You can sell almost while being friendly


Last Sunday I got a message from Bernie (not her real name), a former co-employee who sent me his best wishes almost every weekend. It was the usual representation of the cheers and joy people get on social media. This time, instead of a thumbs-up icon, I replied to Jun so he could picture me with a warm, smiling face.

In no time at all, this longtime former colleague dropped the bomb. He needs financial help for his maintenance medication.

I thought about it for a while and remembered our fond memories from over 35 years ago. Then I wired him a decent amount through GCash. I can’t refuse Bernie who was a good old, happy fellow. He was a six foot guy, with a tough physique who played basketball hard. I remember he was an active member of a militant employee union when I was in charge of labor relations, but we respected each other on even the most difficult management issue at the time.

Rewind. In the mid-1970s, I ventured into selling microinsurance plans as a student. The insurance premium was $ 3 for annual life insurance coverage valued at $ 100. The exchange rate at the time was around $ 1 at P4. With a memorized taglish sales pitch, I sold many plans to my classmates, teachers, and office mates at a small bank.

My network has made me earn a decent amount of money for my tuition fees.

At the same time, I remember my aunt from Manila visiting us in Laguna to have Tupperware parties on a weekend once a month. Our little house has become the regular hole that accommodated 11 to 15 of our relatives and neighbors. Every time we “party” my aunt would give everyone welcome gifts so they could be glued to their seats.

These gifts along with my aunt’s sociable personality gave her a huge advantage in selling those chic but expensive plastic kitchenware during the Martial Law years.

Recently, while walking through a supermarket with my wife, I bought a bottle of Korean Jinro Chamisul Soju even though I don’t drink alcohol. After several weeks, the bottle remains closed. I don’t even know if I would drink it. So what prompted me to buy it? Was it his pretty green bottle? Or my penchant for Korean action movies, including the global blockbuster Squid Game?

Love prejudices

Having a network of well-meaning friends is very important. The more friends the better. Today, it has become practical for us to say “hello” to each other on social media, if only to maintain communication and goodwill despite the pandemic. Sometimes I wonder if a greeting that came out of nowhere was just a veil to extract financial aid like Bernie who has a medical condition did.

Judging from her profile picture, Bernie, who was ten years younger than me, was not in better health. But he’s a friend. And if I could, I would probably help him again because he’s a good person. The thing is, I don’t have the financial means to help everyone who would like to send me wellness greetings. But more than friends, the same happened to me when I bought this Korean liquor.

How can we go wrong with kindness? Treat your friends, relatives and coworkers with kindness. Give them an extra dose of thoughtfulness. Say “hello” from time to time to maintain the friendship. It does not need to be expressed in monetary form. Offer help in any way you can without expecting anything in return.

We can even extend cuteness to a culture by sponsoring their great products.

It is about the appreciation bias or the positive effects of liking people that extend to their products or services. Perhaps this is the reason why I particularly like products from Japan and South Korea.

Advertisers use the taste bias to promote their products and services. They use smiling children, happy housewives and healthy families to sell consumer goods. The same happens when you see attractive TV and movie personalities promoting beauty products and popular macho celebrities showcasing their “favorite” type of energy drink, beer, and condom.

People don’t want to see a stone-faced model, an unhappy person in their product, unless it’s a memorial plan. So if you want to be nice, do the same to others, but don’t expect anything in return. If you do, your pattern will eventually show up without you knowing it.

Rey Elbo is a business consultant on human resources and total quality management as a merged interest. Chat with him via Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or send your comments to [email protected] or

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