Tag: Beijing

Ralf HallerRalf Haller October 11, 2008

How to persuade in sales – “lessons” from Chinese traders

I am reading an interesting book, YES!, 50 secrets from the science of persuasion. While reading it I somehow thought that most of the scientifically proven “secrets” they mention I just came across in China. It was in one of these markets in Beijing where they sell all kinds of low-cost goods. Could it be that these dealers and the many in other countries have figured out without using any science how to best persuade buyers? One would think so as they manage to survive quite well, it seems. So here’s the Chinese way of getting people to buy, assuming they are indeed out to buy something and not just walk around. I am sure you remember this if you have been there as well.

  • get attention: “come see”, “do you want…”, “hello sir”, “s.e.x.”, “best…”…
  • pull them in: have you go into their booth, “come take a look”, “which one do you like?”…
  • get interaction: “here hold it”, “pick the one you like”, “where are you from?, ah beautiful country…”, “for your wife?”…
  • get action: “how much, here type it into this calculator”, bargaining starts closing in on the desired sales price, if you play this game you will most likely end up in the middle of each one’s first-entered sum; a trick you can use: once the pricing game is done, change your mind and start moving out of the booth slowly, this will lead to another BIG discount: the bigger it is, the worse you negotiated before in the first round.Still you will inevitably pay much more than locals even after hard negotiating, +50-100% I think is pretty much the best you can achieve, so best is to go with a Chinese or send someone telling exactly what you like. Or if you don’t like this all then you simply bring a list along that shows the right Chinese prices. They will hate you for that but it works, just always keep a smile though!
  • after sales: they try to sell you more, “something for yourself too?”, “a second one maybe”, “here our business card, come back and you get another 10% discount”…

Ralf HallerRalf Haller October 6, 2008

Beijing after the Olympics – economy and online marketing

I am back in Beijing for a business trip and will try to take some pictures that are hopefully unique. Today it was overcast and raining intermittently, so I left my camera in the hotel, expecting that I will have better weather soon. I saw some great things, though, and regretted not having my camera with me after all. One was a new shoe shop in the Sanlitun area that was filled with people still at 9pm on a Sunday. The shop’s neon name sign read: “C.P.U.” In China you never know if such names are used on purpose or by accident.

Not far away was the white Apple logo, standing above China’s first Apple store and completely dominating the shopping center skyline. The store was also still well frequented at this time, and the Apple people were actively selling with presentations on large LCD monitors to young and old, presumably explaining how much better the kids will be able to study with a MacBook and relax with an iPod.

The bars were empty, though. as you would expect on a Sunday evening, although of course I bet this was different during the Olympics. Maybe they were also busier earlier in the year: my not very representative survey talking to people shows that people are fully aware of the stock market crash and expecting that China, too, will be hit economically. Many people seem to have stayed in the market and have now lost big (one woman told me she bought China Oil for 15k RMB and it is now only worth 5k). Pessimistic people commenting on the Internet expect that it will take tens of years to recover; I bet it will be much much shorter.

One other interesting thing I noticed in a cab was a touch LCD monitor built into the rear of the front seat showing all kinds of ads. It was possible to turn off the audio, so it seemed fair enough. The text was in Mandarin only. Googling around a bit I found whose project this was: General Electric did it in 1000 Beijing cabs for the Olympics. Also interesting to read how social networking, blogging, all sorts of viral marketing ideas and much more was taken into consideration in the biggest ever online media blitz during these past Olympics.

Lastly, I was already able to make great use of an iPhone app called Beijing Taxi Guide. It is from the www.thebeijinger.com and let’s you find most of the hotels, sights, restaurants etc. The guide provides you with the place’s address, phone number and something even better: a full-screen Chinese character description of where to find it. Since the Beijing taxi drivers don’t speak English and often have problems understanding foreigners, this works great (mostly, at least: one taxi driver could still not find the place, which was more his problem than the iPhone guide I think. At least I managed to call the number quickly and they could direct us nicely. And it looks like even better Beijing guides with maps are on the way, but of course the one who came out first has an advantage: time to market(ing) is key for online marketing. I was impressed: this was a really good example of how to digitally promote your business through location-based services.