Selling lessons for this Valentine’s Day

gift stand
A trader sets up a gift stand at a shopping mall in Nyeri town on the eve of the 2018 Valentine’s Day. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI  

Friday is Valentine’s Day. Men, you are duly warned. On Valentine’s Day the colour red means the exact opposite of danger; it means safety, love. Then again it means danger for the hapless husband or boyfriend that forgets it! Valentine’s Day makes a curious study in selling.

Sales during this period virtually ride on emotion. The price of a rose, for instance, will increase with every passing hour from Sh10 shillings to easily hit Sh100 on Friday. It may even be bought Sh200 by the husband who, coming from the ‘Men’s conference’ late Friday evening is gripped by panic when he remembers the Day on his way home, and possibly had had a tiff with the wife. For him, paying 20 times the normal cost to kill two birds with one stone is a small price for a stab at peace at home.

So, when pressure for time is intense, exploit it. Confidently tell the pressured contractor as you show him where to sign that, “Importing a lift takes six weeks. If you are to deliver the project as per your schedule we have to order it today.” In a negotiation, be aware of which party is pressured for time and respond accordingly to the request for discount.

Don’t be too smug about it though. You run the risk of being left with a withering rose no one wants because the price you asked for was more intimidating than the sulking wife.

Valentine’s Day also brings out the love for last minute action by any bona fide Kenyan. For all the pressure he feels, one would imagine the day is sprang on him, and not that he had 365 days’ notice. For the past week (albeit drowned in the late President’s funeral arrangements) reminders of Valentine’s Day have been trending on all media. But still, even some reading this will still be caught flat-footed tomorrow when it dawns on them, “Shucks! I haven’t bought a gift.”


And knowing this of the Kenyan buyer, progressive sellers like All and Sundry have ready-to-dispatch gift packs. They will send an image of such via WhatsApp to the buyer for approval; he will then pay via M-Pesa, text the address, and the delivery is made to the ecstatic lady- a clinical transaction on an emotionally charged day.

So, when the buyer says, “I want this”, and you know ‘this’ is what he needs, just ask for payment, without insisting on making a presentation because you had painstakingly prepared it.

Finally, for the chosen few that have planned meticulously for Valentine’s Day, kudos! She will love you for it and quickly forgive any of the countless relationship landmines you will certainly step on over the year. (Maybe, just don’t forget her birthday). Equally, keeping your clients continually wowed makes it easy for them to forgive you with, “It’s unlike you”, when you goof, as you most definitely will at some point.

Happy Valentine’s Day!