Now why did the dog not try to persuade the actual purchaser ?? instead why did it choose to peruse the passive beneficiary,Think about it . It seems to have understood the biases of behavioral economics . People generally don’t mind sharing what they get for free . So it approached the beneficiary first who also became the initiator and influencer for the additional sale .
If a regular customer ( of the dog) turns up the dog is almost at the entrance of the shop with his usual salutations for his master. and it becomes a straight re-buy for him ( the dog) . The next thing that struck me was the professional adherence to the schedule these stray dogs follow . Once the dog is done with his quota of feeding from this chai shop he doesn’t loiter around anymore, instead leaves the place immediately. I was amazed and curious about what this dog plans to do next.As i didnt have much to do on that day and so i chose to follow the dog to this next spot.
Surprisingly I found that the dog left straight to the next chai shop which was some 500 meters from this one and arrived at exactly same time as his regular customer . And what was even more surprising was to find that the dog displayed the same protocol of evaluating , suspects,prospects, clients consistently even there . I was flabbergasted.
After this experience I would not be surprised if these stray dogs even prioritized their prospects as hot warm and cold leads and perused different strategies for each category. So my final word is . Friends , keep your eyes , minds and ears open to listen and observe whats happening around you , life is willing to teach you beyond your work and academics. Hope you would have enjoyed reading this blog. Please do feel free to pass on your comments by replying to this blog and / or sharing this on the social media .