What I learned from street hawkers in Ghana – UK based Digital Product Manger shares

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imageFor some, this is a menace. For drivers, it can be a convenient way to grocery shop whilst in traffic. For others, it is the only choice they have. Whichever of those groups you may incline to, I’m sure you would agree that they possess some admirable qualities that those in the Western World could adopt. Whether they learnt these skills or they developed it along the way; they sure know how to sell!

If you think you can stroll through the streets of Accra in the comfort of your car or even an Uber without being approached with a sale, you better take a u-turn. 

A recent encounter in my 2nd home in the vibrant, colourful city of Accra in January made me realise how talented Street Hawkers are as salespeople. I mean, they could put some cold callers to shame, even if the weather is warm! Bypassing various sellers on the sidewalk in Ghana’s congested Oxford Street, one zealous seller in particular stood out and caught my attention just outside one of my favourite food chains in the City Frankies. I couldn’t help but notice that various sales techniques were employed in his attempt to sell his custom name bracelets:

1. Current Affairs

The seller first attempted to sell to me by trying to tie recent events into the potential purchase…

“Aburokyire (Means ‘abroad/foreigner’) do you want me to make you one of these? Ghana is playing today.”

(Ghana kicked off their African Cup of Nations 2017 campaign that day.)

2. Souvenirs/Gifts

After declining the sale, the seller tried to overcome that barrier with a follow-up interrogation…

“Don’t you want a bracelet to take back abroad or to your family or friends?”


3. Find common ground with your prospect

The seller happened to have a similar backpack as me that day which was covered in stars…

“I have the same bag as you !”

His rapport-building skills were commendable.

4. Sell them a dream…Paint a picture in their mind…if you can!

After numerous attempts to sell to me, he switched from questions to imagery…

“But, I can put your name on it !” (Personalisation)

Good salespeople and marketers are able to get their prospects to picture themselves in or with the purchase, hence why the best car salesman are the best. Just give this guy a suit, formal training, a salary, and a phone like Eddie Murphy in Trading Places and witness what he can really attain.

5. Never take no for an answer!

When I said no, he kept going. He was relentless. For some people in Africa, selling is all they have. It’s all they know so they have to sell for their lives. It’s not easy in some countries.

Whilst in an Uber heading to the Cinema, i was approached by a seller I rejected almost instantly this guy who was selling Pirate DVDs. These are practically extinct in the western world thanks to the rise of the Internet and its speed boost. There was a car reversing who was about to hit him. I pointed and asked him if he was going to move. He didn’t even flinch. It’s like he was blinded by the potential sale because he was so desperate.


“I was thinking that did this man value one sale over his life?”

One sale he wasn’t even close to getting.

But anyway he probably knew that the guy in the car reversing wasn’t going to hit him anyway. 

It’s a hard knock life.

But anyway, the morale of the story is, you would be surprised what can be achieve when you are under pressure. When your back is up against a wall.

Your true potential is waiting to be tapped into.

I dedicate this post to Nana Kwesi Coomson, Professional Journalist and Founder of 233times.com who inspired me to write this.



Adrian Daniels

Adrian Daniels

 (Digital Products & Technology Professional, United Kingdom)

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

[email protected]

A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

view all posts by: Nana Kwesi Coomson  


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