Monday, 30 June 2008

Singapore Soft Sell

They say it's an Art or that some people can and some can't, but selling is a skill that can be learnt. And I like learning, especially from other's mistakes. Let's take this week's lesson: A pretty, slim lady wearing a simple, elegant black dress with a clipboard & a smile.
Only people selling things smile in Singapore and she was atypically posh for weekday afternoon door to door sales. This wasn't going to be ice cream (14yo students taking on their mobiles), yakult (vaguely athletic middle-aged women in sweat pants), Starhub cable TV (16yo students, also on mobiles) or even Government health inspectors (middle-aged men).

"Hello", she says, "it's Okay, I'm not selling anything." (Uh oh) "I just want to ask a few questions."
Not terrible as opening lines go; it tried to cover enough bases to get to the real pitch, which is where our lesson begins.
"Is there a working adult at home?"
My stunned and confused silence was mistaken for lack of comprehension or audibility. She leaned in a little and repeated the question. As I was sat in front of a combined 48inches of computer screens, 2 keyboards and associated paraphernalia, I was forced to conclude I didn't look like a working adult, or perhaps an adult with a job, or perhaps a adult?
I made a weak hand gesture towards the massed technology and, in her mind, I was transformed from YouTube layabout to digital knowledge worker. She started her pitch about heart health or something. I cut to her chase: "You want donations?" She did and strangely, I wasn't in a giving mood.
She moved on to next door and I saw her later going around to the flats with no answer previously. Pretty thorough and all the more reason not get known as a soft touch on the circuit. I still can't figure out how that "working adult" stuff is supposed to work but to persist with a clearly stillborn sales script shows a lack of tactical flexibility. I learnt something; I wonder if she did?