Friday, 26 March 2021

Apprenticeship and the Art of Sales

In Nigeria, you don't start talking about apprenticeship and forget mentioning the indigenous tribe of the eastern region, the Igbo. The Igbo trade and apprenticeship system has lasted for decades. It entails serving someone, a master, for some period of years after which the person gets settled - paid off.

The years one can serve ranges from five to nine years. It involves rigorous involvement in a particular merchandise or trade fro those number of years. The enrollee, the servant, is trained to know the in and out of what the business entails. He is also taught purchases, of which may involve, importation of goods from other countries.

The most striking thing about this system of training is the send off ceremony and entitlement. At the end of the training period, the servant having satisfied all training processes is then awarded, not limited to, some amount of money for startup. He also gets to take charge of an fully equipped shade/stall/warehouse, these are courtesy of the master.

At this juncture, the servant becomes a master with his own business and business name. Then come the issue of sales.

At his former master's business sales might not necessarily be cumbersome as he is coming to an established business with customers already patronizing the place. He mostly learns how to sale and engage customers. But on his part now, having a new business, he is to learn how to get customers, keep customers and sale to them.

It becomes a lot easier if contacts are made when he was with his former boss, he can easily get some of them, who have trusted his sale expertise to patronize his new establishment. Two things could be highlighted that could make sales a lot easier

1. If he truly learnt all that needed to be learnt in the business i.e the learning process must be thorough. Most person don't get to stay till the end of their apprenticeship period and so jeopardize their chances of securing good relationships and valuable business contacts. If he stays till the end of his training period, he should have mastered the art of sales and that could endear him to more fortune.

2. Having a convincing power to keep customers. So we have a problem in our society where we always chant 'give new people an opportunity' all the time but we never truly do. I went to get a hair cut sometime ago but on getting there, I realized the main person wasn't on seat and so I have the option of engaging the apprentice in the barber's shop or going somewhere else. Lol, what did I do . . . ? 😖😖😏 I decided to go. My hair cut is important to me, please. But on hearing that the shop owner would be back soon, I decided to wait for him and when the apprentice decided to call me as it has gotten to my turn, I asked him, "Shey you don cut my hair before?", he answered on the negative and I told him not to bother.

My only reason was that, looking at him working, he was not confident on the clippers and such persons can add your hair to one of the trials and error cuts and I don't want that. Sometimes, have a convincing approach that you can do something. Be courageous and don't shiver. Own the moment.

If you follow the above rule, your apprenticeship period will be fun and the art of selling your services and goods will be a lot easier.

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