«Market pitchers routinely transform a patch of bare ground into a sea of eager purchasers using little more than their ‘gift of the gab’ and some homespun ‘psychology’ to convince passers-by to stop and buy their goods. Employing some of the world’s most successful selling techniques, in one of the oldest and most difficult of all marketing situations, their rhetoric and social skills have to equal that employed by the most accomplished salespersons, politicians and professional persuaders.
Between 1984 and 1994 sociologists Clark and Pinch recorded over 75 pitching routines on street markets and other sales sites throughout the UK, mainland Europe and the United States. Using examples of pitchers attracting a crowd, describing and demonstrating their goods, building bargains, cajoling the unconvinced to make a purchase and coping with problem customers, the authors reveal, for the very first time, the reasons for these traders’ extraordinary success—both on and away from the markets. Comparing their findings with more orthodox sales situations—direct response TV home shopping and infomercials, as well as other forms of grass-roots selling (fly pitching, the mock auction sales con, street entertaining and urban ‘hustling’)—the authors highlight many important lessons that have relevance for everyone involved in all types of marketing, advertising and persuasion.
In this revised, updated and extended edition the authors also reveal why, today, pitching on markets appears to have become a dying art. Original, authoritative and highly readable, The Hard Sell is an essential and often hilarious guide for anyone who wants to understand how real-life selling really works.»