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Put yourself in harm’s way

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I keep getting pitched by these young blokes just out of college trying to sell you DK DVDs and some BBC glossy books. They have no option but to earn by hustling on the streets. I have been seeing these young men and women for long and may be couple of years back I had bought something from them.

Its a tough racket.

It was around 6 pm and I was getting down my car trying to get into my grocery store and these young boys, looking desperate and tanned by the Indian sun, in their bright orange T shirts approached me and started their usual hustle trying to sell me some encyclopedia. Obviously I wasn’t going to buy; I was tired and wanted to just ignore them. I don’t know what hit me; I engaged with them and thought of doing an impromptu on-the-street-sales training. I asked them if they had any sales training at all. All they were told by their agencies, is to be polite and rattle off as fast as possible to potential middle and upper middle class gents and ladies getting off cars. 🙂

I told them I wanted to give them something free provided they are willing to listen to me. They agreed, which was a relief for me since I thought they might just ignore me and walk off to another car owner and pitch them. It would have hurt my ego.

Asked them to speak slow, have a smile, look straight into the customer’s eyes and ask them if they owned “world class” books and they could get lucky on the spot if they bought, because of the discounts. If the customer speaks, do not interrupt, nod with the same smile, tell them they again, it would be good for their kids or use it as a gifting option. And at last, “2 Nos from the customer and just go”. Wished them luck and was moving away. One of the guys asked me if I could show it to them as to how its done. Holy cow!!

Again I don’t know what hit me, I thought this could be fun and this will be a real test of me and I didn’t want to fail in front of those just-hatched chicks. I took one of their ID cards, carried the goods in my hand and straight went in to a guy who looked equally tired like me, getting out his car. Asked him if he thought these are great books and if he owned them. Thankfully he didn’t have them and he was new to the city. I told him he could have these books at throw away price. He said, maybe some other day. I said, this offer is today and its at the price of a medium pizza. That caught his attention. He paid me 700 INR and the deal was done under 10 minutes. Sold him 2 encyclopedias!! Whoo hoo and Phew! Relief.

Went straight to those guys whose eyes were now projected out of their sockets and were looking at me like they have spotted a movie star. Told them to stick to basics and never give up. Keep smiling and be proud of what they are doing. They couldn’t stop thanking me.

I loved doing this on the street. I know I was lucky, extremely lucky however it taught me to stay in the edge, be on the streets, meet more people and sell more. I loved putting myself in harm’s way and getting a small kick in the bargain to have done it, just like bungee jumping.

What crazy and whacked out things have you done lately?

💎 Head Business Development BPO | Startup Sales Coach | Digital Marketing Evangelist | 💎

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Originally published at on October 30, 2015.

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