Sales Talent Agency co-owner Jamie Scarborough leads a vendor training workshop at the Interurban Gallery.
When selling Megaphone magazine or the Hope in Shadows calendar, vendors have a real challenge in trying to close a sale in the few seconds they often have to interact with passersby. in order to give our vendors some tips, and as part of a Vancity community grant, Jamie Scarborough of Sales Talent Agency dropped by the Interurban Gallery on Tuesday morning to teach them how they can turn those few seconds into a successful sale.
Jamie has been in sales since he was 14 years old, with his first products being carpets and rugs sold at his uncle’s market stall in England. Constantly evolving in his trade since, he now navigates others in sales to suitable positions through Sales Talent Agency, which he partly owns. Jamie shared some of his best practices based on his experience with 11 vendors who attended the workshop: Closing Sales.
Jamie explained the ideal engagement with a customer begins with effectively marketing the product. He recommended having four pitches or statements to rotate and repeat to catch the attention of passers by. He reminded the vendors that it’s important to express to customers that they “are buying something that has real, intrinsic value.”
Megaphone, as Jamie said, is a credible and unique media source with an interesting perspective. It’s something people will want to purchase for its content and purpose. In an example, vendor Charlize Gordon shared that she mentions to customers how Megaphone is a global initiative, highlighting its international value.
It’s also worth reflecting on the vendor program itself and the relationship established between the buyer and seller. This program is an important source of income, benefiting vendors financially. However, it profits the consumer as well, knowing that by supporting this cause they have made an impact on someone’s life.
In trying to engage customers, Jamie noted that vendors should look for body language of those walking by. If there is, for instance, eye contact, start a conversation with the potential buyer. Ask questions or go into a little more depth about the articles in the current issue or the Megaphone program. For example, explaining to customers that vendors purchase magazines for $0.75 and Hope in Shadows books and calendars for $10 adds to the deserved credibility of their work.
The customer isn’t just donating money, they are buying a product that they will enjoy and should feel good for supporting. That interaction doesn’t stop there. Each sale is an opportunity to build a long-term buyer-seller relationship and it can also be used as a tool to expand the customer base by attracting more people.
The sales veteran emphasized the significance of consistency and repetition in attitude and professionalism. As one vendor says about his work “the most predictable thing is that it is unpredictable.” Although there is no control of how many people will stop by or their responses, Jamie reminded everyone that we have control over our attitudes and actions. Echoing a previous workshop leader, Tara Moss, patience is key, and being consistently polite and professional to every customer eventually pays off.
Working as a vendor is no easy task. It means long hours and hard work, sometimes selling magazines and books consecutively and sometimes not having a single person stop by. Patience and persistence goes a long way in this line of work and as Jamie says, “You get knocked down 99 times, you get up 100.”
Being a salesperson is essentially about having the right, positive attitude, taking advantage of very opportunity in making a sale and thinking creatively for strategies that work specifically for you. All of this is much easier said than done, but Hope in Shadows and Megaphone vendors can be found almost every day, working those skills to make a sale.