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Face To Face

AuthorI was just about to leave my house last weekend when a young man rang my doorbell and asked me to purchase some popcorn to help support his scout troop. Now I was in a hurry but a couple of things struck me about this guy. He was probably 11 to 12 years old, extremely poised, polite, nicely dressed and he had the courage to knock on my door and attempt to sell me something most people really don’t need, or want…so right off the bat he has my attention.

It’s important to note at this point, I’m not much for popcorn. I am one of the few people I know that can go to a movie theater and resist the temptation to spend an extra $20 for a popcorn and soda combo. It just isn’t my thing and yet, I am about to buy popcorn from this kid – and that got me thinking.

Okay, remember – I am in the act of leaving my house to meet someone and am not wanting to be delayed. So, I asked him the following, “Is this something you’re doing for a while, in other words, come by tomorrow, I’ll have cash then and I will buy some of your popcorn.”

AuthorTo which he responded, “I can take a check.”

I now realize I am dealing with a future Warren Buffett here and happily write him a check for his fundraising efforts.

I thought about this long after it took place and every time I did, it would bring a smile to my face. Having been in sales for many years longer than this young gentleman has lived, I got a kick out of seeing someone his age employing good old-fashioned salesmanship. He obviously didn’t learn this by staring into a phone so I suppose the Boy Scouts of America deserve some credit and probably his parents do as well.

It also very well illustrates how important it is to get face-to-face with your customers. In a world where more and more commerce is done online, it’s easy to get a bit jaded about the importance of the process – but I will tell you this: I would not have bought that popcorn from some pop-up ad that appeared on my phone. In fact, I wasn’t really buying popcorn, was I? I wasn’t buying something I really didn’t need or want. I wrote that check because I wanted to reward him for his effort and he deserved the sale. The value I received was the satisfaction of supporting the Boy Scouts and encouraging fine young men like him to continue doing what they are doing.

It also reminds me of how much more I learn when I am in front of my customer and when they say, “I’ll catch you later…when I have some cash.”

I’ll be sure to let them know, “I can take a check.”

About the Author
Mark Nardoni is a Strategic Account Manager at Optima Graphics.
He has been in the Trade Show industry since the early 90s.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, other Authors, Optima Graphics or Taylor Corp.


  1. September 16, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Well put . . . . I have a Girl Scout and I would say 98% people in the all direct sales, door-to-door purchase cookies.

    It’s like responding to an RFP when they just send it over on your web page and then refuse to set up meeting to learn more about each other. Don’t waste your time. The relationship and the face-to-face is what works.

  2. Cherie A Word
    September 16, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Love this!

    • Mark Nardoni
      September 16, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      Thanks Cherie!

  3. Sarah LaFrance
    September 16, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    HI Mark! This post is perfect. Thanks so much – really makes a lot of sense.

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