Homeless Man Sales Secrets: How to Make People Smile and Give You Money

Homeless people are some of the best salesmen in the world.Learn exactly how they persuade people to part with their hard-earned dough.

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I work in the heart of downtown Chicago (the "Loop") right smack dab in the financial district.

There are always tons of people bustling through the street but around noon is when everyone comes out for lunch and there're easily 4 - 5x as many people on the street as usual.

This is also the time when all of the panhandlers come to the street corners. What's interesting to see is all of different types of ways people are hustling.

There are artists selling their drawings, a woman who sings and sells chocolate, guys who sell newspapers, people who have signs, and the guys who shake a cup. All of these people are doing the same thing.

They're selling.


They're trying to get you to take money out of your pocket and put it in theirs. Plain and simple.

Successful homeless salesman share a few of the same qualities. These principles are simple, yet insanely effective.

They Understand that Attention is Currency

Gary Vaynerchuk talks a lot about how attention is the new currency, and that he day trades attention. Gary said that in 1996 emails he sent to his Wine Library TV email list got an open rate of around 91%. Can you imagine an open rate of 91% in today's world?

It's near impossible because of how much our attention is divided now. There're so many businesses and people clamoring for your attention as soon as you unlock your phone, power up your laptop, or turn on your TV.

Money follows attention. Just look at all of the YouTube stars and Instagram models. A lot of them don't sell anything. They trade attention. They can command eyeballs and that is worth money.

The guy playing drums and doing tricks on the street corner is going to make more money than a guy just shaking a cup. Entertainment = money.

Who do you think would make more money and draw larger crowds on a street corner - a Harvard Professor giving a lecture or a break dance troop who were recently featured on a popular TV show? Homeless people understand that getting attention is crucial.

Getting the attention of Chicago commuters going to and from work isn't easy so you gotta get creative.

This next part really floored me:

I saw a man get on the train and once the doors closed he launched into a long story about his rough upbringing and how he's trying to change his life so he won't do drugs. Then he just asked for money and several people raised dollar bills up in the air.

He went from one end of the car to the next plucking dollar bills as he walked by. This is brilliant. For three to four minutes until the next train stop that guy had a captive audience of 50 - 60 people. Since he was the only one talking he literally cornered the market on attention.

The Power of Being Broke

The buildings in downtown Chicago are full of salespeople. The street corners of Chicago are full of salespeople. But homeless people have a distinct edge in their game. If the sales guy on the 42nd floor didn't make a sale that day he may be pissed off on his ride home and get into an argument with his wife.

If a homeless guy doesn't make a sale, he doesn't eat. This is a huge edge. This is the power of broke. How much harder would you work and how much more persuasive would you be if your life literally depended on it? I bet you would get rid of any fear of what people would think of you real quick.

They Put Themselves Where the People Are

One of the mistakes that I've made online (a few times) was trying to build niche sites and create elaborate plans on how I would drive traffic to them - sound familiar? I made things much harder on myself because I was starting from scratch with traffic and audience numbers at zero.

Do you see many homeless guys out in the boondocks hustling on the corner for change? No, because there aren't any people out there. They go to where the people are. They find the crowds, get in front of them, and present their offer.

YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit are just a few of the major channels where you can get in front of people. In my past projects I've neglected these channels making things much harder on myself.

Hustle Like a Homeless Man

When your back is against the wall you have to cut out all the B.S. and get down to only what works. There's no time to debate over what WordPress theme you should use, the theme music for your YouTube video, or what the best shopping cart is.

You've gotta just cut all that garbage out, get to work, and if something doesn't pan out the way you thought it would - adjust and move forward. To learn how to write emails that work click the button below to join the mailing list.