Smiling doesn’t cost a thing

We had a local Christmas market again for the nth time. For time to time, it almost looks like the stuff may change, but I guess the macro economics have hit these sellers too, as only used goods and factory-direct salesmen had anything relatively new. Or old stuff that could be called new. When I walk through this sort of marketplace, I keep looking at the salespeople more than the stuff they sell. Of course, when a seller has his hands full of customers, then that’s a different thing.

But the thing that made me walk past pretty much every single stand was that the fact the salesmen lacked smiles.

Everybody who has ever worked on a cashier or similar knows that you should aim to make that every customer feel like a special case and treated accordingly, even thou in reality you’re just repeating the same action-response cycle.

For a common store salesclerk, the event ends when the purchase is made and done with. In a marketplace, the whole event is all about making sales and any proper salesperson won’t allow himself to fall unto his ass and start eating snacks… a thing I saw happening. Why would anyone want to buy anything from a person like that?

The same applies to anyone who has to figuratively sell their ideas, designs, paintings and so on to the employer, customer or funder. You can’t afford to go in be a fat little shit who doesn’t care if sales are made or not. There was actually a lot of stuff to see, but because there are multiple of merchants selling the same stuff, there’s no reason to stop at the worst salesperson. I’m willing to throw in some extra if the salesperson makes an effort too, thou that is very thing to do here.

Smile is a thing that will make the sold product a bit more sweeter, and will uplift the customer’s spirit. Naturally, a grumpy sales-event will make the customer feel grumpy, and worse of all, most likely won’t return either. It’s a tough job and can make you feel like shit, there’s no argument there, but that’s what you’re paid for. Then again, there’s just as big chances that it’ll make you feel awesome for making someone’s day.

It’s up to the service designers to make the whole sales event go smoothly and without troubles, and to make the customer feel good and wanting to return. The problem here is that the service designers rarely have hands-on experience on the happening, thus the lack of experience will affect the outcome. I’ve seen few retooled services that were severely hurt by the fact the designers didn’t get how the whole sales thing works. On paper a lot of things make sense and seem rational, but we all know that human beings all but those.

It’s sad really, I really went into the marketplace to look some impulse purchases, and ended up picking up books of Yoko Tsuno and Natasha, because the salesperson recognized me from earlier times and called me in to check his latest haul. We always have some British fudge salespeople and these people really put a twist on the traditional, sulky and silent market we have here. People surrounding their stance always have a smile and laugh at little things. These salespeople know their stuff and they recognize that there’s a level of showmanship involved in live marketing and on-site selling.

However, even if we put away the showmanship, the smiling and other things to do to attract the customer and make them feel like special snowflakes they aren’t, there is no reason in Heaven, Earth or Hell to sit down on your ass and start munching on chips in front of the damn customers and not to say a damn thing when somebody is inspecting your products. Interaction is your key to sell the products you have, otherwise you might as well go home, sit in front of the telly and watch horrible soap operas that Tommy Westphall imagined.

The thing is, it’s not even hard. It’s just as taxing as anything other. The salesperson needs certain spirit and set of mind to spend those six odd hours smiling, and attracting people to you particular stand and interact with these customers in order to make that sale. While some say that it takes the right kind of person, this is an excuse to say I don’t want to do it as it just takes willing to make a day’s living.

I can admit that graphic and visual designing is one of  my weaknesses, but that’s mainly because understanding the underlying elements don’t interest me, hence I do mediocre work with that part. Same with people who want to make sales in the marketplaces; if they can’t even ass to make the effort to make that all important eye contact, things are lost irreversibly.

However, how you’re dressed is also a matter. Usually, in marketplace it doesn’t matter too much what kind of clothes you have on, but they can give you an edge to make a great impression to the customer. For example, a guy selling all kinds of posters, metal plaques and such had sort of biker feeling to him, but as extremely nice and pleasant to talk to. The English fudge sellers have white aprons and otherwise fitting clothes fitting the whole pastry chef thing they had going on. I wonder when game developers abandoned their proper look and started to look like wannabe fratboys…

Just as Edgar Allan Poe wrote in How to write a Blackwood article, ‘there are various other tones of equal celebrity, but shall I mention only two more – the tone transcendental and the tone heterogeneous,’ one has to know a tone where you see beyond and inside the subject whereas the tone is just a mix of all tones. To sell your product on a market place, and elsewhere too, there is a need to find the perfect balance between the two tones and use the transcendental tone just enough to make yourself stand from the gray mass.

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