Friday, December 01, 2006

Sales Tales

My titles are beginning to sound suspiciously like the titles of those Archie's one-pager animations. Gag Bag, Fun Run. Jeez.

Been off the radar for a while, cuz of travel and some reviews that have pervaded my life in entirety. Now that I have some time to breathe, decided to plot my return to blogdom.

What's interesting to note, are the sales tactics of vendors who distribute free copies of newspapers like New York Metro by the subway. Especially during the morning commute. The traditional lot just holler out "free paper, free Metro" and distribute it, but obviously have a lower hitrate because commuters are in such a rush to get out there. Most of these distributors are homeless New Yorkers, who have been given this task through the outreach program, and usually earn a commission off the number of papers they get out there, beyond their target.

But I couldn't help but notice the sales acumen of one of these guys. At 42nd street-Times Square, which is the busiest subway terminal in the city, there are a batch of glass doors. Obviously these doors are usually opened by commuters, and then, half-assedly, held open for the next commuter, who rushes towards the door as if you're giving him your kidney, followed by a profuse thank-you (well, unless he's a kallu woman, who'll probably walk through the door without acknowledging you. skank!). This manner of etiquette does get tiresome, as does the process of opening a glass door every morning.

What the smart sales guy does? He holds the door open, stands on the other side with a big smile on his face. Naturally, by the basic law of human etiquette, you are thankful to him for holding the door open. What does he ask for in return? Take a paper, he says. And his hit-rate is alarmingly high! But of course. Not only does he employ that tactic, but he also comes up with clever ways to convey the paper's headlines. A few days back he was caught singing, "Enron-ron-ron, En-ron-ron".

Little things that make a big difference. The guy is clearly delivering numbers that are 120% better than his closest competitor, and all 'cuz of a simple methodology.

"Genius means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way" - William James

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