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Selling Self

May 5, 2010

A sea of carpets

When I visited the International Carpet Expo in Delhi and the Furniture Fair in Bangalore the atmosphere was similar to that of any busy commercial street in India. Sellers call passers by from their stand and, as soon as their wares are shown the slightest interest, the stall holder erupts into frenzied animation to convince you to look at everything on offer.

The selling techniques at TexStyle India are quite different. If you show a prolonged interest, someone comes to talk to you softly so as to easily engage a conversation, their aim to evaluate what kind of prospect they are talking to.

The carpet-type will try to sell you something by the time you leave. The textile-type will have collected enough information and attached it to your business card to know what information to send you after the event.

At any event where selling is involved, whether exhibitors are young design entrepreneurs or hardcore business men, they will try their best to provide you with as much information as they can and make sure you leave with their business card at least. If you are not particularly interested, they will talk to you anyway.

Based on this, I distinguish 3 sales profiles, knowing that the 3rd one is rare in India:

  • the carpet-type: anyone is a potential buyer from the moment they come into (long distance) sight, aggressive style, talk a lot, listen a bit. Good to shift high volumes of things that are appealing (carpet) or easy to sell (soap).
  • the textile-type: how much, what, and why would this potential customer buy? Tend to be inquisitive, communicative and will offer you what you want. Good to build long term relationships with customers.
  • the anti-type: not happy to be here. Won’t talk unless being talked to, not intrusive or irritating, will pick up business cards to add to the mailing list. Will keep the conversation going with the most interesting people.

Personally, I’m a mix of the textile and anti-types, depending on how I feel and if I’m promoting myself (anti-type) or someone else (textile-type).

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