Valuable Selling Lessons I learnt on Mumbai Local Train
Travelling in a local train of Mumbai is an experience in itself. And if you get a place to sit, the ride becomes all the more enjoyable. This was one such rare ride where I could not only enter the train but also got a place to sit.
‘An erasable notebook’ came the voice in a train coach. Suddenly I saw some people looking at the seller who was selling a notebook on which you can write, erase, re-write and keep repeating. His power pitch or Unique Selling Proposition (USP) ‘An erasable notebook’.
I found some people looking at the seller with interest. Out of nowhere he was able to generate a prospect base. He swiftly recognised their interest and moved towards them.
Then started the demo. He noticed the deepened interest of a couple of them and handed over the ‘erasable notebook’ only to them. Dekho, dehne ka paisa nahi lagta… (Check it out, no money for checking out). I don't know if you recall an advertisement of a detergent that had a tag line ‘Pehle istamaal karo, phir vishwas karo’ (First use it, than believe it).
Now I saw some more people jumping into the fray as his prospecting continued. I saw him giving the sample copies only to those who according to him qualified from ‘cold leads’ to ‘hot leads’.
By this time one person enquired about the cost. I found an impressive way of telling the cost. ‘Do special chai ki kimat main ye book lijiye’ (take this book at the cost of two special tea’) and then he disclosed the price as Rs. 22/- (One third of a dollar). Amazing way of connecting the cost to his daily routine and showing the cost benefit analysis, I thought.
This person had a doubt. ‘Ye kharab ho jayega’ (this will get spoiled). The seller seemed to have answer to this as well. ‘Ye aachha maal hai sahab, kharab nahi hoga (this is a good product Sir, won't spoil). Aapke bachche ye dekhkar khush ho jayenge (Your children will be very happy to see this).
‘Unke padhai ke liye bahut kaam ki cheez hai (Very useful for their studies). I could see an earnest emotional appeal by the seller. He was in perfect control of the situation while appealing to the emotions of this buyer.
The person ultimately bought the ‘erasable notebook’ and started looking at it as a priced possession.
Other people who were in the fray were by now at various stages of the buying process. And I saw the seller handing each one of them simultaneously with equal ease, comfort and confidence.
Here is what I thought he followed as a selling cycle:
- Qualifying the lead from cold to hot
- Giving the demo
- Handing over the sample to hot leads
- Handling objections and
- Closing a sale.
In 10 minutes time this seller sold some 10-12 erasable notebooks and got down at the terminating station.
As he was hurrying towards to next local I caught up with him and asked him how he created this magic?
His reply. Maal achha hona chahiye Saab (product should be good Sir); ‘aur baar baar vahi baat bolne ka Jazba hona chahiye’ (and you should have the passion to keep talking the same thing).
Ye jazba tumko kahase aata hai? (where do you get this passion from?) I asked. Mere pariwaar ki raat ki roti kamani hai saab (i have to earn tonight's bread for my family Sir).
By the time I was thinking of the next question, he was long gone possibly to re-write his survival and success story with ‘erasable notebook’.