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No! I do not need a spade, but I might need a weapon.

Gopolang Mathibe

February 12 2016

An encounter that I had recently made me realize just how much people take the art of salesmanship for granted. What I am about to explain to you is what you have probably already heard a thousand times, but the context in which I will elaborate might bring further enlightenment to you. Being the last act of marketing, sales (not taking into consideration the following up on after-sales servicing/customer satisfaction) is a very important aspect.

It is all good and well to advertise a product or service, but you still need to close the sale. No sale means your advertising was a waste of time, effort and money. Story time' I was walking back from the grocery store when i saw a guy approaching me while swinging a spade around like it was a baseball bat. I thought he was going to rob me so i prepared myself for a nether-region kick and a sprint that even Usain Bolt would envy. As myself and this guy came into intimate proximity he said to me "do you want a spade?" I responded... "No. I do not need a spade. But, you have a great weapon, nobody will mess with you hey my guy?" He chuckled and walked away.

Something hit me as I said those words to him. What I said to him did not register in his mind, not even in the least. I knew then that this guy doesn't take his efforts for a sale seriously. He is the epitome of a bad salesman. When he offered me the spade he may have not known it, but his probability for making the sale was zero. I obviously did not look like i needed a spade. I was not dressed the part nor did i have green fingers. So, I thought to myself, if had he said: "ok, since we are on the subject of weapons... you do realize that you are walking around the cape flats area right? You don't look like you have a weapon and you are a tiny dude. Had i wanted to rob you i could have. You are a sitting duck my friend. If you walk around with this spade nobody will take the chance of trying to rob you because you will have in your possession something to defend yourself with. So, make me an offer and this weapon is yours." I would have literally considered buying it. His probability for making that sale would have shot up from zero to 0.5. 50/50 odds are decent odds in anyone's books.

Now, that brings me to this... Great salesmen don't just try to satisfy a need that you already have, they also create a need for you that only they can satisfy at that particular point in time. This guy was clearly thinking inside the box, so he stood no chance. Ultimately all that brings me to the following' Who taught you that there is even a box to begin with? Where is this box that we are told to think outside of? I have never seen it, have you? Look, the fact that we even acknowledge that there is a box is what limits our creativity and stops us from seeing all the permutations of a situation.

Once you recognize a box your mind manifests it into existence, and you then start off by thinking inside it whether you realize it or not. At the very least you run the risk of reverting to the box when you are stuck for ideas. The truth is there is no box. So, don't even bother to think outside the box because it does not exist. Just think!