Sunday, August 9, 2009


'Charismatic' saleswoman on Yamagata Shinkansen enjoys brisk sales..!!


Admirers call Kumiko Moki, 29, a ‘‘charismatic sales staffer’’ because she once achieved record-high sales of 500,000 yen (RM20,000) in one day aboard the Tsubasa bullet train on the JR Yamagata Shinkansen Line.‘‘For me, the Shinkansen line is like a stage,’’ said Moki, who became a chief instructor guiding about 1,300 sales personnel at the age of 26, the youngest person ever to take the post. When the native of Tendo, Yamagata Prefecture was a child, she wanted to become a cabin attendant.

When she was a high school student, she said, ‘‘I was a ‘kogyaru’ and studied nothing.’’ A kogyaru is a fashion- and peer-conscious girl in her teens or early 20s.After graduating from school, she went to a job-placement office each day and fretted about her future, wondering, ‘‘What am I going to be?’’On her way to Tokyo’s Shibuya district for shopping aboard a Yamagata Shinkansen bullet train around that time, Moki saw a salesperson aboard the train and decided to become one. She was 18.

In familiarizing herself with the job, she worked out her own unique ‘‘techniques.’’ After being scolded by a passenger when her trolley hit the passenger’s foot, she started walking backward with the trolley behind her.As a result, she started catching the attention of passengers and was quite often stopped by them. That sales method, called ‘‘back sales,’’ has spread among her colleagues.

She was also successful in cutting down the time it takes for a transaction by guessing ahead how much change in coins she needed, allowing her to double the number of trips she took up and down the train. She also uses the Yamagata dialect to better communicate with passengers hailing from Yamagata in northeastern Japan.‘‘I love my hometown. I would like to promote Yamagata more to passengers by riding Shinkansen trains as often as possible,’’ she said.

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