Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bums are the world's greatest salespeople

I stopped at a Circle K to put gas in my car on the way home tonight and a stranger approached me asking for money.

Its not an uncommon experience being asked for money at a convenience store.  I have always been fascinated by the fact that convenience stores seem to attract people who are either perceived as homeless (or actually are), neighborhood bums, or beggars.

The guy asking for money looked rough.  He apparently was homeless or did a good job of looking the part.

I dug into my pocket and handed the guy about sixty cents.  The guy thanked me, said God bless, and shuffled across the lot looking for someone else to ask.

It occured to me as I watched him walk off that people who ask for money like that are truly the world's greatest salespeople.  They don't have anything to offer yet they manage to get total strangers to give them money.

Most every other moment in life requires being sold before you give something up, purchase something, or invest your time or money.  Even sex works like that.  There never seems to be an easy way to get anything.  yet, bums don't have anything to offer in exchange for your money and they get money for nothing all the time.  They don't even do a good job of asking most of the time.  Its usually a lame story if they even have one and yet they seem surprisingly successful at getting money from complete strangers.

There may be something to be learned from bums.  One thing I know I need to improve on in my life is learning to ask for things.  Bums have learned to accept rejection and keep trying.  They have an objective yet little if anything to offer.  Yet they still get people like me handing them money for nothing in return.  Major corporations spend ridiculous amounts of money to convince the public to do the same thing.

Something can be said for having a nothing to lose mentality.  A lot of the world's most successful people seem to have that trait.  Learning how to function that way may provide more success in the long run.