What marketers and sales representatives in Uganda have to understand is that for every customer you lose, you lose a minimum of 6 customers or potential customers.
This is based on the fact that one person has a spouse (likely), 4 children and hiself or herself. AND each of them will tell other people and then you will lose more customers.
Some sellers act as if Ugandans do them a favour by buying their products or services. WRONG! They are doing you a favour by buying from you.
Let us get down to more business.
Pay your employees well and do not mistreat them just because Uganda has 80-90% unemployment. Well paid employees will have disposable to buy from you.
Well treated employees will tell everyone they know about your company or services. Treat your employees badly and watch how they go buy from your competition and even apply for jobs at the competitor.
I have been employed by an oil company fresh out of school. I only fuel my car at ESSO. My investments are loaded with IMO (Imperial Oil Ltd. Esso) and XOM (Exxonmobil which owns 69.7% of Imperial Oil). The main reason, these companies have treated me wonderfully and my family. Yes, some of you hate oil companies but some of these companies are really good companies and do help the environment. They employ many people and pay them well as well as providing nice benefits. So you see in my own way, I am also supporting my employer.
What happens with treating employees badly is they go home and say something like “never fuel up our car at that gas station. You will not believe what happened to me at work”. Then the spouse tells the circle of their friends and the chain continues.
Or what I heard from Uganda last year was “the company I work for is so horrible I cannot buy anything from them”. I asked why. Reply “we work from 7am to 7pm and they give us only one break with a lunch but hardly do we get any meat. I wish I can find another job”. Hey, give your employees breaks so that they can clear their heads. AND if you provide food for them as part of the deal, give them healthy meals because a healthy employee will work harder and give you nothing but the best. You cheat your company by mistreating employees and paying them slave wages.
Shopping affects your sales too. A potential customer walks into your shop and you check out how they are dressed first before you attend to them. I have seen this so many times in Uganda it is insane. One shop I went into in Kampala and was speaking Luganda proceeded to tell me “malaya gwe, tolina ssente”. My brother who usually takes me everywhere responded “temulina mpisa. Oyo omuwala ava bulaya”. Then they come rushing over thinking I have dollars. WRONG. I never take money with me to Uganda. My family pay for everything. But they will not pay if you insult me.
Another time I went into a restaurant in Mbale (Republic Street), I sat down and watched them for about 30 mins serving everyone except me. Hey, I never dress fancy at all for anything unless it is a business meeting. So finally at the end of the 30 mins, I asked to speak to the manager. The guy comes over and says, “can you not see that we are busy with real customers?”. My brother flew into a rage and we had to get out. Then we walked down the street to another place. As soon as we sat down, someone came over and asked us for our order. Instataneous, we placed our order. The most expensive items on the menu. Hey, it was party time. I remember later I sent my brother to go buy a crate of Nile Special for a get together we were having with friends and family.
Never judge anyone by the cover because some people do not show up in a mercedes or land cruiser but might have spending power.
Shaaaa – Ugandans joke around when it comes to sales and marketing and increasing market share or retaining customers.
Information you could use!
Martha Leah Nangalama
I do not speak for my employer or any organisation I am affiliated with. All my opinions are mine and mine alone. I have an IT and business background (sales and marketing included).