Acknowledge, stoop to conquer and engage, for juicy dividends

Whether you are in direct selling or not, there are several non-selling actions you make, or don’t, that get, or lose, you the sale. These go beyond the seasonal and traditional marketing merchandise and birthday/anniversary gifts. Here are three such.


The most fundamental need for any human being is the desire to be appreciated. This need holds true irrespective of age, race, wealth status, religion or culture. When a buyer walks into a banking hall or show room, and sees a queue (or crowd) he knows he must wait. The small action by the cashier/attendant of looking up to meet his eyes pays big dividends. The buyer feels acknowledged, appreciated.

It is a breath of fresh air to see ‘queue managers’ or the (trained) askari who come by to ask what service the customer needs because many times it is something as minor as confirming bank balance or depositing a cheque but they don’t know that alternatives exist (like cheque deposit box or a mobile app). And so they queue and silently curse the process. The seemingly minor act of pointing a finger to a buyer and saying ‘ I’ll be with you in a moment’ could be the difference between him referring others to you or even him giving you an ear to explain about the new product you launched. Acknowledgement is how you feel when the stall owner tells you, “Karibu jeans” (Welcome, we sell jeans).

Stoop to conquer

A bank representative was stymied with what to do to get this client to transfer Kes. 8million shillings he held in another bank to hers. The client only had a loan with her bank. He had refused to budge about transferring the Kes. 8million. He was semi-literate, spoke broken Kiswahili and ran a scrap yard in Industrial Area. But he was financially literate and could convincingly demonstrate that the Kes.8million was held where  it was getting the best return. Finally though, the bank rep got him to agree. You’ll never guess how?

She got her boss, who spoke the client’s mother tongue, and both paid him a surprise visit. The sight of two sharply dressed bankers in his ‘dirty’ yard, competently conversing in his mother tongue, and genuinely eager to learn about his business won him over. After a tour of the yard and having lunch at his favourite kibanda the bankers left. The issue of the transfer was never raised again; a week later though, the client called the lady. He wanted an account to transfer the 8 million plus a further 5 million she didn’t know about. And why? “I was touched by your action. I have never imagined people of your class coming to my yard.”

Buyer engagement

“I have never gotten their business three years running, but I never stop helping them. I do this to remain in their sights. For instance, the link they had shared in their advert last month did not direct the reader to the information he needed but to another page that required the reader to look for the desired information. Internet users are impatient and resent this, I advised them. I was pleasantly surprised when they wrote thanking, and letting me know that they had made the changes and gotten a higher response rate immediately thereafter.”

This was shared to be by a reader two years ago and today he still hasn’t got the business but has gotten two others which are referrals from this one. In the Internet age, now, more than ever, sharing useful content with buyers is becoming an indispensable gambit in engaging the buyer; to assure the buyer that you are with him for the long haul and not just the moment. This calls for commitment to helping the client succeed in what he does by helping him solve his problems

Many other non-overt selling techniques exist. Which ones have worked for you?

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