Vendors were there in the train since I started commuting selling something or the other. When it comes to selling in train everything depends on the speech. Selling in train is very similar to door to door marketing. There are couple of differences between selling things in train and door to door marketing. First, sellers in train don’t get rude replies until they push the passenger to buy their thing. Second, sellers don’t approach each and every customer like door to door marketing. They just walk in the lane between the rows and promote the thing which they are selling. Interested people buy or ask the price of the thing otherwise people simply ignore them.
Being a marketing graduate, I had a habit of analysing marketing skills of the sellers in the train. Selling in train mainly depended on the art of speech and the script. Speaking becomes an art when one start selling something. And the speech one speaks to sell something becomes a script when it is repeated on daily basis. In local train, sellers had to attract the passengers through their words. That was the only way to get the customer in local train. Till December 2015, I hadn’t found a seller who attracted me through his script or his speech. Snacks selling vendors simply used to go through the coaches shouting about the thing they are selling with it’s price and it’s quantity. Some of them used to be so fast that they only focused on covering the whole train. Incase of such sellers, It was very difficult to understand whether passengers are ignoring the sellers or sellers are ignoring the passengers.
In December, three vendors blew me away with their script as well as their speech. Two of them used to come in the evening in Saurashtra Express and one used to be in Anand memu in the morning. They sold the different things. A vendor of Anand memu used to sell the ornaments. While one vendor of Saurashtra Express used to sell peanuts and the other used to sell magic books.
1. Ornament Seller
“Brothers and sisters, we often go to marriages and other functions wearing gold ornaments. While attending those functions, if those ornaments are stolen or fell down in the way then you may get heart attack.” He used stand in the middle of the coach and target the passenger on either side. “Friend, here is the solution to it. I have brought a chain from Bhagasa (a village in Gujarat). It is neither of gold nor of silver, it is made of five metals,” showing the chain to everyone by keeping it in his hand. “Friends, it don’t loose its shine even if you scratch it with knife,” scratching the chain on the handle above. “Friends, if you go and buy it in the market then seller will take 100 bucks by showcasing it in the glass with the attractive lighting system. For the sake of promotion and advertisement, I am selling it for just Rs. 20.” He used to declare the price with that awesome reasoning.
“Along with this chain, I am giving one more chain as gift. Not only that, I am giving one ring for ladies as well. And one ring for men. So I am giving four items for just Rs. 20. I am not forcing you to buy it but there is no price of having a look at it.” He repeated this script everyday in the middle of the coach then he used to approach the passenger showing the box of ornaments. It was his way of selling his thing. He used awesome tactics to sell his product. Right from getting in the coach to approaching the passenger to show his product, he did everything right. His speech was respectful, to the point and had great reasoning. Moreover he was selling four items in just Rs. 20. Price was perfect for the passengers he was targeting. He wasn’t targeting daily commuters. He was targeting the village people who used travel in the Anand memu.
2. Peanut Seller
“Kaju Katri. Kaju Katri. Kaju Katri. Hot Kaju Katri in just Rs. 10,” A peanut seller in Saurashtra Express used to start his speech in that manner. “I have brought peanuts as sweet as Kaju Katri.” He used to grab the attention by comparing peanuts with Kaju Katri. “Reach Ahmedabad in Rs. 10, Rajkot in Rs. 20, Jamnagar in Rs. 30 and back to Mumbai in Rs. 50,” He used to deliver his speech while crawling in the coach. “You won’t get anything by watching me. Bring Rs. 10 note out of your pocket to enjoy hot peanuts.” After grabbing the attention of the people, he used to target their pockets. “I can see the light in this row. I can sense that money is coming out of someone’s pocket.” When a passenger was ready with money to buy peanuts from him.
He used to bring the variation in his speech regularly. Sometimes he used to sell it by saying that it is good for the skin and will bring glow to your face. “If you don’t have money than I can give it to you in exchange of your mobile phone,” when he didn’t get any customer in the coach. He say this when he approach the end of coach. “Peanuts in Rs. 10. Last show.” It was the signal that the train is reaching at its destination and he is about to leave the train.
His speech was not respectful but he used to grab the attention of the people by comparing the peanuts with rich dry fruits and delivering it’s benefits in style. He also targeted the pockets of passengers by applying sweetness in his voice. He used to bring smile on everyone’s face with his speech. Due to his speech, people (happily) used to buy peanuts from him.
3. Magic book seller
“My dear friends I have brought the magic book. In this peacock dance and Sania plays tennis, Sachin hits a six and chotta bheem sings. This book creates real magic when Modi and Sonia dance together. My dear friends, in this book barbie dances with flying Doraemon. And cupid perform his duties when Aishwarya winks. My dear friends, it costs Rs. 20 only. In just Rs. 20 you can make your child happy. Yes my dear friends, it makes your child happy and when your child is happy then you are also happy happy.” He had book with blurred pictures of the characters he mentioned. In that book, he used to move one transparent plastic sheet. That plastic sheet had lot of vertical lines on it. Those vertical lines gave life to those blurred pictures.
He recited this script as a poem. And he gave the demo while reciting his script. He used to complete his script once after giving the demo in three rows. It was not easy to sell the things for children in local train because there used to be very few children in local trains. The highlight of his skill was his speech. His speech was respectful, sweet and very impressive. Despite of absence of the children, people used to buy books from him. A businessman was so impressed by his speech that he offered him a job. And he refused that offer saying I am earning more by selling this magic book.
Though I was a marketing graduate but those three vendors were better marketers than me. They stuck to the basics of marketing without even knowing what they are! They taught me a lot about marketing.