Not everyone is nice and not everyone will welcome you with handfuls of cash. So it is alright to refuse to sell to a customer.
Of course you don’t need to sell to everyone – you are your own boss.
In this article we are going to look at how selling to everyone and anyone is not always the best move, rude customers and the perpetual bargain hunters!
Setting yourself up for a fall
It seems almost counterintuitive to sell only to people you deem right for your product. Surely you want to sell your products to everyone you can. Make your money and go home for the day.
I notice your stall sells display carpets and explain that I am looking for a new carpet for my dog. I browse through your selection and choose one I like. I ask if they are suitable for washing and in your haste to sell me a carpet you say yes. “Cool wash only, drip dry.”
I explain that I need something robust that will take a lot of washing cycles, and you reply that you have not had anyone return with them before so they should be ideal for what I want.
I pay you and walk away.
Ideally this is a great transaction, you have the money for your carpet and I have a carpet for my pooch. So why do you never have any referrals from me as a customer?
The rugs/carpets you sell are for display purposes, not the rough wear and tear that an animal lover wants. They may never return and they will probably put others off buying from your stall if it is unsuitable for animals.
In this case it is important to be clear on what you are selling. Rather ensure the product is right for the customer, rather than either have poor referrals or returning customers that will take up your time with complaints.
If you have a product that a customer wants but you do not think it will be suitable for them, then be clear about it to your customer. Explain why you think it might be wrong or offer a better solution in its place. Rather lose one sale than lose 15 referrals that may come from a poor choice of sale.
Politeness is arbitrary
Being polite is a matter of subjectivity. You can easily be offended by the way someone calls you “son”, or “lad” or “me darlin'”. Here I urge caution before jumping straight to offence. Everyone has a different way of talking to other people, how we are brought up determines how we act.
The manner in which we accept the way someone talks to us really relies on what we are used to. If you were brought up in a family that expected ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and to address everybody using ‘sir’, then the marketplace may all of a sudden appear to be a place which seems devoid of manners and politeness.
This is not a concern which you should really get hung up on though. Of course, if you are being verbally abused then you should at the first instance ask the customer to leave or call security.
There is also no expectation of any trader to have to accept speech which is offensive or derogatory. However, there is also a fine line at a market where people feel more relaxed and feel like they can have a joke with you.
This should not always be seen as a threat to you, but perhaps the way a customer relives the tension they feel in approaching a stall where no one else is browsing.
Don’t be intimidated by your customers. That is not a good working environment and you are not there to be abused, but do bear in mind that we are all brought up differently and also have different worries and insecurities. The market stall trader is not the person who dwells on these issues for to long!
Getting the Best Deal
The Marketplace is renowned for being a place where you can get a great deal if you haggle. There are some who may say that the price is right and just give you the money, but you will certainly come across another section of society that want every item for almost nothing.
Know your prices and what you are able to move on. In Bulk Purchasing for Maximum Profit, I took a look at how you are able to reduce your costs and work out your prices to sell at the best value.
Haggling is a part of any marketplace, so be prepared for many hard sells. There are many folks who will try to wear you down, get the best deal and may seem relentless. Unless they cause you to lose other customers, or are abusive, play the game.
Why? You always have the upper hand. You have all day and they are only passing through. If they want to waste their time trying to get £1.00 of an item for an hour, you can practice your haggling skills for an hour.
A great trick here is to up the price at some point by including another reduced item. They will haggle down to your agreed price and you both walk away happy!
Selling to everyone is not necessary. Selling to the right people is!
Consider the after effects as much as you should consider the sale. A good product in the right hands will have your praises sung, but when a product doesn’t live up to an expected standard, then be prepared for poor reviews and lack of sales.
Don’t be treated poorly either, but at the same time learn to accept that the way people act is probably vastly different to your own experience in life.
Enjoy the haggle. The strongest weapon you have is to know the bottom line of every item you are selling and try not to cross that. Whether you use offers or charm, try to ensure you are selling your products at the right price.
It would be great to have you over on the Facebook Group, Market Nosh Costers, to share your experience and expertise on how to be successful in the marketplace.