My First Sale… with Indranil Roy, President, Outlook Group

14 Sep,2012

Indranil Roy, President, Outlook Group

Our Thursday series of Relative Values, My First… etc now shifts to Fridays, beefing up our weekend package that kicks off next week. Last month we had Bhaskar Das, and this time we spoke with Indranil Roy, President, Outlook Group


I joined the circulation department of India Today in the year 1990. My first induction to the corporate world, my boss then and now a good friend – Patrick Ghosh – taught me hard work, perseverance and dignity of work. Travelled the length and breath of Bihar, the North East, Orissa, Assam to meet magazine distributors. It’s been 23 years and i have not met them after the few initial years of selling but I still remember them for their simplicity and care.


When I joined Outlook, I also started selling advertising. My first big client was ITC. I used to attend meetings in ITC with our Group President… then Deepak Shourie. It was a fantastic experience to learn from his marketing mind. The ITC tobacco division used to support us extensively since we launched Outlook. The media agency for ITC was then headed by Rajat Gupta and Indranil Basu in Kolkata and they both supported me always. Today both of them are my closest friends.


For me, the ad deal struck with ITC in 1996 is the proudest and most memorable sale. We were new in the market and were pitching against India Today. After a lot of agency meetings, we were able to sell innovations and other deals to them. They even booked every back cover with us! Even today, after almost 17 years, one of the innovations sold by me to ITC is on the wall of the Outlook office which makes me proud.


Ad sales isn’t about spinning yarns because it might work for you once but won’t rescue you every time. I don’t believe in storytelling and always ask my team not to promise a client something we cannot deliver. Today, a client isn’t meeting just us but 100 others too, and he/she has ways to verify facts. One needs to build relationship through trust and telling the truth.


It’s not a thankless job because one gets to meet and understand different people and their perspectives. There is something to learn everyday.


As told to Meghna Sharma


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