“If I could come out with you and see how you do it, I’m sure that would help…”
This from a very keen but not very successful member of the team.
I was flattered: Anyone who doesn’t like a bit of flattery is talking nonsense. It does wonders for the self-esteem – particularly when you’ve just driven to an appointment and found no-one home like I did yesterday morning.
So I agreed to take him out into the street and show him how to do the prize draw – although I did have my reservations: Gabriel is from Argentina and English is not his first language. By contrast I can talk the hind leg off an animal sanctuary. But we also have Albert in the team – and Albert is from Albania (and who is he likely to meet in this country who speaks Albanian?)
Yet Albert is hugely successful with the Cold Market. So I invited him along as well and the three of us fetched up on the street in Ipswich.
Albert didn’t have to be told to get started (in fact Albert had started in the pub car park which had been our rendez-vous).
“Just watch Albert,” I said to Gabriel.
Albert started asking passers-by whether they wanted to win a car or £10,000. Within two minutes he was deep in conversation with two middle-aged women carrying shopping bags.
“See how it works?” I said to Gabriel and, holding up my prize draw form, I went into what I like to think of as my bit of street theatre: “Here you are you can win a car or £10,000…”
People started ignoring me.
“…it’s a free prize draw…”
More people ignored me.
“…we just put…”
“…your name into a hat and…”
“…if your name comes out…”
The sixth person said: “I’ve got a car.” He was tall and dignified – a businessman in his fifties.
I called after him: “Well if you had the £10,000…”
He turned. I stood my ground and tilted my head back (there is a string running from the end of my nose which was now tied firmly around his waist).
“…which charity would you give it to?”
I stood up straighter and jerked the string. He started walking back to me, repeating: “Which charity?”
“Yes, if you won the £10,000 which charity would you give it to?”
By this time he was standing right opposite me. I relaxed the string. He considered and finally settled on : “The National Autistic Society.”
“Great, we’ll give it to them. What’s your name?”
And now I have an appointment for Thursday.
Gabriel shook his head: “You made that look so easy…”
I told him: “It’s just practice. Now you try…”
And he did. He held up his form. He stumbled through the words – and within five minutes he had an appointment too. OK, so it turned out he already knew the people (and if I hadn’t been there he would have sent them some information!) But the fact is that standing in the street doing a prize draw is an excellent way to break the ice with friends.
Now we all had an appointment (Albert had two). It started raining and we went for coffee (Albert kept talking to the people in the coffee shop).
“Albert talks to everyone, ” I explained.
“So that’s all I have to do…” said Gabriel with the air of one who has discovered a great truth.
It was afterwards that he spotted a pretty girl sitting on a wall waiting for a friend. He went to talk to her. She didn’t seem to think there was anything particularly odd about this. Now she has a DVD and he has her number and an appointment to call.
“So it works?” I asked.
“Yes,” said Gabriel, “it works.”
Albert didn’t say anything. Albert was talking to someone…
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