Personal Finance

Aggressiveness that gets you repeat sales

Two matatu operators fight for passengers
Two matatu operators fight for passengers: Negative aggression costs a business customers. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Aggressiveness is indispensable to successful selling. Unfortunately, it tends to connote the negative image of one jostling hither and thither, unapologetically forcing one’s way into the customer’s space; much like a rugby player repeatedly dodging one defending opponent and pummelling the next, as he goes to score.

In sales, that kind of aggressiveness can be witnessed at bus termini during Christmas seasons when touts compete for passengers with one dragging the hapless passenger one way and another taking her luggage the other way.

Or, being hounded, like a hardcore defaulter is, by debt collectors, in the name of being made to book the holiday you’ve just had a presentation made of, following the interest you showed in it while at the supermarket.

That kind of aggression is negative and whereas it may get you the sale, it is unlikely to get you a repeat one or sustain the one you get. So, what is ‘positive’ aggressiveness?

This is evident at busy matatu termini. In addition to shouting themselves hoarse, you will see the tout who breaks out from the shouting match to go meet and greet this lady that looks like a potential passenger.


Any tout who attempts to allege that “Huyo customer ni wangu” (that’s my customer), doesn’t ruffle him; keeping professional, he does not drag her bag or her hand insisting otherwise.

Instead, he gently places his hand across her shoulder stating, “Usiharakishe mrembo. Wacha yeye aseme” (Quit harassing this beautiful lady; let her decide).

Showered with so much attention and respect it is the rare lady who declines to go with the gentlemanly tout. Keep in mind that she’ll still pay the full fare.

Aggressiveness is not settling. Aggressiveness is ethically circumventing the process to accelerate the sale.

Aggressiveness is the reason why you opt to get an appointment with the decisionmaker yourself because you have seen that waiting for your contact person to do so is taking too long. You know she means well.

She even promised to get you the meeting. But it is your shoe that pinches not hers.

So seeing how busy she is, you run a parallel attempt at meeting the boss until one attempt does; many times yours. Then you rope her in.

Aggressiveness is the strikingly dressed gentleman you see waving at you on the highway to show you the eating joint that is not easily visible from the road.

He will not tire doing so even with the umpteenth vehicle that just passes him by. Imagine the patience! Admire the courage.

Not the courage of risking a car veering off the road and hitting him, but the courage to be ridiculed by those uninitiated to successful selling.

He is not bothered by them and neither should you. Just as with the tout, he knows his patience will pay and his aggressiveness will soon shift from getting a customer to aggressively working on keeping him.