We’ve all seen this sign!
At some point and time we’ve pulled up to an intersection and have had a “homeless” person next to our car asking for money.
What did you do? I know that I’ve had mixed emotions at times. This past week I’ve seen the same man stand at various locations. His clothes are dirty, his face is rough and tan, and his hair is knotted in dreadlocks.
But instead of feeling bad for him I’ve actually noticed that he is quite brilliant in his approach. You see he doesn’t have a flashy neon sign, he has no overhead and he has the work ethic just like many of us. He is driven to stand in the hot sun all day long, just to make money. I’m not sure that I would be that dedicated.
Let’s set aside the issue of his means to make a buck for just a moment and let’s observe his marketing skills. I think we can learn a few things from the “homeless guy”
- Be visible! You see this guy is poised to get in front of as many people as possible. I’ve even seen him switch positions at different times of the day. Everyone who drives by notices him. How are you being visible to your customers. Are you going to them?
- Dress the part! Ok I’m not going to dive too deep here, but I genuinely feel like this guy looks homeless. How do you carry yourself? How do your customers see you?
- Give people the opportunity to make a decision. We all have that debate in our mind of whether we should roll down the window and give something or if we just ignore the presence of the guy standing next to our car door. Allow your customer to make a decision.
- Back off! We feel threatened if the homeless guy makes us feel uncomfortable. We may even double check the car door locks. People need space to make a decision.
- Tell your story. This is where I think the homeless guys misses out. Sometimes the sign will say they are a father, a veteran or that they recently lost their job. But we never really know that person’s story. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, and tell your story. I always wonder about the homeless person and how they got there or what they are really about.
- Be yourself! You do you. The homeless person is fearless. They have nothing to give or hide. Unless they are being dishonest, but any case they are not afraid of what thousands of drivers think of them. Why do we cower when dealing with potential customers? We need to be fearless in our approach.
- Simply ask! Many times we beat around the bush about our product. Simply ask your customer to consider your product. Don’t back door it or get quiet when the cost comes up. Remember the homeless person probably really doesn’t care if you give or not. They simply ask and wait. If the decision or location doesn’t work out they simply move on.
These are just a few observations and thoughts I made this past week. I’d love to know your thoughts on this topic. What else do you think can be learned from the homeless person?