A Tale of Two Challah Tables –DanaAugust 2012
I love to observe salespeople and how they relate to prospects. Clothing retailers' salespeople fall into one of three categories: those who stalk you (hate 'em), those who politely ask if you need help—and then leave you be if you decline (love 'em), and those who can't be found (shame on management).
A car salesman is a different breed. In my experience, he gloms onto you from the minute he smells a sale in the air. The monologue that ensues is his, telling you without stopping for air about this model's features and the make's superiority. You're just along for the ride (get it?).
Selling print is a tough line of work, I imagine, especially these days. What impresses print buyers? How do you, a sales rep, stand above the competition and get prospects' attention?
I have an idea. You engage them. Here's a perfect example—and I couldn't have scripted it better myself.
Every Friday morning, I head to the gym for an early Zumba class. There's always a table set up in the lobby of my JCC, where fresh loaves of challah bread are for sale. There are two different elderly women who handle this job. They alternate working there. Every week, one of them sits behind the table, her till at the ready.
Last Friday, Woman A was at her spot. She sat there waiting. As people came and went (she couldn't miss anyone; the table is right by the gym's only entrance and exit), she looked left and right to watch the foot traffic. I've never heard her utter a single word. She's just...there.
On alternate Fridays, Woman B sits behind the table. She's a real crackerjack. Even before I scan my member ID and pass through the turnstile, I hear her voice, talking to whoever's passing by her table. She is friendly. She's ever cheery. She takes pride in her appearance—her hair is just so, and her makeup has been skillfully applied. She makes a point of engaging everyone.
It's not about the bread; it's never about the bread. She tends to chat about the weather and where she's been traveling or where she's heading to. We've spoken about growing vegetables and tending flowers. She is just delightful. When I buy bread, I buy it from her. Sure, I love challah, but I find that I buy a loaf because she's the one selling it. Does this make sense?