I sit and work in a co-working space (just for the sake of productivity and because it’s cool to sit in one place and work sometimes). Most of the facilities we have here are all shared, so is the cafeteria (we get our own lunch).

As I sit with a colleague and eat, I noticed a tall, wispy old man who got two or three cohorts with him along with large boxes.

We settle down, start eating quietly. Out of the blue, the old man whips open a jar of pickle (this is the Indian version of a pickle — which is hot, spicy, and this particular one was made of raw mangoes), starts talking to my colleague who happens to be seated right next to where the old man was standing.

While talking, he opens the jar, scoops up some of that pickle from the jar, and drops into my colleagues plate. Next, he nods at me and drops some pickle into my plate too.

He then moves around the hall to serve others a free sample.

We taste some of that pickle. We like it. We let the old man know just how awesome it was and we leave after we are done.

Much like a webinar with a pitch at the end, I knew that he was going to nudge and ask for a sale soon after folks were done with lunch. The pitch was going to simple:

“Would you like get some of these little Jars of mouth-watering, spicy, and home-made pickles for your home?”

I also know he’d have made some sales that day.

But, wait. Why am I writing this little story? Because we have a few things to learn from that entire episode that day and from the old man who sells pickles too.

Here’s what we can learn:

It’s never too Old to Hustle


The man who sold pickles? He’d have been in his late 60s or early 70s. Yet, he stands tall (not just because of his height), proud, and confident with his product (his wife makes it probably).

I admire the poise with which he stood, the grace with which he opens his conversations, the fact that he was multilingual, and also how easily he moves around chatting away.

Looking at him that day, there was only thing going on in my mind: it’s never too late to hustle, and we should hustle when we can.

Are you hustlin’?

Give value away first


His pickles are his product. They are made from freshly-picked organic farm produce, and they are made at home, presumably by one person (the old man’s wife). They belong to a state in India that’s known for food (and pickles) so it’s safe to assume that the old lady has magic in her hands. After tasting the pickle, this much was confirmed.

But the old man didn’t just put up shop in a corner and wait for sales to happen. He was so confident about his pickles that he is willing to give away some of it for us to taste.

That, right there, is giving value away. Are you thinking of all sorts of lead magnets and free giveaways yet?

It’s all about relationships


Heavenly-tasting, out-of-the-world pickles are one thing; but relationships are completely something. Plus, you can put relationships in a bottle.

Apart from his product, the old man’s charm was palpable. He was unmistakably making an impression with his chitter chatter, warm small talk, and his ability to get along with so many people so very well (at so many different levels).
The reason why his pickles got sold is mainly because of the instant relationships he was able to create; it’s because of the doors he opened.

Sold. Next.

You only get one chance


The old man doesn’t work where I work, so it’s not like he has all the time in the world. He is obviously roving all over with his entourage most of the time.

That afternoon, with us seated there, he only had one chance at it. He would make it or he would not. He might sell some jars or he might not.

It’s a chance he wants to take everytime, though.

If you think about it, this is true when you start doing digital marketing too, right? Your popups have one chance, your website has once chance, your landing pages only have once change.

In a way, we are still lucky that we have retargeting.

The old man can’t put a pixel on me, if you see what I mean?

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