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7 lessons to learn from beggars

Let’s Talk About Beggars


They occupy the lowest pedestals of life. The unworthy members of the society that many would love to forget about.

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Their plights go unheeded, pleas unheard, and prayers unanswered – most of the time. You would be easily convinced that they have nothing to offer of themselves.

Yet, beggars have so much to offer. Some even end up being top marketers. It is quite an irony that marketers can learn so much from them.

Let me digress a little:

Diamonds are rough and ugly before polishing. Though they’re unsightly, this does not reduce their inherent value. Wait until they are polished when you begin to appreciate them.

Beggars, in a similar fashion, may appear dirty and unkempt. However, they still have an inherent value that will shine when the smothering factors are set aside.

This article explores seven traits of beggars that continually shine bright like a polished diamond. These priceless lessons are for every marketer who is keen on taking his / her business successful.

Let’s shoot away…

1. Beggars are resilient and persistent

I am yet to see a single beggar who goes on vacation. In fact, they do not even take a sick leave.

Very early in the morning when the rest of the town is still asleep, a beggar has already taken his position at the street intersection. No matter how early you rise in the morning to attend to your business, a beggar will almost always be out in the streets long before your arrival.

Beggars know that they have to be resilient to realize success. They keep working on their next project, choosing to focus on future opportunities rather than dwelling on their past failures.

Beggars know what they want and they go for it. If you have ever encountered a beggar, then you will agree with me that the stare of a beggar can be as scary as hell.

A beggar will try by all means to make an eye contact with you. That stare makes you imagine that he is probably seeing your soul. You get uncomfortable and you tip him to get out of the situation.

I am not saying that you should make your clients uncomfortable when you try to sell to them. Try to get your client’s full attention. That’s what I mean.

When you have her attention, make her understand that she needs the service you are trying to sell to her. Make it about her, about the benefits she will derive from the service. When you make it apparent that she is the one benefiting from the service, she will definitely open her purse.

Marketers need to inculcate the value of timeliness in executing their tasks. You should always be on the lookout for new prospects who will grow your business in the days to come.

2. Beggars know how to make their requests easy to accept

I have encountered this beggar several times whenever I go to town.

When he approaches you, he ensures that he has your attention by making an eye contact. He then makes a fist to show five and asks, “Would you kindly help me with five shillings? Just five!”

He is sure that it is highly unlikely for you to lack the five shillings that he needs.

It would not be surprising to find out that he gets more money than many working people do by close of business. He has mastered the art of synergy. He knows that small contributions will eventually add up to a substantial amount at the end of the day.

A lesson for marketers here:

Always try to make the stuff you are selling to your target market easy to afford.

For instance, if you are selling a subscription service for say 300 dollars a year, break it down into smaller units. Instead of telling the people they are paying $300 a year, tell them they are paying 82 cents a day.

It works like a charm. People place a cheaper value on the cent; they are convinced they can easily afford it without braking a bank.

3. Beggars know that differentiation makes it easy to sell to a unique market segment

To a greater extent, Apple has been successful in marketing so much due to its special product offering. Apple is not just selling a product; it is selling an experience that the customers are unlikely to get elsewhere.

Beggars are masters of differentiation / market segmentation.

First, they stand out in the way of their dress. A beggar’s costume makes him easy to pinpoint from a crowd. He is so unique that people do not have a problem identifying him from the crowd.

Even within the beggar society, you will notice that there are those who carry placards, others sit at strategic points, while others sing and perform theatrical arts to catch people’s attention. This is all differentiation.

Imagine a man dressed in a business suit with a suitcase as if going for a very important business meeting. Now picture this man sitting down at the street corner with a beggar’s bowl asking for alms.

Would you give him money?

Your guess could be as good as mine. I bet you would think twice before giving your hard-earned money to someone who is better dressed than you. Most people will think that the man must be pulling some sort of a prank on them.

As a marketer, you need to differentiate your goods and/or services. Your product or service should offer a specific experience that will keep your customers coming.

