Experimenting is what sets creative sellers apart

Creativity is not nailing it with every experiment; it’s always experimenting. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

I watched as she stood at the parking dispensing for, and presenting tickets to, drivers as they drove into the mall. Adorned with an infectious smile, she presented the ticket, and a flyer.

You see, she wasn’t an employee of the parking company. She was there to dispense flyers. But likely, observing that most shoppers were declining to take them and those that did would dump them in the dustbin, she became creative. And that’s the subject of discussion today.

Selling is an art, not science. And art is fluid, not solid; dynamic, not static. This means that to succeed, the seller must adapt to the situation she finds herself in.

Our ticket dispensing woman could have chosen to complain that “they don’t take our flyers” and resigned to fate.

Instead, she asked, “How can I get them to take our flyers? And not just take, but be intrigued by them?” And that’s the thing about creativity.


The seller must change his thinking to a solution orientation.

That’s why the creative seller who is told by the interested but cautious prospect that “We can’t talk here in the office, let alone fill in forms. My boss hates seeing sales people here” becomes more inquisitive.

The seller will ask: “How about at the canteen, when you are having lunch?”

There’s one I know that resolved this challenge by selling and closing in the Ladies!

The challenge with creativity is that it cannot be taught; only learnt. It cannot be part of a classroom training, but is learnt from observation and experimentation.

Observing how others do it and emulating it or thinking up an idea and being willing to experiment. For instance, it must have taken only one newspaper vendor to see the opportunity of selling on a road bump for others, seeing success with this, to copy.

And how did the pioneer vendor know how to do this? He didn’t. He experimented. The creative idea may or may not work, but that doesn’t make the process defeatist.

Creativity is not nailing it with every experiment; it’s always experimenting.

The multi-use vegetable peeling tool could be sold as such. “Here. Buy this. It can peel carrots, oranges, even slice cabbages.” Or, it can be demonstrated. But that means incurring the costs of vegetables, and I’m not paid to do so. The creative seller sees things differently.

While the rest are fighting for the finite property market here, and lamenting that the Diaspora market is more pliant to buying land back home, she takes a flight to Dubai, stays there for a week meeting, greeting and presenting her wares.

Thereafter, guess who gets the traffic of sales coming from the Diaspora? Will she be refunded her costs? Maybe, maybe not. But the super commissions from the traffic of sales will more than compensate the return on investment (or, is it return on creativity?