This weekend was my first attempt at selling strangers homemade dog biscuits face to face. Unlike the veil of social media, or getting shops to sell them on my behalf, this time I actually had to make eye contact, read body language, build rapport, and generally mill around in the cold for hours on a chilly Sunday morning.
As I stood, feeling the cold slowly moving up through my shoes and into my feet, I started to think about how niche my product actually was. For a start, the punter – embracing market speak – really needs to have a dog. Secondly, said punter has to have an inclination to feed said dog a mysterious new food. This is about where my excellent sales skills should step in, to convince said punter that said new mysterious new food is the best thing said dog has ever had. I may be complicating this a little, but you get the idea.
The first ‘proper’ job I ever had was selling cutlery in a department store in Cardiff, Wales. I was desperately hoping I would be able to draw on this honed sales technique: creating a need, mirroring body language, creepily using their first name unnecessarily in sentences ‘That’s right Pete it is’ etc.
That was until I remembered that I sucked at selling cutlery. Long story short, I sold two bags. Apparently it was a slow day for everyone, which made me feel a bit better. The majority of the day was spent staring out into the void, watching a guy with a small dog circle the market, mentally willing him to come over in my direction – he did in the end, lovely guy, second sale of the day, Whoo! – and trying to get Michael Jackson’s ‘Black or White’ song out of my head, which was stuck on repeat for some unknown reason.
All that aside, I’m still chalking it up as a success. I managed to get my arse in gear and sort the stall out for future endeavours. And when factoring in the $10 that some random lady, for no reason that I could make out, gave me towards the cost of the stall, I roughly broke even. Plus, that random lady reminded me of the kindness of strangers, which was probably worth the mornings effort alone.