Marketing 101: Need A Salesperson?

Sometimes encounters happen in surprising places that leave you speechless.  I had such an encounter last night in the Central Market.

My son needs a small backpack to carry his books.  I remembered a North Face “outlet” in the market and struck off to get him a “good deal” as I did 2 and 3 years ago.  I vaguely remembered where the shop was and a Khmer lady who sells from 9 in the morning to midnight every day and has done so now for 5 years.  She apparently makes a good living selling these seconds that she buys from who knows where.  Reasonable deals, brand name, I tried to find her again.

As fate would have it, I went to the wrong store.  There are two stalls side-by-side in the market.  As I walked quickly by I did not see a lady in the first stall, decided she must work in the second, and when she wasn’t there assumed she was no longer there.  Maybe her first day of vacation.  Having bought a suitable bookbag I prepared to leave when ‘she’ saw me, stopped me, and asked “Why you not buy from me?  I give you good deal before, good quality!”  Surprised to see her and moreso that she seemed to remember me, I stammered “you remember me?”  “Sure”, she responded, “you came 3 years and 2 years ago with students.  You a teacher from America with many students.”  After a student confirmed that she was a student and that she was right, asked if I was a ‘good’ customer?  My salesperson friend continued “Sure, buy several bags and pay fair price and get good quality.  Two years ago buy a big North Face backpack – a 125/25 – a red one just like this” and pointed to an exact replica of what I did buy.  “Three years ago, buy this one.”  She pointed to a day pack from North Face I still use to carry my books and computer by foot, car, or bike to this day (it was then in my guesthouse room).  It was even red and gray – she knew – because I attended Ohio State and like red!   I was absolutely speechless.  How could she remember this?  She must have 50-100 customers every day and for 2 years. 

After being reminded of my past, she confirmed that she would be there in two years and expected me to return then with more students to buy her bags and not those of her competitor.  Her parting words “I make you good deal.  You do good business with me.  Low price, high quality, we both win.”  To seal the deal, she left me with her business card. 

So, should you need a salesperson capable of selling ice to an Eskimo, who knows how to make money (she is doing fine), and has a work ethic that would shame most of us … call Por Vanntha, Center Market #A04, Sivatha Street, Siem Reap, Cambodia.  I have her cell phone number on her card if you prefer!

– Professor forgetful, aka David Dornbos


3 comments so far

  1. Evan Jansen on

    It’s an age thing… I know from experience

  2. Ann DeRooy on

    I hope you bought another backpack!(Even if it did just go to an “outside” child.)

  3. calvinstudent on

    Actually bought a couple. Including a replica of what I bought three years ago – from my friend. We said ‘good bye’ and promised to meet in a couple of years.

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