Peddler power – master salesman

This article was posted on Thursday, July 31st, 2014

The internet and bookshop shelves are littered with advice on the how-to of sales; everyone from Dale Carnegie (yes I am that old); to Richard Branson, Jim Collins and Stephen Covey has the secret to sales success. But I think the real deal can be found on the street.

Stop at a street light or robot anywhere in South Africa and you are swarmed upon like bees on honey by flag waving patriots of every soccer-playing nation. These guys have mastered the fundamentals of salesmanship and remind us (or teach us) that by getting the basics right we are more than halfway to scoring.

Like any good striker, these sales people have an uncanny ability to identify the easy goals:

  • Moms or dads with kids are nothing shy of a sure back-of-the-net shot. If the car has sport paraphernalia hanging from the review mirror, lying across the dashboard or stuck on the back window, the driver is as good as set to score an own goal. Open windows are simply open goals.

Once they see the gap, their skills (not to mention their speed in chasing down a moving car) are impressive.

  • Patriot to parrot; with some clever footwork a Nigerian agent is shouting ‘Viva Italia’, or the loyal Bafana backer is England’s biggest supporter. Their ability to pick up the subtleties that cue their sales opener is nothing short of impressive; be it a smart question or their radar sense for accent or clues.
  • Their Prima Donna flattery and bargaining power gets most of us putting the red card away and pulling out our wallets.
  • Teamwork ensures that no shot at goal is missed; passing the sale to a fellow striker is part of the strategy.

Most defence tactics are pointless against their relentless attack.

  • Flags on windows just indicate a willing buyer and they come bearing complementary mirror socks and jerseys to test your fandom.
  • As soon as your team or country is no longer in with a chance, they question your future support strategy.
  • And if, to everyone’s shock, you declare your disinterest in soccer, out from their back pocket comes the green and gold flag of the Boks!

So when next we run out on the sales field, we should be sure to have our basics well practised: visibility, communication, persuasion, organisation, negotiation and a never-say-die resilience!

Embrace the peddler power of the pavement; where a red robot means go.

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