MIDWAY: The art of selling

A smile is a smile. It draws attention no matter how awful it is. The man’s smile drew mine. Though he was a stranger, he smiled at us. I had never encountered such a shopkeeper.

We were having ice-cream and he explained why it was so cheap.

He made an entertaining host and explained why the TV screen in his shop was facing him. “Can you see the empty benches next to you? If I face the screen towards you, my shop will be full of TV viewers and not customers,” he explained. That was funny but true. If you want to make a good salesman, you need to have a smart brain.

When I said that I had never noticed the shop earlier, he smiled and said, “You didn’t?” Everybody knows my shop; it’s the oldest cold store round the corner. It’s just that I got it renovated recently. His shop wasn’t attractive but his presence made the experience worthwhile. His shop was a perfect place to spend the time after a hectic day. We were enjoying his company, as he was different from the rest. I now have a funny incident to share. A boy came to the shop asking for potato chips. The shopkeeper said that the variety he was looking for was in short supply so he offered a new variety of potato chips.

After holding the new type of chips, the boy said, “These appear to be hot, I want the plain ones.” To this the shopkeeper replied, “You can still take it. How about dusting off the chilly powder and having the chips?” We all laughed at his witty remarks.

What a way to handle customers! From within, I was praising his special ways, but from outside, I was calm and smiling at his art. Guess what? The boy actually bought the packet. I was dumbfounded. “He surely is an experienced shopkeeper,” I said to myself.

Frankly speaking, his shop was no different from the others. And he wasn’t an appealing guy but there was something in him, which the others didn’t have. His smiling face and a funny attitude was enough to ensure a steady flow of customers. How important it is to keep smiling! I guess we all need to be successful. I’ve never visited the shop since then but I want to go there a few more times. Hats off to the shopkeeper. After all, it’s all about the art of selling.