You will not get loyal customers until you begin to offer them an experience that they cannot find elsewhere.

4. Beggars maximize future earning opportunities by building relationships today

Beggars know too well that getting a “NO” from one person will not hurt their chances of getting a “YES” from the next client. They know that there are only two sides of a coin. Getting a “NO” is just one side. There is always a 50% chance of getting a “YES” from the next client.

I have noticed that, when a beggar gets a “NO” from a client, he rarely gets violent or abusive. Instead, the beggar will just wish the client good luck and bless him / her.

He is more concerned with building a relationship for a sustainable future income. He knows that the future income opportunity is worth much more than a one-time boon from someone he may never meet again.

He also knows that if you don’t have something for him today, tomorrow you will.

You are better off creating and nurturing trustworthy relationships with your clients because when clients learn to count on you, they can be very loyal to you. Such clients are more likely to buy from you because they like your personality.

5. Beggars split test their marketing strategies

Beggars are not new to this split testing thing. They have been doing it for ages. They do it to find out a strategy that brings maximum returns with the least effort.

Let me use this fairly common story to illustrate how beggars split test.

A blind young boy sat on the street with his beggar’s bowl asking for alms. Beside him, there was a placard with the inscription, “I am blind, please help.” For several hours many people passed by but only a few dropped coins.

Then a man approached him. Saying nothing, he picked up the placard, flipped it around and scribbled a small note on the reverse. He placed it back and proceeded with his journey. He neither said anything to the boy nor dropped a coin into the bowl.

His steps had hardly faded when many people started dropping coins into the bowl. The boy began wondering why people suddenly became more generous.

Later in the day, he heard the man’s footsteps approaching. When he (the man) had come close enough, the boy asked him what he had written on the placard. The man told him that he had just re-worded what the boy had written. The man had written, “It is a beautiful day, too bad I can’t see it.”

From this story, we can see that there are many ways of expressing ideas. People see things differently making it necessary to keep testing different ideas until you find the most effective one.

Split test until you find the idea that brings maximum returns with the least effort. When you do, stick with it.

6. Beggars know that opportunity meets preparedness

The strategy of market positioning works closely with split testing.

Beggars know that your location determines your allocation. Since their business depends entirely on luck, they have to place themselves strategically for the luck to call on them.

Beggars know which streets they are most likely to get lucky. You will find them near eateries, near ATMs, at the gas station, and such like places.

They know that people who go to such places have the money to spend. They are certain that you have a change to spare. That spare change is what they are targeting and they most certainly get it, always.

As a marketer, you should learn how, where, and when to place your wares before your prospective clients. It makes the difference between getting a sale, or not.

There is no better time to sell to a client than when they’ve just bought something. When you present to your client a complimentary product immediately after they purchase the first product from you, they are highly likely to buy it.


  • First, their wallet is still open. They’re still in a spending mood.
  • Secondly, you have confirmed that they have the money to spend.
  • Finally, they have no reason not to buy if the product or service is complimentary to what they have just bought.

These three reasons explain why sales funnels are so effective.

7. Beggars spend a lot of time praying and meditating

A brief encounter with a beggar will reveal to you that they are a prayerful lot.

In fact, beggars tend to pray more for other people than themselves. They believe that God will hear their prayers and bless those who provide for them. They believe that, by praying for you, you will prosper and the spillover effect will be their blessing.

As a marketer, you should seek for the prosperity of your clients, always. When your clients prosper, their purchasing power increases. In a moment, they can now afford to purchase more stuff from you. This translates into more sales, more revenue, and more profits for you.

You cannot always help all your clients materially, but you can help them spiritually by praying for them. Before you meet your next client, pray. Prayers have a way of working out things in people’s hearts.

Spend some time to grow your faith; it makes things that seem impossible to be doable. You will look back at the challenges you overcome in your journey and ask yourself, “… and how did I even overcome that challenge?”

You will know that it is not you but God working in you.

What else does a beggar teach you about marketing?

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Janesheillah khayanje
10 months ago

Really touching… Am impressed

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