The enterprising sellers at traffic stops

Posted: July 1, 2004 in Uncategorized

They are always there when traffic slows down. Whether its a long signal, or bad roads that stall traffic, no sooner that cars start moving gingerly at any one place, you can bet that the enterprising sellers of different wares will appear.

When the flyovers were being built in Mumbai, and there were spots where one could be stuck in traffic for several minutes, they appeared with their cold bottles of water, tetrapak drinks (Frooti and the lot) and some Haldiram munchings. In the later parts of night, when the husbands are returning home with a little more guilt at being late, these guys tempt with the gajras (well, alternately if you are headed for Chandni bar, you may need to wear it around your wrists). There are seasonal products – some fancy mirror hanging for the car, or a fun toy for the kids at home, and India map key hang (the latest fad on the streets), or colorful sun screens for the car. You name it, and they have it.

I am sure that there is an interesting distribution chain running behind these kids, and they are identifying stuff to keep peddling on the traffic stops. And the real product planning must be happening at that stage, but there is certainly enough skills that the sellers themselves show.

They know in just the 2 seconds of view if a prospect is a likely buyer and worth wasting more time at their window or not; if not, they would just as well move on to the next guy ahead. They are also sharp negotiators, and know the value of making a sale, quickly. If they can accept the price, it will be one quick decision, because they know the light will turn green and the chance of a sale will be lost. The magazine and book sellers who have a range of mags on their hands, also know what mag to offer to whom. Cosmopolitan for memsaab, The Economist or Business Today for the badasaab, Gentleman or the latest fitness book, for the yuppie saab, etc.

In a matter of a few hours, they must be making decent money (my guess would be an average of 250/- to 500/-), with variable margins, clearing off inventory, and what not.

Would not be a bad idea of pick our salespersons from amongst these boys, or maybe send some of our sales chappies for training, on the streets!!

  1. RPM says:

    I remember looking forward to the peanuts, warm and roasted to perfection at the Sion signal 🙂

  2. Mosher says:

    Very interesting. In Canada the only thing sold at intersections before the light turns green is a windsield wash.

  3. […] them, I had admired their enterprise and their amazing survival instincts. In fact, I had dedicated a post to them, many months […]

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