The Kid Coming Through Technique

First, let me apologize for my unexplained absence. My life got away from me for a little bit, and then I went to NYC with Students for Education Reform . So life was a little hectic. But I am back now and with a vengeance!

So like I said, I spent my weekend in NYC, which was pretty cool. I had never been before. And the best part was that being in the city wasn’t even the cool part. The people were. But we will save them for another blog post.

On Saturday night, a friend of mine graciously took me to Times Square. She had already been. If you have ever been to Times Square, then you know it’s kind of a one-time thing. You don’t really need to do it more than once unless you have a lot of money that you are just dying to spend on outrageously priced M&M trinkets.

As with most highly-populated places, there are about a billion street vendors milling about (that’s an estimate; there were probably more). They are trying to sell you all kinds of things – paintings, photographs, tickets, bags. But as I listened to them yell at the passers-by I realized that I was getting a great lesson in sales and marketing.

There was one interaction that was especially informative. I call it the “Kid Coming Through” technique – the KCTT. One vendor was selling pictures or something, and he wasn’t having much luck. Everyone was basically ignoring him, and he didn’t have a real good location on the street. He was up against a wall, both metaphorically and literally.

But he saw an opportunity. There was a young dad pushing his child through the crowd, and the vendor started yelling, “Hey, kid coming through” in order to clear the crowd for him. That is the KCTT. It’s that simple. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

1. It draws attention to yourself. You have an excuse to yell louder than everyone else. And you can use it all you want. No one is going to reprimand you when you are yelling for the less fortunate.

2. You come out looking like a philanthropist. Even if you are doing it for purely self-motivated reasons, the objective reality is that you are actually doing something for someone else. And people respect that.

3. Friends are more likely to buy from you than strangers. The dad with the stroller is now your friend. It’s going to be harder for him to say no to you now.

The KCTT is cool, but I think it’s important to remember that it’s a lot cooler when it’s motivated by love.

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