Street vendors take cold calling to a new level. Not only do they approach their targets where they live and play, but they also have no anxiety about it, no qualms about pushing a cart or hand truck to bestow their goods upon a hopefully wanting public. They work hard because it works. That is, unless corners are cut and that public gets a close-up look at discrepancies of service or lack-of-quality product. 

A few years ago, in a bank parking lot in Los Angeles, after completing my own banking transactions, I waited for a girlfriend to complete hers.  Several street vendors cruised the parking lot, it was lunch time and they were well aware of the area and the propensity for people to impulse-buy having just left the back with a hunger in their bellies. Two vendors were selling fresh strawberries by the basket. They walked in and out of cars, catching potential customers at their most vulnerable. I had a moment to study them as I waited. They were definitely a team as they cleared opposite ends of the parking lot toward meeting the middle.

I focused in on the vendor to my left and watched as he approached potential customer after potential customer. He had his schtick down pat, I was fascinated that he was able to distribute so much produce. And then, I became repulsed as he proceeded to pick his nose between customers while holding baskets of strawberries in his arms. Epic fail – for many reasons. Not only was I never going to buy from him, but I will never buy from a street vendor again.

When we fail to consider those who are watching, those who may be potential customers, we fail all around. I have heard many times, “You are only as good as your last sale.” This guy was never going to have a first sale, not with me anyway. How we approach, how we maintain, and how we leave customers determines our future. No matter whom your customer is – whether it’s a client or a candidate or a contact or even your boss. When you taint what you sell, there will be no sale.

There is no future for “Pretty Please with a Booger on top…” It just doesn’t work. Caring for your product or your service must come first. If your customer perceives that you don’t value what you sell, why should they? The fact is: “Perception is Reality.” And a good dose of it never hurt anyone.

by rayannethorn

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