If you are in sales, at some point someone has told you that “persistence will pay off.” There is a difference between stalking your client and persistence. The stalkers are the ones that make customers say, “He just won’t leave me alone.” Persistence is admired when a prospect describes the seller as always there to help in the decision process. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. While in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with a group of friends, we found ourselves deciding how to label our new found friend, Thomas. Anyone who has carried a bag can appreciate a good sales person and all of us on this trip had tried our hand at selling. So, Thomas became a trip highlight. We first met Thomas on a street corner when he spotted the six of us and knew we were tourists — you know, the camera in one hand, map in the other? We were trying to find the flea market at nine in the morning. One couple in the group had been there before and said it was an experience to haggle for some souvenirs.
Thomas had targeted us like any good sales person would. We needed help and he could tell we were headed towards the flea market area. He also knew the shops didn’t open until 11 am. He knew our problem before we did. That’s a good seller; he also had a good solution in mind to solve that problem. We had gone past droves of tour operators shouting out deals for boat trips and kayak rentals a few block back. Thomas approached us calmly and asked if we needed directions. When we asked for help finding the flea market, he told us we were headed the right direction but told us of the opening time. He waited for our confusion, for this new knowledge to set in. We were 30 minutes from our hotel with nothing to do. “How will we kill the next two hours?” one friend asked.
No one had the answer until Thomas offered a solution. He said he could take us out a boat for $10 per person for a 30-minute boat ride. He talked about a great beach we could only see from a boat. There was an immediate yes from everyone. It was only $10, easy decision. It didn’t eat up all the time but it was a good start. Now looking back, it was actually $60 for six people or $2 per minute, but the cost was presented in a way that made it easy to say yes. As we began to talk and thank Thomas for showing up on that street corner, he confessed and said he had been following us for three blocks. He thought we may be headed to a dead end and knew we would likely need some advice. Stalker??? Not when he provided value.
For anyone that has or will take a boat tour down in Cabo, the selling didn’t real start until we had gotten on the boat. First offer, do you need to stop and get some refreshments? Why, yes we did. Soon, we had bought a cooler full of beverages from his colleague. Then, after the guided tour of the beach line and near completion of our 30 minutes, Thomas pointed out the other boats off in the distance whale watching. Remember, we had 90 minutes left till the shops opened. The cost nearly tripled, but everyone was so excited, so far the service had been excellent, we were ready to buy more.
After tipping and refreshments, the trip was nearly four times higher in cost than initially expected. Well worth it, as it was probably the best part of the entire vacation. Thomas was persistent, he targeted the opportunity, found a way to let us say yes to a low cost initial experience, and then offered more solutions. We may have joked a couple of times about our boat captain stalker, but any sales person could take some cues from Thomas.
photo by Katrina Snaps