How do you sell a 500 grams pickle jar for Rs. 500

Sales and Marketing teams want to make sure they have the perfect go-to-market strategy in place, product training provided and want to get their hands on all the latest gadgets and technology to sell. Thousands of dollars are spent on consultants and analyzing competitor moves, however marketing concepts are simple and plain common sense which we tend to often neglect. An incident that I recently witnessed on my vacation to the beautiful hill station of Mussorie brought this out so clearly that I was amazed.

Laltibba is one of the highest point on the Queen of hill stations Mussorie, one of those awe inspiring places that makes you think why you are wasting your life in a city. On the peak of Laltiba you get a panoramic view of the valley and the magnificent Himalayas. Once you reach Laltiba you certainly would love to have a guide talk to you about the place and its beauty. Our car driver introduces us to one Mr. Madungu (named changed), a person offering exactly this service for Rs. 50(about a dollar), we think it is a great deal and queue up however later release that how the “commitment and consistency” Principle of Influence was in use here by which we had committed to avail the service of Mr. Madungu for a small fee (we committed and now the mind needed to be consistent with future decisions we take to keep proving to ourselves our decision was correct).

As soon as we arrived, Madungu warmly greeted us while he politely asked us to wait till he finishes with his existing customer. He offers us a cup of warm herbal tea, which at 4 degrees temperature outside is an absolute treat (Reciprocity). Once finished with his duty with his existing customer we receive a warm welcome, he begins a conversation of how Mussorie is such a great place out of the hustle and bustle of city life and how the naturally blessed place gives him natural foods, pure air and a healthy lifestyle. Coincidentally that exactly what strikes you when a city dweller reaches this beautiful place, he is immediately able to connect with us on our problem areas and build a rapport (Liking).

He further proceeds to tell us how he treks for two (2) hours from his home every day each way in all kinds of weather. Now I suddenly start wondering that this guy should know something about keeping fit and is certainly benefiting from his closeness to nature.

He then proceeds to show us pictures of him with some big stars of Bollywood how they were very thankful to him. Madungu has now established credibility and build trust (Social Proof).

He now moves to his regular routine where he wonderfully does his job of showing and describing us all points that could be seen through the lens, on each point he has a story to tell which connects at an emotional level and has definitely a better recall value (Authority – by subject matter knowledge). For e.g. while showing us one of the schools, he tells us that how a popular film stars son studies there and his parents come to meet him and how the locals are so fond of the kid and he star and the nick name kept for both of them. I say man, excellent demonstration and presentation.

Once we are finished, he brings to our attention a few bottles of pickles that he has carried along, he further goes to describe that the ingredients are pure and completely natural and have tremendous benefits for the tummy(I am sure he understands another common problem with city dwellers based on our diet). Aw, connect to the customer’s problem and position the pickle to be pure and natural made from fruits and herbs found in the valley. He then tells us that he cannot carry much and hence has only a few available for the day. Principle of Influence Scarcity and exclusivity. He further establishes credibility with a few stories of his happy customers.

At no point of time have we spoken about the price yet. Mr. Madungu certainly knows well that Price is a factor of Value as seen by the eyes of the customer and hence if the value is not set in the eyes of the customer there is no point introducing the price. By now me and my wife are intrigued enough that we feel we cannot leave Mussorie without buying this jar of exclusive natural pickle that works wonders for the tummy. I would say product position successfully build in the eyes of the customer.

I gently enquire on the price, where Mr. Madungu assertively tells me that it would be Rs. 500, he also tells me that I got it at a good rate because these are generally exported and sell at 2-3 times the cost. My mind is calmed down, hey I just got myself a deal. Could I refuse the deal? No-Certainly not, I cannot afford to leave Mussorie without the pickle, I trust Mr. Madangu and all that he says and I am now looking forward to consume the product.

When I returned back to Mumbai and reflected on this interaction I was amazed to see how the principles of Influence were in use, how effectively Mr. Madungu went through the sales cycle of Building Rapport, Establishing Credibility, Connecting with the customer on pain areas and strengths and showing a new reality that would be attained by the use of his product. All throughout establishing and maintaining a consistent messaging about the positioning of his product. It suddenly struck me how selling is all about common sense principles which does not require you to have a master’s degree. Would I still buy the pickle if I met Mr. Madungu once again, this is a completely another story.