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Fuel Your Mind Friday

4 Business Lessons Learned from a Mexican Street Vendor

Published 2 months ago • 3 min read

Week 392 (brendan@brendanbarca.com)

Here's your weekly dose of Fuel Your Mind Friday where I share business building ideas, lifestyle design hacks, and inspirational content to help you thrive in your work and find purpose in your life.

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PSA: My wife, Pema Sherpa, and I have another blog called The Mindful Minute! Check it out.

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4 BUSINESS LESSONS LEARNED FROM A MEXICAN STREET VENDOR

Last year my wife and I lived in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City. One of the things that's different in Mexico is how you go about buying produce. There's no Whole Foods in Mexico and the chain supermarkets don't have those high caliber fruits & vegetables you'd expect in this farmer-friendly climate.

Instead, what you do in Mexico is scout out the street vendors who have the freshest produce at the best price. During our first week we tried several but finally settled on a produce stand just a couple blocks from our apartment. It quickly became our "go-to" spot.

The owner's name was Daniel. While his produce stand didn't look like much, each day people from all over the neighborhood came to buy Daniel's produce.

After being a consistent customer of Daniel's for six months, I learned some important business lessons from him that I think can help any small business owner or sales person and I wanted to share those with you today.

1- Making No Sale > Making a Bad Sale

Often times when we'd arrive at Daniel's produce stand, we'd be running low on avocados and bananas (two of our favorites). We'd ask Daniel if he had any and he'd check his inventory. He'd feel the avocados and eye the bananas. If he sensed that the avocados were too firm or the bananas were too soft he'll tell us. "Lo siento, no aguacates para hoy" or "los platanos no son buenos."

Time and again, to our surprise, Daniel would choose to make no sale rather than making a bad sale. This is an important lesson we. If what you offer does not fit your prospect's needs or it's of low quality, don't sell it to them. If you make a bad sale you risk losing the relationship forever.

2- Personal Touch Creates Sticky Customers

On our second visit Daniel recognized us and asked us "Cuales son tus nombres?" (what are your names?). Once we told him, he didn't forget them. Every time we'd come back he'd say "Hola Brendan! Hola Pema! Que tal?"

This stuck with us and made us stick with Daniel. Not only did he have great produce, but he also added the personal touch. He went the extra mile. In business, never underestimate the importance of remembering a prospect's name, or how many kids they have, or their birthday. The personal touch creates sticky customers.

3- Do the Customer a Favor They'll Never Forget

Daniel's produce stand was cash only. One time I was out at a cafe and Pema asked me to grab two tomatoes on the way home. The problem was, I had no cash. I went to Daniel and used Google translate to explain my situation. He understood immediately and gave me two tomatoes. He told me I could pay him "manana."

This type of customer trust is something I wasn't accustomed to in the U.S. But, it's this type of gesture that can get you a customer for life. If you can go above and beyond to do a client a favor they'll never forget, you've won them over.

4 - Kindness is a Universal Language

Pema and I don't speak Spanish very well. Ok, we barely speak it at all. But, kindness is something that can be felt across language barriers. Daniel's kind energy was felt every time we approached his stand. This made our day's better and brought us back again and again.

Being kind and exuding positive energy is one of the simplest ways to earn a client or colleague's admiration and trust. It's simple but powerful.

The next time you're interacting with clients, networking with colleagues, or even enjoying time with your family, remember these lessons from Daniel the Mexican street vendor. With the right approach and attitude you can win over clients, colleagues and friends alike.


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- Brendan

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Fuel Your Mind Friday

Brendan Barca - Entrepreneur | Speaker | Blogger

Helping busy professionals create space through mindfulness, level-up their mindset & design a life with purpose.

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