sales sidewalk seller

Sales: Sidewalk Seller

Love them or hate them, the pop-up stalls selling gadgets no one really needs, always gather a crowd. Whether it’s the microphone and loudspeaker, the exaggerated movements, or the curiosity of what other people are looking at that draws you in, it’s hard not to peek in even if it’s just for a few minutes to find out what is going on.

On a Saturday afternoon, while enjoying Mee Goreng at a local Hawker Centre in Singapore, we couldn’t help but eavesdrop on the workings of a pop-up stall selling a plastic gadget that helps fold cloths. We watched on as he waited for people to walk by and show the least bit of interest in what he was doing then would launch into his sales demonstration. He would start by talking about the problem his product fixed – the mess you make of your t-shirts while trying to find a certain shirt – then went on to demonstrate how easily his product fixed this problem. Over the course of an hour he had times that his audience would leave mid presentation leaving him talking to himself for only a moment until another group passed showing interest. Nine times out of 10 the group would stay until the end and at least 1-2 people from the crowd would buy his product.

This might sound like a lot of work to some people, but how many of these plastic tools do you think would sell just sitting on a shelf in a store or behind a website waiting for someone to realise they actually need this product? The truth is to sell a large quantity of any product there are a set of steps everyone needs to follow. A process so common that even this sidewalk seller knows, yet so many of us neglect to employ.

5 Steps to a Successful Sales Presentation

  1. Get in Front of a Large Number of Your Ideal Target Audience. Your ideal customer might not be at a shopping centre on a weekend, they might be at a certain conference or exhibition, members of an organisation, or readers of a certain website. Find out who your target customer is and where they are.
  2. Demonstrate Your Product’s Features and Benefits. Show your prospect how your product works, what problems it solves, and how specifically it can help them. If you can’t demonstrate your product in person, demonstrate it in video and get the video in front of the right audience.
  3. Get the Customer Involved. Have the customer interact with the product you are selling, have them try it out to see how easy it is, how soft it feels, or how fun it is. When the customer gets involved they can imagine themselves using the product, making it easier for them to buy.
  4. Ask for the Sale. After the prospect understands the product, how it can benefit them, and how easy it will be to implement, ask for the sale. In the case of the sidewalk seller he asked by saying “We have it in red, blue, green and yellow. What colour would you like?” Find out what closes work best for you.
  5. Ask Again. If the customer poses an objection, overcome their objection and ask again. Don’t give up after 1 “No”. Again, in the case of the sidewalk seller he asks “What else can you get in Singapore for $10”. The majority of sales are closed after the second or third attempt.

You don’t have to sit on a sidewalk with a loudspeaker blasting your every word to employ these techniques, you just need to be able to show people how your product can benefit them. So find a way to get in front of your prospects, and make sure to follow these steps to maximise results.

Author Profile

Tom Abbott
Tom Abbott is the author of 'The SOHO Solution' and 'Social Selling' and the creator of the online sales training platform SOCO Academy. Sales leaders engage Tom for his proven solutions to building high performance sales teams that exceed targets and for motivational keynotes that energise their audiences.