In this 4-minute read, I reveal why I’d back Del-Boy against the legions of sales gurus any day of the week, including Sundays.
I go on lots of training courses, mainly online now since someone in Wuhan thought having a cheeky bit of bat soup was a good idea.
And over the years I have heard lots of self-appointed gurus and experts talking about all manner of stuff.
I’m particularly interested in sales and marketing.
Some of the speakers on these courses are very knowledgeable, full of bright ideas and genuinely passionate about helping others.
However, a lot of them ain’t.
The ones that fall into ‘I feel like I’ve wasted an hour/day/weekend of my life being here’ brigade nearly always tend to make marketing sound more mystical and complicated than it is.
The term marketing comes from the first retail experiences known to man and woman – marketplaces.
The Return of Jel Boy
Back in 1997 -98, I ran successful market stalls for a couple of years across London and the south-east. My favourite pitch being Wembley Market which was literally in shadows of the iconic twin towers.
These were the glory days of the markets before the internet and out of town shopping centres knocked them bandy.
The markets were full of characters, real entrepreneurs, wheelers and dealers and sales and marketing experts.
Here are four top ‘market magic’ tips a Wembley legend ‘T-shirt Tony’ (he sold t-shirts) shared with me.
He also told me about the legendary Lofty Cohen and the origins of the phrase ‘what a load of old flannel.’ But these are other stories.
Get your spread right:
Some traders called the way their stalls looked ‘the spread.’ Or ‘The flash’. Everything was neat, tidy, prices were clearly shown, and the best offers were always at the front of the stall. Everything was geared up to make it easy for the punters to have a look around, feel comfortable and spend money.
In a digital world, your website is your stall, so set it out with care. Think about how accessible and user friendly it is? Is it inviting, easy to navigate and filled with warm, conversational copy and HITS based content?
When you think of Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses you can’t help but smile. A lot of his popularity was down to the way he sold things. Call it what you like patter, spiel or ‘presentation’ it’s the same thing. I met some real-life Del Boys including one supplier, whose van was his warehouse on wheels, he ended up selling me ‘Tootingham’ footballs.
Even in real life, the best market traders had a pitch for their products that was slick without being corny, rehearsed with no sense of being scripted. They knew what they were selling inside out, as do exceptional estate and letting agents who know their market, their offering, and their value.
Don’t be shy:
What’s the point in having a great product or service if you are too timid to shout about it. Market traders were legendary for their use of ‘calling out’. In busy marketplaces, you had to do something to make your stall stand out from the others all vying for business.
On Wembley Market, there was a fella called ‘Bald Ronnie’ whose stall was in a dead-end around the corner from the busiest thoroughfare. It was at first glances a crap spot.
Ronnie used a loudspeaker every week to grab people’s attention simply by saying ‘Raaaaaand tha cornahhhhh’. It aroused people’s curiosity and got them to venture around the corner.
Agency Tip: What do you do to let people know you’re open/available for business? How are you grabbing attention? Content marketing when done correctly is THE best way of staying in touch in a light, non-salesy way.
Have fun: Remember visiting a market when you were a kid? The best sellers made you laugh, they were fun, a little bit cheeky and always seemed to be enjoying themselves. That’s because they were.
I could write a small book about some of the crazy capers and hilarious characters I met, even in a brief period of doing it.
Agency Tip: Don’t be afraid to show you have a sense of humour. If you are bored with what you do – find something else you enjoy doing more. Life’s too short as this whole COVID- 19 experience is teaching us all.
Of all the above tips, I think having fun is the most valuable. As having fun breeds good energy and good energy is transferable into everything you do especially when you are in front of or dealing with a client.
You know it makes sense.