(Part 5) - Salesmen of the Trade - A User Guide to the Mega Wholesale Mobile Phone Business in the U
Kazi Najib Ashraf is a Telecoms Professional and a Blogger and he is a contributor to www.handelot.com, he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sales is an art form, either you are a sales person or your'e not; Period. This is also not an acquired talent that can be learnt in some institute. Every product has got its special intricacies and feature set prompting a sales person to adapt his or her attitude around it. Sometimes people tend to get completely fixated with a certain technology or a product and are not able to sell anything else. The changing face of technology now creates a threat for a certain breed of 'Mobile Sales People' who have been doing the same thing for a very long time. As I can see that there isn't much that a lot of them can do after the curtains fall and if they are not adapting themselves then they will find a very lonely space in the near future. But for the time being the rivers of milk and honey are still flowing in the land of Apple, Samsung and Huawei and lets delve and get introduced to the wardens of the 'Trading Heaven'.
This is a tough job, the mobile sales person has a fighter pilot's instinct and a knack of smelling a deal like a shark. They stay up late chatting with International customers and suppliers. You would also find them sweating during the boiling months of summers sprinting from Freezone to Nasser Square to ensure that the deals are done. The remuneration for this job is low as compared to other industries and an average sales person at a middle level does not make more than 2500-3000$ per month including commissions. They are persistent, quick wit and aggressive in their approach and have a great memory as they have to know all the model numbers and the running prices prevailing in the market. On a lighter note here are some of the traits of these tough guys:
The Bro: The first time I had spoken to a trader in Nasser Square, he had addressed me as 'Brother'; I almost had tears in my eyes with such an intimate and touching communication. He was almost as concerned as my Grandfather about my well being and how I should be careful of the cheats in the market. Well the feeling didn't last too long as the word 'Brother' started appearing in various concoctions at every deal. Bro, Broezer (Arabic), Braathar (Sub Continental), Akhi, Bhai and later on Ya Moallaim also started resonating and echoing from every nook and corner of the market. I later realized that the deeper the expression coming off the sales guy the slipperier and dodgy he is. So my friends, keep your emotions at home while venturing to the market as there are no friends down there and everyone is trying to squeeze out a few cents.
Religion: The second tactic and this is not about a certain faith or belief. If you are seen coming out of a Mosque, Church, Temple etc and someone identifies you as a regular practicing person then the 'Available Deal' would definitely include some mention about the greatness of your religion. The sales person would continuously quote from your scripture to convince you that he shares the same values and a belief system as your own. In the end the friend would swear upon his dead grandmother and the scripture of your choice that the price he is quoting is the absolute best in the world. This price would never be quoted by anyone else as "He" is your brother and a man of faith who would never ever lie. I am not a feminist so please note that I have not seen a women survive in the mobile phone trade in the UAE.
Countrymen: Your countrymen would never ever screw you, how can he? You are both expats in this land and have a common purpose to ensure that you are both sticking together against the evils of the market; Wrong! There are no comrades, friends, relatives, religious connections or anything whatsoever binds you at all. Watch every step you take and that too like walking on live land mines. You would be screwed up before you know it.
Everyone is an Expert: Only if Nokia, Blackberry, Ericsson, Siemens, Alcatel etc had come and spent quality time in Dafza or Nasser Square. Boston Consulting and McKinsey should learn from the experts down here if they want to advise the survivors to stay in business. The mobile sales man would eat your heart out if given an ear to what had happened and what is happening in technology. Especially now that the market is down the exerts can be found everywhere chatting away in the wee hours of the day. Unfortunately the Industry does not believe in training and development and there is an acute danger of these guys getting in a soup as the market slumps. They do not see the impending danger of the market getting squeezed by the day.
My advise to the new entrants is to be careful when entering the market and to the salesmen to learn new trades and get yourselves trained in the changing technologies.
The days of Milk and Honey of the Mobile Trade is coming to an end and rest assured a new business is coming to the horizon. Learn and Adapt.Back to blog