Three Sales Lessons From Balinese Hustlers

As some of you may or may not know, I have spent my fair share of time Bali. It never ceases to amaze me the sales skill of what I would like to term ‘The Balinese Hustlers’.

I see these guys as a breed of skilled salesmen and women who have grown up learning and perfecting their craft. These guys were probably selling in their diapers. There was an occasion recently where a young kid who wouldn’t have been any old than three years of age come up and try to sell me a necklace. Pity sales, I guess one of the many techniques.

As I observed the Balinese, I watched how they interacted with millions of tourists that visit the beautiful island every year and I started to make comparisons against how I sell in a B2B and how it compares to the sales techniques of Balinese. What was my conclusion? I concluded that there wasn’t a hell of a lot that separated the sales techniques of myself and them. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were better salespeople than some ‘professionals’ in the western world. Sure the value of what I sold might be 100x more, but the fundamentals are the same.

With that in mind, I started asking myself, what was it that really made these guys excel at what they do? Also, is there anything I could take away from these observations? Was there anything I could use to improve my own sales skills?

What are the three skills which stood out, which drove their success daily?


I’ve never met such a friendly culture in my life. Such positive contentment can only rub off on you, and by comparison, these people are poor! How can someone be so happy with so little money! The thing I found with the Balinese Hustlers was that, before attempting to sell, the very first thing they did was build rapport. ‘Gidday mate’! I’d hear as I was walking down the street (little did they know I am a kiwi, not an Aussie), or once I corrected them, ‘Ki ora bro!’. Such a simple gesture immediately helped to facilitate a connection between two parties who only seconds ago had none. Once they had me talking, they would start asking questions about me. Who I was, where was I from, what am I doing in Bali. Always digging, whether for an opportunity or not, is beside the point, but it made me feel valued, and it got me engaged. It becomes much harder to say no to someone with whom you have built such a solid rapport.

What is the takeaway from this experience? People buy from people they like and people they trust, and this is why rapport is such a fundamental skill in the sales world. With every street-side stall selling the same knockoff glasses, Bintang t-shirts, and jandals, rapport and personality is the only thing that is going to separate one vendor from the next.

So start asking your clients questions! Please get to know them. Care and listen to what they have to say. Salespeople are notorious for talking far too much, so take the time to listen! It may just be the deciding factor between choosing you or your competitor as your supplier.


The Balinese never give up! What would be the consequence if they did? They would most likely starve. Yes, you heard correctly, no one is going to bail them out because they lack the skill to sell to survive. The government isn’t going to bail them out, therefore it’s up to them to feed their family and create the ideal life that they can afford.

Also, these guys work hard! I had a lovely taxi driver who got out of bed at 2 am and pick me up from the middle of nowhere. For that reason, I gave him a $50 tip.

Perseverance is a fundamental skill that separates the good salespeople from the poor salespeople. A good salesperson will not give up, won’t take no for an answer without exploring all the options, and won’t let rejection put him off his mission.

Do you get emotionally involved in the sales process? Do you crash and burn at the first sign of a no? Remember, selling is a process. You will get plenty of no’s, far more no’s than yes’s, but its the yes’s that pay off and make all that work worthwhile.

I think in today’s western society, we have it too easy. How would you cope if you had no-one to bail you out?

Work so hard that it is impossible to fail; the Balinese do, they don’t have a choice. Preserver and success will eventually come your way.


Want to learn to negotiate? Have a holiday in Bali. Are they out to rip us off? Probably. But if they can profit massively from a rich, overweight tourist who am I to judge. Good on them.

I recall an experience when I was in Thailand, where a lovely lady came up to me with a selection of goods that she was attempting to sell. At the time, it was a stifling hot day, so an umbrella that she was selling took my fancy.

Now, I can’t remember the exact details of the transaction; I believe the woman tried to offer me a steep price for the umbrella. So I played the game, asked a low cost, she came down, offered a higher price she came down some more and eventually agreed somewhere in the middle. As it turned out, I only ended up squabbling over a couple of dollars, but at the time, 50 Thai Baht sounded like a large sum of money.


Where does the value lie in the products you sell? Everything has value if you are selling to the right market, so don’t sell yourself short to get the deal. If you could have the ability to earn $120 or $1200 commission, which would you prefer? I feel like it’s fairly cut and dry. Make sure you sell the value and don’t sell yourself short.

What products do you sell? How can you improve the value of what you sell? Leave me a comment below and let me know!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *