THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Roses and umbrellas

We have witnessed an unusually wet week in Northern Italy – including three days of thunderstorms, lightning and torrential rain. Arriving in Como last Wednesday we settled in a small piazza for lunch and, within minutes, were approached by a chap selling roses (“for the lady”) and toy rabbits (the furry kind – please..). I already know Annie’s response to such offers and quickly responded to his smile with a “non grazie”- and, thankfully, he simply smiled again and moved on. 10 minutes later the rain was pounding off the square like stair rods and the same guy reappeared with an ample supply of umbrellas, cheap at 5 and 10 euros. Like many others (locals included) – we bought – two at 10 euros. An hour’s lunch later we were out in the blazing sunshine and carried the said implements for the rest of the day – they were never used during our week’s sojourn. We left them at our holiday apartment this morning. Various business metaphors here: 1. Sell what people want and not what you think they need. 2. We are more motivated by the fear of loss (I don’t want to get drenched) than by the anticipation of gain (if I buy her a rose……) 3. When a customer says “no” keep smiling – you may be asking them to buy something else soon. Oh – and don’t be a PIA – when they say “no” – back off 4. Carry sufficient stock of stuff that’s selling – if you run out, an hour later the market may have changed 5. For the budding bloggers out there – everything that happens to you is a potential post There are probably more…

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