Recently, there seems to be a tremendous increase in the number of people selling manual shavers near the train stations. They would be wearing black t shirts, rather youthful looking and always ‘breaking the ice’ by asking “Do you use manual shavers or electric shavers?”
I happen to bump into them again yesterday. So this guy in black t shirt was walking with me and literally ‘chased’ me down to get me to answer his question and to get me interested in the shaver that he was trying to sell. First and foremost, much respect to this guy for the hustle. I mean it takes balls to approach people in the street and try to sell them stuff. You literally need balls of steel and a face as thick as a bible, because you are GUARANTEED to be rejected over and over and over again.
This sets me thinking. Are these people doing something right or something wrong? And what’s the best sales tactic that will not only crush all your competitors but annihilate them into oblivion? Does such a tactic even exist?
First, let’s look at what Mr Razor guy or the company is doing wrong. It boils down to one word. Context. People generally have a very poor impression of people approaching them randomly in the street. Firstly, it’s because you are stopping people from doing what they really want to do (most likely traveling to some other place). It’s similar to those annoying pop up ads that keep popping up when you are trying to watch a freaking youtube video. And people just tune out. They don’t even care if your ad is the most brilliant ad made in the history of men. The context of interrupting people is just extremely negatively frowned upon.
Next problem. Sales pitch in a matter of seconds. Most people are not going to stop for you. So when selling in such a setting, you have to let the person know the sales pitch in a matter of SECONDS. I would say the first sentence that comes out of your mouth has to be so enticing that it grabs someone’s attention immediately. In this case, the black shirt fellow has to probably convince me why the manual shaver that he is selling is the most brilliant shaver of all time and that it’s going to revolutionize shaving for me. Or basically give me the shaver for FREE to try it out. And truth be told, even if given for FREE, he might still have a hard time finding people to give to because people are also hard wired to believe that there is no free lunch in the world and a free gift in the street generally means a trade off in time and your contact details.
So the odds are heavily stacked against Mr Shaver even before he opens his mouth. But is there something he is doing right?
Yes. Summarized in one word. Hustle. The way he approached and chased down potential clients, day in, day out, facing hundreds of rejection. That is fantastic. If he was to combine it with the two other things, he would be able to CRUSH all his competition. And the two things are: Context and Value.
The problem with approaching random strangers in the street about a manual shaver is that there is literally no context. Does the stranger need a shaver? Does he have a shaving problem? Is he dealing with financial difficulty? Is he rushing off for a business meeting that he is already fifteen minutes late? All these are questions that Mr Shaver won’t be able to answer.
Now let’s imagine if Mr Shaver set up his little shaving booth inside an electronics stall selling shavers. Now he knows that anyone who comes to this part of the shop is at the very least interested in looking at all kinds of shavers. There is already a context of the potential buyer being interested. His chances of making a sale if he is a good sales person sky rockets immediately.
Now imagine this. If he was to set up a website to sell his razors. And if he was to either buy google ads or facebook ads targetting people who are interested in shavers. Again, the context is set. Anyone who goes to his website is at the very least interested in the purchase of a shaver. Again, his chances of making a sale sky rockets and in today’s digital space, he can literally reach out not just in Singapore but all over the world.
If you get the context right, you have won half the battle. The other half lies in the sales pitch. I attend many sales pitches in a given week. People looking for investment, people looking for a job in the company, people trying to sell me their products and services. The list goes on. But let me tell you the people that ultimately will get a deal. Those are the people that comes into the meeting with the answer to this question. “What’s in it for me?”
Too many people or companies are trying to tell me how good they are. They have serviced big clients, they have won this and that award, they are the first in class, blah blah blah. It all comes across as bullshit boasting. You need to answer a simple question. “What’s in it for me?” which is translated to : What value are you bringing to the table? VALUE. You got to think of giving more than receiving.
If the case of Mr Shaver, he has got to convince me that his produce is the best in the market and only for today, it is sold at a super discounted price or even for FREE. Bring me the value before you try to sell me. Or better still, don’t try to sell me. Just tell me why your product or service will improve my life and bring me tremendous value.
Combine context with value. This is called working smart.
Then you got to have amazing work ethics which translate to hard work and hustling. That is called working hard.
Combine these two and I guarantee you will CRUSH and annihilate ALL your competition.