Bizmaker: The Tale of the Dancing Beggar

(Originally published on July 20, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)


By Mark So


Have you ever encountered a beggar hounding you to no end? On the streets, they walk up to you and stretch out their hands persistently asking for spare change or something to eat. If it’s a street kid, they will look at you with sad eyes and yearning in the hopes that you give them something out of pity; or worse, because they feel that you owe them something.

And they are persistent! They won’t leave until you either give them something or you say “No”. And even after you do say no, they still linger hoping that you’d change your mind.

As Filipinos with sympathetic hearts, we’d probably give in the first time, probably even the second or third; but after one too many times, you would probably not want to be bothered with the same guilt strategies they employ.

What I just described would probably make you think that all beggars are like that. But indulge me, dear reader, as that is not entirely true. You see, there exists a different kind of beggar, a rare breed, if you will.

Have you ever encountered this scenario: You are walking on the street and this “rare” type of beggar approaches you and instead of the usual demeanor and just asking for spare change, he starts off with “Good morning sir! Gwapo natin ngayon ah (You look handsome today).” No one would readily expect that, so you reply with a smile and give him a chance to make you feel even better. The next thing he does is to break-dance in front of you and other bystanders, and suddenly, he executes a blast from the past, when strut and the moonwalk were both in fashion. And he’s quite good!

Then after the show—and without him asking for anything—you find yourself reaching not just for loose change but handing him a crisp R20 bill. And before he leaves, he executes another super dance move to show his appreciation. Money well spent on the deserving—at least that’s what I believe.

If you have experienced this type of beggar, then you have a feel of the vibe of the moment; if not, don’t fret, as this is indeed rare. Personally I’ve only encountered such a person only twice in my entire life. And I am P40 less rich because of it. But it was all worth it and it made me wish that all beggars were more like him.

The point of the story is this: does the first type of beggar remind you of that pesky telemarketing agent who wakes you up at 8 a.m. in the morning to sell you something that you do not even need? And what do you do? Do you feel yourself wanting to buy his products? Chances of doing so will be slim to none because it is downright irritating and does not really add any value to your life.

Now what about the dancing beggar? Does he give you the same harassed feeling or do you find yourself entertained and engaged?

The few times I encountered the dancing beggar, I felt less stressed; and to be honest, happy not just for me, but for the beggar breaking from the norm. More importantly, both times I voluntarily gave more than what was necessary because I felt they deserved it. For in the brief moment that they showed their moves, they relieved me of the stresses and pressures of life. And to me, this is what true salesmanship ought to be.

When it comes to sales, understand the pressure of meeting one’s quotas, as I, too, depend on the skill to put food on the table. But the manner in which you go about doing it will spell the difference between a life of begging versus a life of fulfillment.

For those in sales, especially ones tasked with the tricky role of telemarketing, it is not enough to stick with a spiel of what to say—even if this is the normal practice. It is also very important to make the customer feel good about talking to you.

Would you like to know how to do that? Stop thinking about you and your quota. All you’ll end up doing is pestering the person into a purchase. Instead, think about how to make the other person feel good about himself and whatever it is you are selling, just like the dancing beggar. If someone without a job can do it, so can you.

The lesson that I will leave you with is this: Sales is not just about being persistent and pesky, it is also about how you “package” yourself in front of the other person. Keep the customer engaged and wanting to hear more from you that by the time you move in on the pitch, they will be more open to whatever it is that you are selling.


Mark So is a businessman, investor and educator. He is the chairman and CEO of BusinessmakerAcademy—a business, finance and corporate training center. He is the founder and Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Asia, a trading club of Forex Traders across Asia. He is also the founder and chief trainer of the Philippine Franchise Institute, which specializes in training and growing existing Franchise businesses. A sought after speaker for business and investing, you may e-mail your comments and questions to or call the office at (2) 687-4445/3416/4645 for a schedule of his seminars.


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Posted on September 2, 2011, in Biz Maker, Business Agenda Classifieds Columns and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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