Street-vending is the culture of South African entrepreneurship, everywhere you go, you are bound to find someone selling something on the street. You might be selling something and business might not be going as well as you expected it would. If that is the case, you might be making silly mistakes that vendors should not make. Below, I give five ways in which you can make more sales. The implementation of these techniques can be really cheap using everyday material, but if you want to buy stuff, go ahead, although I do not recommend it if you are running a start-up.
1. HAVE A PRICE BOARD
People are busy and always in a hurry, and in most cases, you are not the only person selling something in the vicinity. Having a board that details the prices of all your goods/services means people walking past you can see your prices and decide whether or not they want to buy your goods/services. Every morning when I go to town, I cross ladies selling fatcakes, but because I am always in a hurry, I never take the time to ask them how much the fatcakes are. Recently, one lady decided to shout at me, “R1 for 1” because she could see me starring at the vetkoeks. Telling me how much the vetkoek was convinced me to buy it. Lastly, it is convenient to show people your prices, people are not willing to stand and ask you how much your goods/services are because they are of the view that if they ask you and do not buy, you might get offended. So get a cardboard and write all your prices down. You would be amazed how many more customers you can get from simply giving out your prices.
2. PACKAGING IS KEY
You are a seller; everything you sell should be representable and should be part of the convincing process. Whatever your goods are, learn to package them to look appealing. When selling books from a table, do not sell them lying flat, that makes them harder to see from far. Elevate the books a bit by placing half a book on top of the other so that it is easy for people to see them when passing your store. When someone crossing recognises a book they have read on your table, they will be curious to see what other reads you have.
3. BE AN ACTIVE SELLER
This means that you have to be active in what you do. Stand up and make sales in other words, do not be the seller that sits down and waits for people to come to you. Depending on what you sell, stand in front of your stall/desk and try to convince people to buy your product. If you are situated in a mall, this advice is for you. People go to malls to spend money; you just have to convince them to spend their money on you. *Note, this will not work for any street business, if you are selling braai and pap, your best bet is having a price board, but if you are selling a new oil-based lotion or perfume, approaching people or inviting them over to your stall is your best bet.
4. CHOOSE THE RIGHT SPOT FOR YOUR BUSINESS
You need an optimal spot in order to make the most sales. If you do hair, standing at a robot will not do you any good. However, if you sell fatcakes and stand on a busy road or at the entrance of a school/university in the morning, your cakes will fly. First figure out who your target market is, where it is based and start selling there. If your target market is students, go stand at a school gate, if it is business people, go stand on a street with a lot of offices in it.
5. MAKE SURE YOU ALWAYS HAVE SMALL CHANGE
I hate it when I have to wait for a vendor to go across the street to go make change for R20, and I bet you a million more people in South Africa hate it too. As I mentioned above, people are always in a hurry and busy, you making them stand for a long time for their change inconveniences them and makes sure they never come back to you for your goods/services.