Great Marketing Lesson From a Walk on the Wild Side
After dinner I went for a walk last week. But my walk was more eventful than normal. How could it not be? I am currently staying in Angeles City in the Philippines. Angeles presumably was named after angels, yet I see no evidence of angels here. On any night you can think of, a walk through the streets will be filled with participants in the sex trade.
Angeles is sometimes called a party town. I call it sleeze central. It is not pretty or classy in any way. Frankly it’s a crap hole. (So why am I here? Let me just say, it’s complicated.)
Not that I go to this part of town often. But I had finished my meal of tapas at the local Spanish resto, and was in a bouyant mood. So I felt like a walk on the wild side. Silly me.
I’ve seen hookers who look like very young teenagers. I’ve seen drug addled youngsters who wouldn’t know what time it is, and a lot more besides.
Angeles is the main sex district of the Philippines. Guys are everywhere, and they seem to come in a variety of forms:
- Young guys
- Middle aged guys
- Old guys
Most of them are white – German, American, and Australian. Occasionally I see Black Americans too.
It’s amazing how many times I’ve seen 70 year old white men with teenage girls. Makes my skin crawl but what would I know?
There’s also another type of guy I see often – Filippino guys dressed as girls. There are lots of girly boys here, as there are country wide. Even high rating tv shows feature girly boys. Makes me wonder about hormonal distribution amongst Asians compared to Caucasions (you rarely see a macho Filippino – even the straight guys have a soft quality about them), when witnessing this peculiarly Asian phenomenom.
But the real game here is played by the girls. The bar girls and the street crawling girls. There’s hoards of them and they’re here for one reason of course – to extract money from horny white guys in return for sex.
So I was taking my evening constitutional (I need to walk every day for my own sanity and health). As I walked along the broken sidewalk I’m accosted by the usual suspects – hookers promising me a good time, girly boys promising likewise, street kids begging for money, and spivs flogging cheap cigs and viagra. My standard response to the spivs is to grin and say ‘I don’t smoke’ and ‘I don’t need it!’, which normally gets a laugh from the seller.
In the midst of all of this I spy something interesting. A beautiful girl with a touch of class. Yikes! She looked like a pork chop in Israel. She said something provocative to me, to which I responded with a smile and said ‘What’s a nice girl like you doing in a hole like this?’
Her response staggered me. She said she was university educated, got retrenched, and was forced to sell herself so she could send money back to her family every week. A small conversation unsued and all the sexy talk disappeared. So I bought her a coffee, and she shared in a real way the burden of her life. I asked her some insightful questions and she shared the burden (and the hope) of her life. After half an hour or so we both said goodbye and she was smiling – she’d made a new friend that night. I felt guilty for taking her away from her ‘working time’, but I think she wanted to talk to someone on a more cerebral plane than she was usually accustomed to.
And here is where it gets interesting. Two days ago I got a message from her on Facebook. She told me she quit working the streets, and got herself a job in a department store. The money is not as good but she gains something much more valuable: her self respect.
So what did I learn from this story?
1. Some girls on the streets have good hearts, even though their career choice is questionable
2. Some girls on the streets are not girls
3. Old men with young girls are not always with their grand daughters
4. Be a good listener – you’ll be amazed what you’ll learn from people
5. Ask the right questions and positive change can happen
The Forgotten Art of Listening and Uncovering Problems
Most marketers have no idea about the consultative style of selling that I advocate. They may have heard about it, but that’s as far as it went. Indeed most marketers think selling is about hunting – catching and killing prey! Clueless souls. Mind you, some people are born hunters and by sheer force of will, and strength of personality, will subsume their prey, no problems.
But most are not hunters yet labor under the misguided view that you HAVE to be a hunter to make a buck. Baloney.
To me, success in sales is all about creative problem solving. Your prospect has a problem – your job is to figure out a way of solving it.
How to Get to the Heart of the Matter. Only way to uncover the problem and solve it is to ask plenty of questions so you can determine the best way forward. If you’re a home business marketer here are some questions you can ask:
- Why are you looking for a home business?
- What have you looked at so far?
- What didn’t you like about them?
- How long have you been looking?
- What’s the biggest frustration with your life right now?
- Are you looking for top up money to pay bills or do you want something more transformational?
- What is your income goal?
- If you reached that income with us, how would your life change?
- Do you have access to funds to get a business up and running?
Why Some People Don’t Like Asking Questions. I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve trained to use this technique but fail to use it. They KNOW it works so why don’t they use it? In a word – discomfort. They feel discomfort when getting personal with people. They think that prospects will not answer their questions, or might even take offense. They think it’s easier to just spiel! Go figure.
But the reality is that good prospects love to talk about themselves, and as long as you project confidence they will answer your questions. In fact I have lost count of the times when I have had to shorten the call for the simple reason that the prospect was talking too much!
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