What We Can Learn From The Smoothest Sales Rep In The Caribbean

June 15, 2018 Ryan
What We Can Learn From The Smoothest Sales Rep In The Caribbean thumbnail

Ryan is back with the final instalment of his Caribbean-inspired blog series – telling the story this time of Anthony, the smoothest sales representative in the Caribbean.  Possibly.  You can catch up if you’ve missed any using the links at the bottom of the article.

I’ve always been fascinated by the different sales processes which people employ.

Sometimes they are good.

Sometimes they are completely non-existent.

Usually they are mediocre at best.

It’s a wonder some businesses sell anything at all.

Sales need not be hard, awkward or forced.

If you’re one of the many, many beauty business owners I speak with who is somehow scared of or anxious about sales then you’re in for a treat.

Courtesy of Anthony.

I met Anthony in one of the many beach stalls at the Punta Cana beach market.

Punta Cana Beach Home Of Pushy Sales Reps


You’ve probably been to this type of place before.

You get them all over the world and they certainly aren’t restricted to beaches, either.

They typically sell much the same stuff.

Normally some fridge magnets, photo frames, beachwear and in the case of the Caribbean some unique carvings from wood of Rastafarians with, er, no clothes on.

Anyway, I digress.

So we’re wandering along the row of shops and we’re getting shouted at by most of the men fronting the shops.  Their tactics range from the comedic approach, to asking where you’re from to just shouting in your general direction.

For the most part they are annoying and rather than inspiring us to buy anything are more likely to make us quicken our pace and pretend we only speak Norwegian.

Don’t be like these guys.

[Sidenote – have you ever had the experience when a vendor realised your English and then proceeds to shout ‘lovely jubbly’ at you, over and over again? It’s happened to me in numerous places now.  I don’t have the heart to tell them they stopped making that show about 20 years ago now.]

So anyway our quickened pace slows again for a moment as Hollie is actually interested in something from a particular shop.

She’s on the lookout for beach shoes and they have something worthy of further investigation.

Immediately clocking us, the salesman approaches us.

Fearing the worst we begin to retreat but to our surprise he simply says, with a huge smile, “Hey, no pressure in this shop – I’ll just be over there if you’ve any questions,” and he goes and stands on the other side of the shop.

Didn’t try and make any further conversation.

Didn’t ask where we were from.

This was different.

In fact, this was the first person who had tried this approach so far.

We liked it.

A lot.

After a few minutes of our largely aimless browsing, he’s over.

This time he introduces himself as Anthony and gives me a little bowl.

This is to put anything I like in, he helpfully explains.

By now we’ve already spotted something we’re interested in.

It’s a picture frame with ‘Punta Cana’ emblazoned across it and some palm trees on the sides.

It’s nice.

It’s now in the bowl.

We continue our hunt, enjoying the laid back atmosphere of the shop – and the huge ceiling fan which is keeping us cool.

Anthony additionally thinks that it might be nice if we had a couple of free gifts.  A good luck necklace for me and a little wrist one for Hollie.  We think that might be nice too and graciously accept them.

I’m browsing some more necklaces and quite like one, but I’m not convinced.

Next thing I know I’m getting the history of the necklace, what it’s made from, who made it locally and before you can say “as worn by Bob Marley’s nephew”, it’s in the bowl.

Quickly followed by a shot glass.

And a giant inflatable donut with a bite taken out of it.

(That caused a bit of a commotion as obviously it wouldn’t fit in the bowl).

So we have our little bowl filled with wares.

And the negotiations begin.

Now I had no intention whatsoever of paying the full asking price for any of these goods, because –

  • it’s a market and you’re supposed to haggle
  • it’s a holiday destination and therefore they’ve already slapped a huge tourist tax onto the item which I’d rather not pay
  • it’s fun

Now I knew right away that I was going to be up against it here.

It clearly wasn’t Anthony’s first day in the job.

He’d already done everything right so I didn’t think he’d blow it now.

That said, it wasn’t my first rodeo either and the game was on!

He did something very clever during the negotiations which I liked a lot.

We’d ask a price for everything in the bowl.  If we weren’t happy with the price he’d not bring it down.  He wouldn’t even remove items from the bowl.  He’d add MORE things to the bowl to give a higher perceived value.

How smart is that?

Most people would automatically reduce the price when questioned, but not him.

He wanted the largest sale he could get.  And why not?

So to finish off the story we purchased everything in the bowl at a price we all agreed was fair.

(We did check the price against some other shops we later passed and still shared the same view that the price was about right).

As we walked and were immediately shouted at by the very next vendor we knew we had made a good choice.

So what can you learn from Anthony?

Here are some take away tips which might just help your own retail sales…

  • People buy people.  The number one reason we bought from that particular shop was due to Anthony and his approach.  If people like you they are more likely to buy from you.  Simple as that.
  • Give something away.  He probably knew that as soon as we accepted the ‘free’ gifts there was a good chance we’d buy at least something.  The law of reciprocity is at work here and it states that if we take something from someone then subconsciously we want even it up somehow.  In this instance, that means buy something.
  • Give ownership to the buyer.  Anthony talked as if every item in the bowl was ours before we bought it.  In his mind in the bowl meant purchased!  Keep items out for people to touch, feel and smell.  If they show an interest don’t put it back on the shelf but keep it within their level of eyesight.
  • Be different.  Anthony stood out because he bucked the local trend.  Everyone had the same borderline aggressive and eventually mildly annoying tactics apart from him.  He wasn’t conforming to the industry norms and was doing rather well as a result, thank you very much.  What industry norms could you rebel against to increase your sales?
  • Keep an open mind.  We went in looking for shoes and came out with a giant inflatable donut!  It’s up to you to educate your clients as to what you have which might fulfil some of their other needs.
  • Upsell and cross-sell where possible.  Anthony was constantly on the look out for opportunities to increase our total spend with him.  If someone will buy one thing from you then they’ll probably buy more than one if you just ask them to.
  • Package items together.  Do you have common items which are purchased together or perfectly compliment each other?  Make some packages up for your clients to encourage them to spend more.  If only offered the opportunity many people will be delighted to.  It’s not their job to ask you, it’s your job to ask them.

Anthony was a sales professional in every sense and deserved the sale.

He didn’t charge us 5p for the carrier bag he gave us either.

What a hero.


Hope you’ve enjoyed my series of Caribbean blogs.   That’s it now, until the next trip away!

If you’ve missed any then you can read about our trip to the casino here, about good habits versus bad habits here, the two things you’ll never have together here and how to collect more Tripadvisor reviews the Caribbean way here.