Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Understanding A Promoter

From today onwards, I am gonna start seeing sales promoters under a whole different light. Here's the story, remember that automotive club I joined this semester? Yeah, we actually spent the last month preparing a seminar that will be held this weekend. It is a 4 hour talk on three main types of alternative fuel; hybrid, solar and biodiesel.

Now, each of the committee members are required to take turns promoting the event at the faculty booth. Basically, we're handing out fliers, explaining to our faculty students what the event is all about and if possible, get them to sign up for it. I have never done promotional work before but backed with some very minimal public speaking skills I was pretty confident, at first:

(First try)

Ben: Hey there! Would you be interested..

Student: No no no. *walks away quickly*

I immediately froze and that's when it hit me like a ton of bricks, I am a PROMOTER! The kind of person I grew up to despise because of their pushiness and persistence and especially because of their 'say anything to get you to buy their product' attitude. There I was, one of... them.

I felt like shit but I picked myself up and quickly went up to another student:

(Second try)

Ben: Hey, we're having a seminar this Su...

Student: *Walks away, ignoring Ben*

Now I'm suicidal. I was gonna papercut my wrist with the fliers I have in my hands and just die there. For some reason, I felt that it was far less embarrassing to bleed to death in front of 100 people as compared to being rejected by just one person. After all, it won't really matter when I lose my first liter of blood.

That's when someone quickly stopped me:

(Without trying)

Student: Uuuh, what are you guys promoting?

Ben: My reason for suicide.

Student: What?

Ben: Oh no, I mean. We're having a seminar this Sunday.. yada, yada, yada.

After I got him to sign up, I was overjoyed but confusion quickly followed. If it's one thing humans can easily sense, it's desperation. So should I just sit at the counter and wait for people to come? Or should I just keep quiet and hand out fliers? Or should I be more selective of the students I'm promoting this event to?

Alas, Kim and I only managed to get 10 people to sign up in 3 days. Not bad considering that the total participants is only 43. Apparently, students are allergic to the word, "seminar". Promotional work isn't easy and my salute goes out to all you thick-skinned sales promoters. I promise to smile the next time I say no :D


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