The art of buying and selling


Published: Thu 24 Mar 2022, 12:00 AM

Business is not merely a simple activity where you purchase something at a lower price and sell it at a higher price to your customers. Business is where no one gets cheated or robbed. The seller should get a reasonable profit, and the customer should also get a good thing at a reasonable price. Let both be happy. But to get this satisfaction, one should learn the art of buying and selling.

By Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar

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In my case, I learned this art from my parents. My mother taught me how to purchase anything wisely. In my childhood days, I would accompany my mother to the market to purchase household items. My mother would share the information of the products and tips about good buying en route. She had a peculiar habit. For example — if she were to purchase vegetables, she never purchased them from the first seller. She would first make a round of the entire market, judge the freshness and quality of vegetables, compare the rates and decide the scope for a bargain. On our return journey, she would stop at the vendor where good quality and reasonable rates matched. There also she would bargain to have the vegetables at an even lower rate. She would frequently share the information of different grains and spices, their varieties, and their importance in cooking. She had a wealth of general knowledge. Under her tutelage, I soon became a good buyer.

I learned the art of good selling from my father. He taught me how to sell products with reasonable profit, the importance of offering discounts, how to treat and retain customers with courtesy, respect their right to get good products and services at the store, address their complaints and exchange their returned products immediately. His favourite tip for achieving success in the business was — the businessman must have ice on his head and sugar on the tongue. It means to cherish the virtues of patience and sweet-talking. He also taught me the timing of buying and selling. I can proudly say that since the last 38 years there hasn’t been a single complaint from my customers regarding the purity, quality and cleanliness of the products. I managed to build a huge customer base from polite and excellent service.

Once I saw a quarrel between a fruit seller and his customer. The customer was complaining to the vendor about the rotten mangoes from the stock he had purchased the previous day. He asked the vendor to either exchange the rotten mangoes or return his money. The vendor firmly refused the demand by saying that since the customer had picked the fruits and it was his responsibility to check the quality. I pleaded for the customer and scolded the vendor for his unprofessional business style. At last, the vendor reluctantly exchanged the mangoes. At that time, I realised how the art of good buying and good selling is important.

Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar is the chairman and managing director of Al Adil Trading

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