Sunday 25 September 2016

Traders Should Add “Entertainer” To Their CV’s

Customers are wonderful. They are our lifeblood and we dwell on their every action in anticipation of the holy grail - a sale. But along the way, customers can do things that mildly irritate us, and traders are often drawn to say "If I could have a dollar for every time that happened, I would be rich." Usually they are talking about free entertainment.

My neighbours and I were discussing that very point yesterday and we each had examples of irritating customer actions. I sell yachting caps at the front of my stall and many times a day customers will remove a cap from its packaging, adjust the band, try it on, take a photo of themselves, and then put back the cap (sometimes in its packaging), and walk off. Annoying, right? My neighbour on Saturday was selling those colourful water beads which he displays in big glass bowls. Customers constantly dip their hands in the bowls, and then flick off the moisture (and the odd bead) before moving off. Another neighbour was selling laser pointers and I lost count of the number of times customers picked up a pointer to shine it to the ceiling or in their friends faces.

These are all aspects of the free entertainment we traders provide our customers and yes, it would be nice to convert each of those actions into a dollar. But each of my neighbours understood that it is the free entertainment bit that is important. Customers do enjoy those activities. They come to our market so they can photograph themselves wearing yachting caps, dip their hands in colourful water beads, shine lasers, and perform a multitude of other activities as part of their shopping adventure. When we stop entertaining them we might as well pack up shop and those single dollars will be totally irrelevant.

I often tell my friends that traders are truly multi-talented business people. We are designers (stall layouts), engineers (stall set-ups), merchandisers, sales people, accountants, negotiators, and now I am going to add another important quality - entertainers. Each of us has the potential to entertain 30,000 people on a good trading day. Bruce Springsteen, eat your heart out.