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Dealing with Nigerian vendors – 5 interesting Tips

Have you ever tried to buy something and are greeted with a dispute due to miscommunication? You can learn these tips to save yourself from future embarrassments.

Nigerians are one of the most industrious people. According to Nordea Trade, Nigeria takes 111 in the world ranking with 57.3% in economic freedom. Nigerian vendors do the most if you ask me. They manage the success of the factors of production properly with or without proper education. Every average Nigerian you meet has a service to provide or a product to sell.

If you take a trip to the seaports, you will see containers of goods being exported or imported. Most of these goods have been preordered, and vendors are waiting for them to arrive for dispatch. The market is huge, and there is enough space for you. You only have to know the rules, and I have narrowed them down in this article.

5 interesting tips to dealing with Nigerian vendors

Be polite

This may sound funny, but a nice approach – in this case, politeness – opens so many doors, especially in business. There are times when you can be rude to people, and they still need your help, so they have to adapt to you, but the average Nigerian vendor doesn’t care about your money, even though they need it. They care little or less about customer service when you are rude to them. They can walk you out, and in the worst scenario, ask others not to sell to you.

My advice: Be nice!

Speak their language

There are two language patterns for Nigerian vendors – the local language and money. The first is their local language – if you want better service, speak their language. They feel like a connection towards you when you speak the same native language with them.

The second language Nigerian vendors understand is money. If you want to window shop, do it at malls. Vendors at malls are very nice – their attitude won’t chase you away, but their prices will. However, the Nigerian vendor in the market or the roadside store could see you as a swindler if you price goods too much. They might chase you out.

My younger brother, 12 years old, has been very passionate about having a bicycle. One day, he decided to act by faith and went to a bicycle store to ask for the prices of the ones he liked there. The woman him as small and broke and asked him to leave.

I have also had an experience where I would ask for the price of a dress, and when I make a promise of coming back to get them, I get a change of reception immediately.

My advice: Take some money with you.

Make a bargain

When you have the money with you, and the person selling is acting all nice, you should be careful with how you buy. I have bought a dress of 3000 NGN for 6000 NGN before.

How did I know the real price?

My sister-in-law is into online sales of shoes and clothes. She told me the cost-price for the dress, and I won’t swallow my pride and tell you how much it costs. Just be entertained with the fact that I cried.

Learn to make bargains. If they don’t bring the price down, act like you want to leave. If they don’t bulge, don’t go back – it could be a trick to test your street sense. Get the price from 3 to 4 shops. If the price remains the same, you can either go back or buy from the person you like more.

Make promises of referrals

Every business loves referrals – it is only logical. If you promise to bring your sibling or friend next time, they give you proper service. Nobody wants a bad report – that’s why celebrities get good services. Bad publicity kills business, so they are nicer when you mention references.

Have “change”

Change, here, is what is known in English as balance. Except you are buying plenty of stuff, you are expected to have the exact amount or the nearest denomination to what you intend to buy. If you want to bargain for a lesser amount, take your “change” with you. It is already annoying to them that you have reduced their profit.

This is not a regular business article. It is me giving you tips based on personal experiences with vendors here in Nigeria. Try to apply them and let me know if they worked for you. If you also have more tips to share, you can share as well.

See also: 5 refreshing holiday ideas to help your mind stay active

Ifunanya Mbakogu

Ifunanya Mbakogu is a professional editor and proofreader with a bachelor's degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. Drawing from a solid level of interpersonal and analytic skills, she is able to present societal issues and matters arising in engaging ways. She is an Editor at Talku Talku.

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