Reinforcing Tired Unhelpful Stereotypes

I’ve glanced an eye at the Sky reality show Badger or Bust a few times now.  I continue to be delighted someone is allowed to promote all things sales on prime time telly.  My lament remains the requisite depth is sacrificed for human misery and conflict and a ‘selling style’ that should not be replicated.  Emergent trends are obvious.  Here’s the recipe for sales aid recipient; weak to the point of absent leadership, product-orientated sellers, no targets whatsoever, zero management tools evident and clearly combustable relationships heating.

As reality tv, I like it.  As a sales training crusade, it’s unfortunately lightweight.  But that’s not to dismiss the tips you can glean, as they do happily exist.

A couple of rounds ago, how to demo a house for renting was tackled with aplomb by the presenter.  Particularly encouraging were the distractions that turned nagging negatives into pleasant positives, such as opening a small window to prove quietness outside and focusing on natural breeze in a pokey kitchen.  Each feature had an advantage drummed home, although this was rarely taken further to a true benefit, but nonetheless a good show.

The trouble with the main protagonist, the patently driven eponymous sales animal, is that you cannot imagine her ever actually hitting her numbers.  Her listening skills are sparse, she sells by dominating conversations, and if it is true people buy from people then her questionable ability to establish rapport must surely ultimately prevent long-haul success.  And yet for all these possible shortcomings, occasional gems sparkle. 

A struggling wholesaler/distributor wanted to sell more of a foldable bike in the most recent episode.  One could be yours for £150.  This was more suited to a marketing fly-on-the-wall really, the viral, consumer retail, competitor piggy-backing, gift market and below the line opportunities being overall more relevant.  The renewed efforts sold 83 bikes in a week.  Here’s a couple of good reasons why:

  • know your usp and ram it home – “this is the world’s lightest and smallest bike” – and make sure it exploits a market gap/opportunity
  • “attitude ability attendance” – a Badger mantra to determine whether you’ll succeed
  • understand your customer’s customers – too often I encouter wholesale reps that never speak to end-users, so the Chiswick High Road excursion was a worthwhile, low risk task aimed at garnering leads from randomly accosted members of the public and sharpening those all important skills for engaging the middlemen
  • know your true market – Britain’s 750 independent bike retailers are the obvious first call, yet the fact major chain Evans declined to stock was evidence broadene horizons needed consideration; Hamleys (toys) and Currys digital (gadgets) were vital suspects

I also liked the game with two teams putting bike up blindfold in relay, needing communication skills to win.

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