What Jadudi’s Sh6m fundraiser teaches about successful selling

  • The marketing was free or frills. It was real and not a reality show. It was human.
  • And the payment process: “Just check your M-Pesa balance. You have 204 bob? Send it. You have a loose 4K that you will burn by end of today? Send it. You have 130 bob? M-Pesa it. It will mean a lot.” How much simpler can payment get?

Why did we buy Jadudi’s sale? For those coming in late, Emmanuel Jadudi is a 3rd year University student who appealed for funds to remove a recurring cancerous brain tumor. He sent his appeal via Instagram to (Saturday Nation) columnist Jackson Biko, who in turn, via his award winning blog, reached out to Kenyans who raised a staggering 6 million shillings, in little less than 48 hours. The target was about 15% of that (1 million). Why did we buy? On the surface, it’s easy to say, the blog has a fanatic following and so we bought Biko and not Jadudi. I disagree.

What if it the sale wasn’t on an award winning blog? Or, it wasn’t a Kenyans for Kenya initiative (re Westgate saga) by Goliath players Kenya Red Cross and Safaricom which raised 30 million shillings in 24 hours? Would we have bought with the same intensity still? If you think no, think again. Another columnist in the Sunday Nation (Gerry Loughran) early this year wrote of 67 year old Alan Barnes in the UK, who had his collar bone fractured during a mugging. Reading his story, 21 year old Katie Cutler, an ordinary beautician, set up an online donations page to raise £500 (Shs. 80,000) to “buy a few comforts for Alan.” She raised a whopping £312,000 (about 50million) in seven days! She didn’t even know Alan nor had she met him. In the article, Alan wasn’t even asking for help. And yet donations came from Canada, Holland, Britain, America, Saudi Arabia and many other parts of the world. Practical help also came from plumbers, electricians and other fundis. Several schools started fundraisers to support the cause. Katie wasn’t an award winning beautician nor was the salon she worked in, a Goliath player. She was “Wanjiku”- (a commoner). Why did the world buy so passionately?

We bought because we connected with and believed in the product (we were moved by the story), the marketing oozed genuineness and spread like a virus; and the payment process was made easy. Being moved does not only mean driven to tears; even guilt (I don’t want to be seen as a bad person so let me just give) and peer influence (If Jones is giving I am too) could drive us to buy. The marketing was free or frills. It was real and not a reality show. It was human. And the payment process: “Just check your M Pesa balance. You have 204 bob? Send it. You have a loose 4K that you will burn by end of today? Send it. You have 130-bob? Mpesa it.  It will mean a lot.” How much simpler can payment get?

A genuine desire to help shines through the seller and is what keeps the buyers attention. That’s why buyers say things like, “he was so confident”; “I liked him”; “he was so nice and helpful”. A product or service the buyer connects with drastically increases the chances of its purchase. Unfortunately, few sellers have products designed with the buyer in mind nor do they differentiate themselves from the army of other sellers. They don’t stand out. And though the smiling fuel station attendants may stand out with a genuine desire to help and have the fuel I need, the fact that they don’t take VISA will see me avoid them. Making it simple for the buyer to, well, buy, is critical to the success of a sale. The decision to purchase is many times a fleeting emotional one which, if not immediately acted upon, will vanish. Poof! Imagine if the appeal was “Deposit any amount to account number xxx?” I doubt the fundraiser would have been as successful. Paradoxically, these sales feats are not replicated with every attempt. If they did the term donor fatigue wouldn’t exist. Which means that, even your award winning product or service must continue to remain relevant to the buyer’s need, if it’s to thrive.

Sales Pitch wishes Jadudi and his family divine strength in this difficult time

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