Habiba Ishaq, popularly known as “habishaq” is a graduate of B.TECH Estate Management and Valuation from Federal University of Technology(FUT) Minna, Niger State. She is also CEO of Habishaqs Collections, Minna with a branch at Kano state.
TMG> Many people are turning to entrepreneurship now, especially university graduates. What was the attraction for you?
Habishaq> I will say the attraction was because business runs in the family; my grandparents and parents were civil servants but are successful business individuals. So that motivated me during my early days as a young girl.
TMG> What does your company sell?
Habishaq> We are into both wholesale and retail of different items like fabric (laces, brocades, ankara and more), children’s clothing, male and female wears and accessories, home decor, unique kitchen utensils, jewelries and more.
TMG> Which areas do you need to improve on in your business?
Habishaq> Due to popular demand and customers across the country, the delivery of goods and location is quite tasking but, Alhamdullilah, we are trying our best to get to customers in the shortest time possible.
TMG> What do you feel is the next step in developing your sales’ skills?
Habishaq> Looking forward to having a sales Rep. or agent across the country to meet our customers’ demands and make goods easily accessible.
TMG> What are some of the challenges you have faced in starting your company?
Habishaq> Having to deal with debtors and creating awareness.
TMG> What style of management do you think works in becoming successful at your kind of business?
Habishaq> I make sure I’m involved in direct activities in my company, leading by example. I dont hang around and wait to be called upon by my customers.
TMG> Tell us about a successful sales pitch you used for a difficult client. How were you able to sell the good(s) to him/her?
Habishaq> Though some customers can be very annoying, patience is the key to dealing with all customers.
TMG> Tell us more about being an interior decorator and how you manage other responsibilities or businesses?
Habishaq> Sincerely, I must say it has not been easy trying to balance being an estate surveyor/valuer and an entrepreneur but Alhamdulillah, with prayers, hard work and commitment, the company has gained ground.
TMG> Have you ever lost during sales and what did you learn?
Habishaq> Of course, in every business there is always profit and loss but I try to augment and strive harder.
TMG> How do you keep up to date on your target market?
Habishaq> Through various social media and with the help of platforms like this (TMG).
TMG> When do you stop pursuing a client?
Habishaq> I hardly give up on my customers but sometimes you just have to let go when the customer finally buys.
TMG> Who are you comfortable selling to and why?
Habishaq> Honestly, I prefer selling to men, because they don’t bargain too much but I love and appreciate all my customers.
TMG> What motivates you?
Habishaq> I’m motivated by my unending love for fashion and the pleasure I derive in satisfying my clients.
TMG> What is your ultimate career aspiration?
Habishaq> To be a Real Estate investor.
TMG> How do you keep a smile on your face during a hard day to make sure your clients feel good?
Habishaq> Patience and preserverance.
TMG> How much time do you spend cultivating customer relationships and hunting for new clients?
Habishaq> I spend virtually everyday looking for customers, because every opportunity I have is utilized judiciously.
TMG> What’s your approach to handling customer objections?
Habishaq> I am persuasive; I try to convince them about the originality of my goods.
TMG> Have you ever asked a client to explain why she didn’t buy a product? What did he/she say, and what did you learn from that experience?
Habishaq> Sure, as a matter of fact, customers’ feedback helps me alot in terms of improving my company. For example if the goods I have in stock are different from what the customer wants to buy.
TMG> What role does marketing play in your selling process?
Habishaq> Marketing connects me with new customers which keeps the company updated.
TMG> What way do you think your organization could do better?
Habishaq> Dedicating more time for my customers and improving in efficient service delivery.
TMG> In terms of sales skills, where would you like to get even better?
Habishaq> In all aspects but especially in customer relationship and social connectivity.
TMG> Tell us about the greatest goal that you’ve ever accomplished professionally?
Habishaq> Creating my own company and watching it grow smoothly. Alhamdulillah.
TMG> Have you remained persistent during sales, even though everyone else around you had given up?
Habishaq> Yes, because persistence and consistency is needed in every business empire.
TMG> What kinds of sacrifices have you had to make to be successful?
Habishaq> At a point in time I was strugguling between my career, home, business and also my personality as a woman, but the sacrifice was worth it.
TMG> How do you manage costs? If your labour is running high with low profit, what measures do you take to control it?
Habishaq> My cost largely depends on customers’ demands but when my cost is getting high, I change my strategies to meet up with the customers’ demands.
TMG> How do you manage risk, in terms of damages or loss?
Habishaq> I return some goods to the company and I sell some at a preferable price.
TMG> Who are your role models and people that inspire you to move on in the world?
Habishaq> My mum has been my role model right from the onset. I also have some customers who inspire and keep me updated.
TMG> What way can you encourage other youths to be self dependent?
Habishaq> Like I always say in other interviews and also tell my colleagues, I don’t see government work as a means of acquiring a livelihood. Graduates should not wait for white-collar jobs. Finally, I encourage all youths to be self reliant, to think and always act positive.
TMG> Do you socialise and when?
Habishaq> Yes I do. As a matter of fact, I socialize every opportunity i get.