"In sales, all that matters is how, when and what you communicate. It’s the first few minutes with the client that makes or breaks your interaction with them. Its now that you understand the vision of Mr. Arindam Chaudhuri to include classes like personality development in the course."
Rejection inspires him. A firm believer of hard work, Bhav Singh only has done it all on his own in a country far away from home. From working 14 hour shifts to selling at 50 degree Celsius Bhav never let difficulties deter him from achieving his goals. Meet this fantastic orator, this extremely passionate and hard working young entrepreneur and read on to know how he made it so far and his plans for the future.
Q. Tell us about you and your business venture ? What inspired you to start this venture ?
A. I am Bhavneet Singh Bathla, popularly known as Bhav Singh within my business circle. Born and raised in a middle class Sikh family in Karnal, India, I am a Hotel Management Graduate from PUSA and did my Masters in Business from IIPM. Sales and marketing happens to be an innate passion of mine, all thanks to the genes in the family, with my dad and uncle being successful sales professionals back in their day. After kick starting my career with my first job in Planman Marcom India, I grew my career in the same industry for the next 10 years in Dubai where I worked for major media companies like Emirates Neon and United Color Films. Embarking on a new journey, I decided to spread my wings and move to Canada in 2013. I followed my dream of opening my own restaurant- Zaffran (Exotic Indian Cuisine) on Victoria BC’s waterfront. After establishing a name for myself in the industry and making a good buck in the first venture, I decided to pack up shop and move to a bigger city with more opportunities. I moved to the heart of Canada- Toronto, which is known to be Canada’s economic and business hub. There was no better place to open up my own marketing company- Phoenix Marketing Solutions.
At Phoenix, we offer sales and marketing solutions to big corporations in Canadian communications and media industry. Rogers and Bell are just to name a few major clients on our roster. My team works closely with the clients to help design and develop personalised campaigns which help our clients achieve record sales numbers.
I saw a vacuum and disconnection between the consumers and the Big Corporates especially in the telecom sector. By introducing door to door salesreps., not only did we bridge the gap but we also made sure that the consumer got the best value for their money spent, while growing the customers brand and exceeding bottom line expectations for the corporation.
What inspired me? Definitely, Rejection inspired me. Be it in my personal life or professional, I am someone who perceives rejection as a challenge and motivates me to work harder. I like converting stones thrown at me and making them memorable milestones to look back on. Setbacks in my life energized me rather than demoralise me. “What tried to demolish me, I allowed to polish me”. Now you know the story about my company’s name being Phoenix right? I love rising from the ashes of rejections.
Q. Why did you choose Canada ?
A. Why Canada ay? Canada, as for many, is a land of infinite possibility. Canada is a nation that is accepting of all cultures and gives everyone an equal opportunity and without fail I was given mine. I wanted to use my experience in the Middle East to do something for myself, and this beautiful country accepted me with open arms.
Q. When you started what were the difficulties you faced ? How did you overcome Them ?
A. Like for many, moving from one continent to another comes with its fair share of challenges. Adapting to North American culture and lifestyle was an interesting challenge but I loved every bit of it. It was interesting, discomforting and funny all at the same time.
I was taken out of my comfort zone but this allowed me to grow and learn new things. I learnt that in this part of the world call Football, is called Soccer. People here use the word “EH” in every sentence for no reason! They are crazy for NFL and NHL sports which I never ever heard of growing up in India. Canadians have this obsession with “Poutine”, something which I can never get use to eating. Not even for a million bucks! It took me a while to somewhat get “Canadianized”.
As far as sales are concerned, I am a firm believer that if you can sell in India, you can sell in any part of the world. After selling in India and the Middle East for almost 12 years, making sales in North America is a paradise. I still enjoy every moment of the process.
Q. What are your plans for the future ?
A. It might sound very unprofessional or come across as a lack of forethought into my future but I am a firm believer in giving your 100% in what you are doing in the moment and taking life as it comes. I never planned in the past what I am currently doing, so I don’t want to get ahead of myself by planning out the future. Not to have this confused with a lack of ambition or the desire to become even more successful, I do foresee myself making it big in the real estate sector and event planning, but the details as to when? and how? - these questions have not yet been answered. What I can assure you is that I will not let my drive, energy and hunger to succeed mellow down, because the best of Bhav Singh is yet to come!
Q. What is the best advice you ever got ? From whom?
A. I will never forget when my middle school science teacher Mrs. Jasjeet Kaur told my mom that I could sell ice to an Eskimo and sand to an Arab. She advised me to make a career in sales which at that point in time I never considered or took seriously, until the opportunity came my way.
Q. "Great leaders are also great speakers” Do you agree ? How did your personality development classes help you in your business ?
