Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Lessons From The Street in Advertising, Marketing & Sales...

Stop at a traffic signal in Hyderabad, or any major Indian city, and a little army "traffic signal hawkers" will accost you. They go around from car to car selling all sorts of knick-knacks from paintings and balloons to toys and gadgets...

At the Jubilee Hills Checkpost Traffic signal in Hyderabad, they've been trying to sell paintings and murals for months now, and I'd always wonder why anyone would buy stuff at a traffic signal!? Especially a paintings and sculptures... Until one day, when something actually caught my eye... I found myself having a closer look at a mural of Ganesha. The altruist in me joined hands with the supporter of arts in me (that does not surface too often). Also, I was bored, waiting for the signal to turn green.

Lesson : You can always try to provide value to a customer, by showing him things that might be of interest to him while he's got nothing better to do...

Lesson : Even if most people won't find your product valuable, you might still have a (niche) market large enough to be profitable.

Lesson : It's a number's game! Approach a 100 cars, you WILL find at least 5 customers!


Unfortunately, for me and for the kid, the mural did not look as nice close up, and so I had to pass on account of the Quality Principle.

Lesson : Sell good quality stuff! (Though for about 100 - 200 rupees, it wasn't that bad. Maybe I just didn't fit into his "niche market".)

Then, just yesterday, while I was waiting at the traffic signal, a hawker came up to my car window and started trying to sell car cellphone chargers. The minute he showed it to me, I was hooked. I've lost count of the number of time my phone has died on me while driving! "This is useful!", I thought. I'd been thinking about buying one, but never got around to going to a shop to buy one.

I checked it out, tested it in my car, put my phone to charge, and was ready to buy it immediately!

Lesson : Relevance! Sell relevant stuff... Try to be there when the customer is facing the problem that your product can solve... So you can give him some instant gratification when he buys your product! Try to catch him in that environment at the very least... So he remembers his needs/pains and can easily see/test how the product will solve his problems.

Selling car cleaning cloth is also a good idea... Also tissue paper... They should also sell car air fresheners... Stuff that we need/want in the car, thats not urgent/significant enough that we'll go into a shop specifically to buy...

We bargained... somewhat...
Hawker : 250 Rupees.
Me : Too expensive...
Hawker : How much will you give?
Me : 150
Hawker : Ok fine.. Take it! Deal.

I was like... Dang it... I shoulda said 100!

Lesson : When you manage to get a good profit from a customer... Don't start celebrating in front of him! Let the customer feel satisfied that he got a good bargain! You won, let him "win" too.

I could have haggled further, but in keeping with my Haggling Principle... I let it go... : )

5 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Sir, I guess you forgot the most imp point.

Yu convert the guys need to a want/desire

Pratik Stephen said...

point taken!
: )

Anonymous said...

i like...!! :)

Anonymous said...

Ah the Long tail ?

Anonymous said...

2 cents from me !
Traffic signals are places where pple would come and go and the loyalty factor of a customer to a seller is minimal. Hence the repeat purchases of a customer "y" due to previous interactions with a seller "x" is practically zero. In such a scenario the optimal strategy of "x" is to pitch more (as rightly said by you - pitch 100 and sell 5). Having said that, once "y" agrees for something more than he should have then "x" would try to close the deal right there and then and move on to the next one. So the last point "win and let win" kinda contradicts "go for volume" at some scenarios.