Could Thailand be dubbed the “Land of Passive Sales?” I have no background in sales, but I do have an interest in the techniques that Western salespeople use when trying to sell their products. It seems that there is an art to it and people expend enormous amounts of energy trying to understand the psychology of their customers, attending seminars, and investing in training. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and to get forward in sales you have to be hyper aggressive while remaining charming, likeable, and friendly.
But in Thailand I have noticed they don’t use sales techniques much. Either you buy what they’re selling, or you don’t. It boils down to Thai culture. Thai people are too polite to “bother” potential customers. A great example of this came from a Thai friend of mine. She works at a shoe store in a mall. Her job is to stand there all day and help customers if they show an interest in the shoes. However, just opposite her shop is a Western company that sells beauty products. Their target customer is middle-aged women who look like they have a few baht to throw around.
The salespeople in this place approach – no – CHASE AFTER – their customers, and make it almost impossible for them to say no. Which 45-year-old woman could refuse a charming young man who was telling her how soft her hands were? They then tell them exorbitant lies such as “You will only pay 50%. I like you so much I’m going to pay the other 50% myself!” And guess what? They fall for it hook, line, and sinker. Nearly every customer that enters their shop does not leave until they have bought something. And their products are not cheap.
The reason this works so well in Thailand, again comes down to Thai culture. Thai people are too polite to just walk away. My friend told me that one girl makes close to 100,000 baht a month from this work on commissions. Meanwhile, my friend makes 10,000 for passively standing around and waiting for fish to bite. Her friends across the way are stood knee-deep in the water with their spears poised from sunup to sundown. It’s this aggressive and proactive approach to work that has rocketed Western countries into the forefront of business and innovation. Americans are particularly good at this, I’m sure it has something to do with all those brave entrepreneurial people who left behind their homelands during the colonization of America.
As I said, I’m no expert in sales, but I found this interesting to observe. Maybe those of you with a background in sales can confirm this belief of mine. Or maybe you can simply tell me that I’m wrong and Thai people have great sales techniques. Anyway, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. And if you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to subscribe and become part of a growing community of expats, bloggers, and travellers who are passionate about Thailand.