There are thousands of ways to sell a product in Latin America, but as my Dad used to say;
“It’s all about marketing”
You could market your product like the good folks at the shoe stores in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. You could dress voluptuous young woman in skimpy outfits and have them gyrate to the pulsating rhythms of high volume reggaeton in front of the shop. This would drag half of the male population out of their offices and homes and onto the dirty, crowded rain sodden streets so that they can willingly engage in ‘window shopping’,with total impunity, while thinking only about…shoes.
You could follow the direct marketing approach favoured by the vendors of snacks, drinks and other small items, who board buses and trains the length and breadth of the continent, offering tasty morsels and cool refreshments to customers in the comfort of their own seats.
You could also offer these and similar products through the bus and train windows every time, and everywhere, the bus or train comes to a halt.
With enough tenacity, and tough skin, you might also try laying some broken glass on the floor of a train carriage in Mexico City, before removing your shirt and turning a forward roll over the glass, in return for some shrapnel.
You’d have to be quick, though. Quick enough to evade the authorities and your competition, some of whom you can hear before you see them.
They’ll be traipsing the aisles with a heavy backpack containing a boom box and yelling;
“Damas y caballeros, todos los exitos de Juan Gabriel en un solo discooooooooooo. Mas de 200 cancioneeeeeees. Vale cien pesos, te cuesta diez pesooooooooooooossss!!!!” with a distinct Chilango inflection.
You’d be amazed how many passengers will part with 10 pesos for a fake CD containing Juan Gabriel’s greatest hits.
If you employ these tactics, you are assured of some success, assured of putting dinner on the table that night and surviving one more day in this cut throat business.
You might also try your luck selling products to waiting motorists at traffic lights in busy cities, and with the right entrepreneurial spirit, you may succeed in selling the live guinea pig you are offering.
Perhaps head over to Xochimilco, near Mexico City. Acquire a gondola of your own and cruise the canals full of tourists in need of water borne food, drink, tequila, cerveza, or even a live Mariachi band.
Elsewhere in Mexico, offer a free shot of Tequila to entice your ‘friend’, ‘amigo’ or the love-struck ‘Honeymooners’, and offer them prices so low they are ‘almost free’ or ‘cheaper than Wal Mart’.
However, there is one method that is unlikely to succeed.
It is direct, yes, in fact very direct. It is accurate, yes. It is vocal and audible, just like the peddlers of fake CD’s in Mexico City, but it is not advisable.
If you notice two potential customers, both women, with hands intertwined, casually strolling past your souvenir shop in Playa del Carmen during a balmy early evening, don’t attempt to promote your wares by yelling;