A girl with good sales instincts

While on holiday in the Philippines, I bought some souvenirs from a girl on the beach. Putting aside the fact that I wish she didn’t have to work, I was super impressed by her sales skills.

Here is how the conversation went:

Me: How much is the turtle magnet?
Girl: 250 PHP, but I’ll give you a little discount.
Me: I don’t want a discount. I want your best price, and one that you’ll be happy with.
Girl: Ok. 150 PHP.
Me: Do you make these turtles yourself?
Girl: No, I buy them for 50 PHP per piece. If I sell you one, I only earn 100 PHP.
Me: Ok, I’ll take two then. And let’s take a picture to celebrate.

The girl and her friends – all happy with the sale – smiled for the picture and we all went on our merry way. Later, she returned with two beautiful shells for me in appreciation of my purchase.

At the airport two days later, I saw the same magnet at 250 PHP a piece. It was proof that the girl gave me a fair deal. When I reflect back, she was super brave to approach me as well as very honest and transparent (she even told me her margin). Best of all, she was kind, especially with her shell “thank you”.

When I started thinking critically about our deal, some questions came to mind.

How would you answer them?

  • If I didn’t know her margin, would I have made the same decision? How should this information influence my negotiation strategy?
  • How can I judge what is a reasonable margin in this context?
  • Why should the salesperson’s interests matter to the buyer?
  • What is the girl going to do with the money? Who really controls it?