Not Your Typical B2C Sales Cycle [The Power Of Being Different]

IMG_3853

While visiting Ha Long Bay two weeks ago I crashed in the apartment of a generous Vietnamese man. He invited me to visit his family in Hai Phong!

 

While living with his family, I was given the unique opportunity to practice one of the most valuable skills of entrepreneurship.

 

Sales!

 

IMG_3967My host's sister-in-law sewed women's pants as a source of income. After 50 pairs or more had been completed, their four girls (aged between 6 and 12 years old) would head to the market to sell them.

 

On my first day in Hai Phong the kids asked me if I would like to join them. It had been a while since my last official sales job and I hadn't hit the cold calls for about a month. For the sake of my career, I accepted. 😉

 

After maneuvering a heavily laden motorcycle to the market we unrolled the tarp and laid out our wares.

 

As is typical in any well-run sales organization, the kids put me through a sufficient sales training program.

 

It consisted of three words - 'Vao Mua Quan!'

 

This translates roughly to... Buy My Pants!

 

They also informed me that while there was no risk of being fired for missing 'quota', there would be ice cream if I helped sell enough garments.

 

IMG_3851Armed to the teeth with my sales script I began pounding the pavement in my 'territory'.

 

Smiling, I approached every woman who passed by and politely asked her to... buy my pants. We were busy all afternoon and  when the dust settled we had collected over 1,000,000 VND!

 

The kids were thrilled. This was about five times their usual amount of sales for one afternoon.

 

I was thrilled as well. Walking up and down the street that day had reminded me of a valuable sales lesson that is all too easy to forget.

 

--==--

 

It wasn't my decades of sales experience that made the difference. I don't have decades of experience.

 

It certainly wasn't due to any smooth talking 'sales trick' used to draw customers in to buy the product. (I only knew 3 words!)

 

Why then, did the pants fly off the tarp so quickly when we visited the market that day?

 

IMG_3849Hai Phong is not a 'hot' tourist destination in Vietnam. In all my time there I didn't see a single western person other than myself. Certainly, there had never been a western salesman pitching his wares from a tarp on the street before.

 

Even with only my 3 word 'sales script', I instantly had someone's full attention when I approached them, even if only for a second. In this second they had a good chance of at least looking at what we had to offer.

 

If the initial 'shock' factor hadn't been present they would never have given our products a first look.

 

In sales, we all know how hard it is to get attention from prospects.

 

  1. Emails don't get a response

  2. Voicemails get deleted after 2 seconds

  3. The prospect is still thinking about about their next meeting even when you get them on the phone

 

If you can't 'jolt' a potential customer out of their pre-existing mental focus then you'll have no opportunity to do everything else that's necessary to close the sale.

 

Being Noticeably Different is how you can grab those initial few seconds of attention that makes selling possible.

 

Armed with only three words, I drew people in to check out what we had to sell simply because I stood out.

 

If you're calling a prospect to just 'check in', 'follow up', or 'reach out' then your email or voicemail sounds just like everyone else's. You're just noise in the prospects ears and part of the 'buzz' of a normal day in business.

 

Being different allowed me to multiply top line revenue by five times on day 1 without even speaking the language.

 

Sure, this isn't the typical B2C transaction we're used to in the West, but there's a lesson here that you can use to apply to your own selling strategy.

 

Finding a way to be different and stand out may help you beat quota and it could be the difference between keeping or losing your job!

 

For me, it just means ice cream. 🙂

 

IMG_3986