From working in sales, marketing and business strategy across many different countries, I have often wondered which country, culture or situations produce the most effective salespeople. You know the people I mean - charming types who seem to make deals against all odds and make it look very easy and fun.
In some parts of Europe people have been known to close large deals over coffee or dinner. In other parts of Europe, the only place a deal would ever be closed is in the boardroom with the walls decorated by fancy powerpoints and excel spreadsheets. I have heard of situations in Japan where a salesperson has advised his customer against closing a deal at the very last minute as the lifetime value of the customer relationship was considered to be more valuable than a hasty, short-term sale.
Today at Petra (350km south of Amman, Jordan) I bought a scarf without even realising I was being pitched to. By a ten year old girl. She reeled me in with a compliment about my beard in perfect English (warning bells should have rung really...its an awful beard..I look like a dirty santa claus). She then asked a few general questions and told me how she liked to speak English. Without referring to any of the goods on her stall, she told me that it would get cold after sunset and that I should take care. When she saw my eyes move to a particular scarf, she told me that the scarves I was looking at would tear easily. She took me to another part of the shop and showed me a cheaper scarf.
I wish someone had filmed the 10 minute episode. I hate shopping and I hate being sold to. This bright young girl made me do both things without me even realising. So in response to my ponderings, 10 year old Jordanians are currently high on my list of effective salespeople. Move over Glengarry Glenn Ross!
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