DREAM MERCHANT!

Nikhil Ballal

How was your childhood?
VT-I am the only child to my parent and
lived in a joint family. So since childhood had
a habit of sharing things and also working in a
team. We enjoyed a friendly atmosphere
with an equal measure of discipline and
decorum. That is the essence of joint family.
All of us were given a deadline of 8pm. So it
was aath chya aat gharat (before 8 in the
house). Science and tehnology have always
been my prime interests. My curiosity which
began in my toddler days continued till my
higher classes. My family encouraged these
qualities.

Where did you take your formal
education?
VT-I completed B Sc from Jhunjhunwala
College. During those days I use to play
cricket and table tennis. I was lucky enough to
get a chance to play with few stalwarts of the
Indian team such as Dilip Vengserkar and
Sandeep Patil. Cricket helped me to
develop good temperament and table tennis
boosted my concentration and determination.
I was adjudged as best sportsman of the
college.

How did you get your first job?
VT-I was very much attracted towards my
cousin’s job profile that was of marketing. His
frequent flying plans impressed me a lot. Just
that I could travel by plane I took up my first
job in sales department. I travelled to all
hospitals across India to sell syringes. It was
fun to meet new people and see new places.
I thoroughly enjoyed my work.

People usually hate sales then how did
you enjoy it?
VT-Normally people hate to work in
sales department as it calls in for lot of
touring. But for me touring was the major
attraction. According to me everyone does
sales right from their childhood and continues
doing it till their death. In school we do
salesmanship in front of teacher to get in their
good books, in college we do it in front of
girls, prior to marriage we do it in front of
our in laws and after marriage in front of wife
and when we finally grow old we do it in
front of grand children in order to get our
spectacles repaired. Every day we are
selling ourselves to others. Salesmanship is an
instinct isn’t it?

Did you get humiliated? Which is the
common unpleasant experience with sales?
VT-Yes many times. I recollect one
incident of a hospital in Kanpur where I had
gone to sell syringes and they yelled at me
and warned me if I came here again. This
didn’t shatter my hopes of selling the
products. Infact I took it as a challenge to sell
them within next 30 days. And I did it. If
anyone has to grow and prosper he should
get rid of his ego first. As I feel that is only
obstacle between You and Success!

When did you notice the entrepreneur in
you?
VT-I was a businessman right from the
first day of my job. From outside I may
appear like an employee but from inside I
was a pucca businessman. I use to take all tensions which I my boss use to take. All the
mathematics of our business would constantly
revolve around my head. This urged me to
work hard to achieve company’s sales targets.
I knew their importance. This indirectly
augmented my performance and promoted
me to higher posts. I was thinking myself in the
employers shoes when I was actually working
for him. I resigned from Top Syringe Manufacturing
which is now popularly known as Sewa
Medicals Ltd after 23 years as All India Sales
manager. To get a taste of a MNC I joined
Thermo Electron Corporation and worked
there for three years. I led the team to start a
factory in China. Both these jobs gave me
excellent international exposure.
I wanted to own a Mercedes one day. To
accomplish this dream I use to work rigorously
day and night. Though I use to finish my day
late in the night but next morning I ensured I
catch 8:31 Kasara fast local!

Tell us your brush with global
experience?
VT-I have travelled to almost all the
countries of the world. Different dialects, cultures                                                                                                                      and environment in different parts of
the world compelled us to amend our sales
strategies. I recollect one incident of America.
When we had been there in our first meet they
offered us burger and a glass which was filled
with 80% ice and 20% cold. As I was
struggling to acclimatize with its chilly weather
I refused to drink it. In that entire tour we
couldn’t crack a single deal with any American company.                                                                                                           After doing introspection I realized
that Americans do business only with people
of their type. Coke and Burger are part and
parcel of every American which helped us to
crack two deals in the next tour.
Of the various countries I visited I love
Finland’s working style. They are the most
ethical and honest businessmen of the world.

When did you finally start your own
business?
VT-Monotony had started creeping in.
While touring across the world I realised there
is a huge potential of cold chain business in
India. A cold chain is a temperature-controlled
supply chain. An unbroken cold chain is an
uninterrupted series of storage and distribution                                                                                                                        activities which maintain a given
temperature range. It is used to help extend
and ensure the shelf life of products such as
fresh agricultural produce,[1] seafood, frozen
food, photographic film, chemicals and
pharmaceutical drugs. There was no awareness
and Indian market was completely virgin for
such supply chain. Lisaline Lifescience
technology Pvt Ltd is the name of our company.

How were the initial days of business?
VT-They were extremely tough. As it was
not mandatory to have such supply chain
system we could barely manage to get five
clients in the first year. Our first client was
Government of India. After our consistent
follow-up with Indian government finally they
made it mandatory to all the organizations to
have a cold chain supply system. It is
extremely necessary to have such system in
order to get the best potency of a product and
achieve best immunity level. After it was made
mandatory our business flourished. Today I can
proudly tell you that we have more than 100
elite clients in the world which includes some
big names like Sun Pharma, Dr. Reddy’s, Glen
Marc and Unicef.

How did you grow your business?
VT-Never sell your product to any client
instead try to sell yourself. Try to win his trust,
once you do it then sit and relax as he will not
think of anyone else in his life. This is my sweet
and simple success formula. Though I started
my business at an age when people usually
start thinking of retirement I was not in a haste
to achieve something overnight. I believe in
‘slow and steady wins the race’ concept. It is
not necessary to have Mercedes today even if
it comes little later its fine.

How have you build such a strong team?
VT-I have always tried to become a
leader instead of a boss. There is a huge
difference between these two. Don’t be under
a wrong impression that if we are paying them
handsome salary then we can treat them
anyway we like. There are hundreds like you
who can pay like you so to stand different
from others one has to be leader instead of a
boss. Leader is great motivator, mentor and
facilitator. I have always been a leader.

Don’t you get upset by their mistakes?
VT-No. Whenever I get angry I start
counting 1 to 100. Believe me it helps. It takes
only five minutes to count till 100 but by the
time you finish counting it gives you a such a
power which enables you to think and act. This
has helped me to maintain my cold chan
temperature (laughs) which has given me
terrific immunity. Also I was so influenced by
the Gujrati dealers at Dava Bazaar near
fountain. They talk so sweetly with every
customer that I feel they were born without an
emotion called anger.

How do you foresee your business?
VT-My company is in the able hands of my
partner Mr. Ajit Tamhane and now also my son
Sooraj has joined us so all I can say is Aur
Acche Din aane wale hai…

 

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