Monday, July 7, 2008

I Found A Mini-Sales Superstar In Vietnam

While holidaying in South East Asia earlier this year I was besieged by young boys selling postcards. “10 postcards for a dollar” to be exact and I heard the phrase more times than I care to remember.

After buying my postcards in Cambodia, Thailand and again in Vietnam I really had no further need for postcards. But that of course didn’t stop the onslaught of sales inquiries. The persistence of these young boys (some I’m sure as young as 4) was to be applauded, but I wasn’t keen to come home with additional luggage completely comprised only of postcards. It got to a stage where my automatic response was “no” when we saw anyone approaching with postcards.

Until that is one sunny afternoon in the seaside locale of Nha Trang Vietnam where I sat sipping cocktails with friends. A young boy, maybe 11 approached postcards in hand. I gave the standard response and was about to turn back to my cocktail when he pulled out a Connect Four board. His “sales pitch” to me was that we’d play Connect Four – if he won, I’d buy the cards, if I won, the cards were mine free.

My husband ordered another beer at this stage, knowing that all hope was lost as soon as this boy pulled out the game. You see, not only do I love games, but I’m also a sucker for an innovative sales pitch.

So we played, I got beaten (badly). We played again and I got beaten again. I cut my losses then and paid slightly higher than the normal postcard price for my 20 gleaming new postcards.

This eleven year old boy knew more about selling than many I encounter who’ve had a formal education.

1. He was different! Imitating everyone else would have gotten him nowhere in this case.
2. He made me an offer I found hard to refuse. The lure of a battle of the brains for the cards was a bit of excitement for my afternoon.
3. He had a win / win situation. He was a connect four rock star, but c’mon what tourist is really not going to pay anything if they were to win?
4. He never stopped selling. He asked me to play again after the first game.
5. He left me with a smile on my face. True value for money if you ask me.

I think any of us in sales (and isn’t that all of us really?) could learn something from this mini-sales dynamo.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments


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