A. Absolutely agree! Being in Sales, all that matters is how, when and what you communicate. It’s the first few minutes with the client that makes or breaks your interaction with them. Its now that you understand the vision of Mr. Arindam Chaudhuri to include classes like personality development and competitions like NEP (National Economic Planning). These classes give that most important X-Factor to the students which helps them sell themselves in this competitive world. It’s the initial few minutes that set the tone for the client, its your personality that counts, and not the Philip Kotler’s 4 P’s. Personally, I preach that this not only applies in sales, but in every aspect of life, good speakers inject motivation in others. As human beings we feel connected and are empowered by well spoken leaders. My idol in leadership is MS Dhoni.
Q. What are the key elements to starting and running a successful business ?
A. My uncle shared valuable advice with me “Take care of your people like they were your own children”. This particular piece of wisdom that was shared is the cornerstone and one of the most important elements of how I run my successful business. In the sales industry, efficiency and sales targets achieved by employees are directly correlated and proportional to their motivation levels. Letting employees know that they are appreciated and are a valuable asset to the team is the crux of a happy and resourceful work force. Rewarding employees and providing them with support /tools they need to succeed helps create the environment they need to excel. A healthy, aggressive, energised and engaged salesforce is my top competitive advantage. No matter how good your business model is or products are, you still need a stellar team to design, build, improve, sell and service them.
Q. Marketing is the most important aspect of a business. How do you market your business ?
A. Well that’s what we do for living. We market other companies, and they market us by word of mouth. Unfortunately, we have a very limited B2B options of marketing ourselves due to confidentiality agreements signed with our clients and have to consider “Conflict of Interest” within the same industry. Client feedback, testimonials, long term relations and above all referrals all add up to to our word of mouth marketing. However, for some of our services, we do Online Marketing Campaigns which are run from my back office in India. If customer testimonials made “Cross-fit” a multi million-dollar brand, I am sure we are going in the same direction.
Q. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out what would it be ?
A. “Do what you love, love what you do and you will never work a day in your life.”
Its very important to enjoy what you do. No point waking up and going to work demotivated with a long face as its not going to help anyone. The reason I am in this business is because I love going out and meeting new people and work on building my network everyday. Even on days when I have to be a part of admin work (which I hate) at the office, I make it a point to head out for an hour or so and initiate and partake in a couple of meetings. It keeps me in the loop and helps me strategize and maintain a competitive edge on the competition and help my sales team.
Q. What motivates you ?
A. Rejection !
I am a kind of a person who could never take a NO for an answer and would always go an extra mile to convert that NO into a YES. What actually motivates me to go further is the NO, the rejection, the challenge and the competition to be the best.
Challenges bring out the best in me. On weekends when I am on the cricket field, I love it when the opposition “sledges” me to take off my concentration, however, it is then that I am forced to give my 100% to show them who is the best.
Q. What makes you happy ?
A. Achieving sales targets make me happy, coupled with a few glasses of Single Malt after a successful day. A weekend full of playing cricket and listening to Sufi music satisfies me as well. Add to this some good English TV Series and a couple of pounds of buffalo chicken wings and it becomes a dream that I live every weekend!
Q. What sacrifices have you had to make to become a successful entrepreneur ?
A. Everyone has their definition and version of a successful entrepreneur. I have not yet reached that level where I can consider myself a successful entrepreneur yet. However, wherever I have reached, has not come easy to me. If a son has not met his mother for the last 4 years, one can’t ask for a bigger sacrifice according to me. From working 14 hr shifts in the hotel industry to doing sales in 50 degree Celsius in Dubai, I have done it all. There was always an option of saying NO, but that’s not a word I use in my vocabulary.
Q. What is the secret to your daily productivity ?
A. A quick phone call to my family who cares about me motivates me to go an extra mile. The belief in good karma and Waheguru makes sure that every day goes by productively. The sportsman in me has taught me that the blood, sweat and tears I put in today never go wasted and it’s the “never give up, fall down, get back up” attitude, which will take you places gets me to the next level. My personal will and drive to do well is embedded in the seed of my soul.
Q. Which other company apart from yours do you admire the most ?
A. You get to learn from every successful company. For me, I rate the companies based on their advertising and marketing campaigns. Since my business school days and to date, one company that I am a big fan of, w.r.t., their marketing strategies is “Heineken”. I am not a beer drinker but I do drink Heineken just as a mark of respect to their marketing brains. Their campaigns are always authentic, current, with the times, connected to the target audience, super creative and always have an emotional appeal.
Q. Your favourite quote ?
A. “Hope rises like a Phoenix, from the ashes of shattered dreams” (S.A. Sachs)
Q. Your favourite vacation spot ?
A. Istanbul, Turkey. The country has a unique vibe to it. The only city which is divided between two continents. What appeals to me is that the European part has modern infrastructure and the Middle eastern part has deep historical monuments and mosques. The city as a whole is breathtaking.
Q. Your favourite movie?
A. Bollywood: Lakshya, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Chak de India
Hollywood: Wolf of Wall Street, Pursuit of Happiness
TV Series: Suits, Billions, Prison Break, Homeland