The sun was at its scorching best that Thursday afternoon as I entered the trotro station. The

usual pushing, shoving and struggle for space between both humans and vehicles that

characterises the main Kwame Nkrumah Circle trotro station made the situation more

unbearable. I finally managed to board the stuffy mini-bus and rightfully I felt a sense of relief

to have finally escaped “far from the maddening crowd.” As I settled in among the few

passengers already in the vehicle I realised the wait was going to be long but I had no other

choice than to wait, and pray to God that the vehicle got filled up early enough.

Having resigned myself to having nothing to do but to wait, I found myself observing the

hawkers as they scurried to and fro trying to sell their wares. With all manner of sales strategies

acquired at the ‘School of Hard Knocks’, they tried to outwit both direct and indirect

competitors. Sales strategies in the lorry park range from the traditional to the sophisticated

(by hawking standards). While some were engaged in shouting on top of the voices to attract

the attention of prospects, others resorted the best way to grab your attention was to push

their wares as close to your nasal cavity as practicable.

Interestingly, I spied on a particular seller, an ice-cream seller, who was adopting quite an

‘unconventional’ means of selling and was achieving some considerable success. Whilst his

colleagues were moving from one vehicle to another trying all means possible to get people to

purchase or patronise their wares, this seller picked just one vehicle at a time to practise his

sales strategy. Fortunately for a keen observer with an interest in sales like I was, he picked our

vehicle which was more than half-full by then.

The sales strategy of this ice-cream seller was simple. He picks a vehicle that was almost full,

walks over to it and just stands there with his box on his head without saying a single word. No

fanciful selling antics, no shouting his lungs out, just simply standing in a position where anyone

who entered the vehicle would see him. When passengers entered the vehicle, all hot, tired

and obviously thirsty from trekking under the scorching sun, they would turn to look at the

“yoghurt” seller and as if by reflex go for one.

At first it came across to me as just coincidental but after four straight scores, I decided to

watch out for what would happen the next time someone came along. Sure enough, a middle-
aged woman came long to board the vehicle. Her demeanour was evidently one of someone

who had experienced a hard afternoon. After settling in, she glanced around as if for

something to buy. Though she looked in the direction of my subject of interest, i.e. the yoghurt

seller, it seemed she was not in the mood for an ice-cream.

After a few minutes passed without this woman buying whatever she had in mind. Then as if by

some magic she looked at the ice-cream seller and out of the blues ordered one for herself.

Once again, the master yoghurt seller had sold without ‘selling’. This gentleman, as was

evident, did not possess an MBA (Marketing option) but here he was putting into practise all

principles associated with the 4Ps of Marketing. His application of the rules of good product

placement was simply awesome. His use of the silent promotional tactics would have been the

envy of marketing guru, Philip Kotler.

To all those packed into the trotro that hot afternoon, there was nothing unusual about the

whole incident, but not to me. I found myself being educated by a seemingly ‘uneducated’

fellow right at the trotro station. The sales lessons I learnt from him were quite astounding.


The placing of a product (or service) is right only to the extent to which it offers convenience to

the consumer.

He realised that the consumers (i.e. we, the honourable patrons of the trotro) would find it

more appropriate not to have to shout across the station to call a yoghurt seller. The products

were literally right under our nose. To enhance the chances of you increasing your sales find the

most appropriate place to market your wares.


In sales, sometimes it pays to adopt a totally different and radical approach to beat off the


As a sales person, you do not always have to “go with the flow.” Do not do what everybody is

doing. Whilst his colleagues were scrambling all over the lorry park, he had placed himself

strategically and was reaping the rewards of having gone against the crowd.


Patience can sometimes be the best policy in a highly competitive market.

It does not always pay to react to every little change in the business environment. The yoghurt

seller knew better not to be moving from one vehicle to another whenever it seems as if he was

not going to make any sales at one particular vehicle. He was patient enough to wait for the

sale and truly the sale came. This technique is also used effectively by predators in the animal

kingdom. Animals such as spiders and chameleons, and plants such as the Venus’s flytraps do

not usually go chasing their preys. Even they know that “good things come to those who wait.”


Sometimes the best way to sell is not to attempt to sell at all.

He just stood there as if he had nothing to do. It seemed as if he was not selling whilst that was

exactly what he was doing and surprisingly he was closing more sales than most of his


Eventually, our vehicle became full and we got ready to leave the station. As the trotro left the

yard, the last lesson of the encounter dawned on me.


Life is a school. Everyone you meet is a teacher. Every encounter is a lesson. Every day could be a

time for a test. Therefore never disregard the teachers you come across everyday nor the daily

lessons you are taught in the University of Life.

P. O. Box DS 2134
 Dansoman Estates