She went to the bus, pulled the door open, stepped aside and watched the occupants alight. Ten of them, seven women and three men; all dressed like her, in a white monogrammed T-shirt over a black trouser.
With a file folder in hand, Vetty waited for her group to assemble. When all their attentions were focused on her, she appraised them for a moment and then raised her voice a notch to carry over the noise and clatters at the garage as she addressed them.
“Okay, ladies and gentlemen, here we are, the first day of our campaign. Go out there, enter the market, the shops, the stalls, and talk to them, convince them, confuse them, whichever, but get them to open an account with us. The target for today is fifty customers for each person.”
At their gasps, she flashed her winsome smile, revealing gapped white teeth. “Good luck.” She watched them go; she had flagged off the campaign and expected nothing but success as usual.
She turned to those beside her car, opened the file folder and gave each a sheet of white paper with the names of six companies. They studied the names on their papers.
“Must we go to the whole six companies today, ma?” The question came from one of the females.
She looked at the intelligent and eager faces of her small group of new employees. They would deliver, that she knew, she picked them specifically to penetrate the big companies and talk to the top people.
“If possible, yes, if not, tomorrow is another day. We have one week to comb this area.”
“Remember our agreed time and make sure you are back here, I don’t want to wait for anyone, and...” she looked at them with a firm glint in her eyes. “Concentrate on the job; talk to everyone from the top person to the least, even the cleaners should not be left out.
“Okay, good luck.”
Her broods were out for the chase and she had no doubt, at the end another feather would be added to her success cap. A giddy feeling washed over her and her face glowed with joy.
She opened her car, took her handbag, locked up and instructed the bus driver to take care of both cars. She checked her file, noted the address of the first company on her list, not sure of the location, she enquired from a passerby; satisfied with the direction she left the park with bounce, confident steps.
She loved her work as head of the Marketing Department of Omega bank, Yaba branch, but she itched to get to the head office as the General Marketing Officer, and with this vision in mind, she worked assiduously in her present position.
Full of intelligent and innovative ideas, Vetty devised new methods and plans to increase the bank’s customer base every year. This year’s campaign, she tagged Neighbourhood Awareness, a one-week intensive marketing outreach to organisations, companies, and shops within their vicinity. When she unveiled her plan during a general management meeting, it received an instant approval based on her past performances. Last year alone, the daily contribution, esusu, she introduced for market people and small-scale business owners, yielded financial success to the bank and earned her an award.
At the company's gate, she greeted the security man and stated her mission. He opened the gate and directed her to the lobby.
"Thank you, sir." She switched on her customer's smile. "Even you can open an account with us, sir."
"Haa, madam, I never get enough money feed my family, not to talk of see left over to put for bank." The middle-aged man said with a self-conscious laugh.
“Oga, it is good to save small-small money for tomorrow.”
"I know madam, but where you see the money to save." He shrugged. "I get wife, I get children that go to school, and salary no reach to do anything."
“But you don’t need plenty money to open the account. With five hundred naira, you fit open account with us and be adding small money inside and you fit withdraw all the money anytime you want too.”
“That one good, I think say I go need plenty money to open the account.”
She laughed. “No sir, this one is a special account; we want everybody to save money with our bank.” She opened her file, brought out forms, and gave one to him.
He took it and looked at it. “Okay, ma, make I go through it, then think about it and tell you my mind.”
“I will help you fill the form if you want.”
“Emmm, when you come out.”
She gave him a nod and an acquiescing smile as she left. She walked into the lobby, a young girl sat behind a desk, pressing a phone. "Excuse me."
“Yes, how can I help you?” She dropped the phone faced down on her desk.
“Please, I want to see the Managing Director of the company.”
“Do you have an appointment with him?”
“Not really, my name is Vetty Nwadialor, I’m from Omega Bank, and I’m here to discuss bank formalities with your MD.”
"Our chairman is around and is having a meeting with the MD; maybe you should see the accountant."
“Well, that’s okay.” Vetty smiled at her. “Do you have an account with us?”
“This is a good opportunity to do so; we are having a special customer account campaign.”
"Thank you, madam, but I already have an account with another bank."
“Of course, I know, but nothing stops you from opening another account, besides, we’re in the same neighbourhood, so you don’t have to go far for your banking services.” She opened her file and gave her a form. “It will only cost you five hundred naira to open an account with us.”
She attended to each person according to their level of income. Of course! She wouldn’t ask the managers to open an account with five hundred naira; this type of account was meant for junior workers and students.
The receptionist took the form, gave it a cursory glance and dropped it on her desk. “I will go through it later.” She pointed forward. “Go straight down this passage to the end, the last door on the right is the accountant’s office.”
“Thanks so much.”
As she turned, the receptionist opened her drawer, dropped the form inside, closed it, picked her phone and resumed her chat on WhatsApp.
Vetty knocked on the door.
“Yes, come in.” A cheerful voice said within.
She opened the door, strode in with a wide smile. “Good morning sir.” She stretched forth her hand.
The accountant, mouth agape, stood up and took the proffered hand. “Good morning madam.” He indicated for her to sit down.
She sat and favoured him with her customer smile. “I’m Vetty Nwadialor, from Omega Bank; it is our Neighbourhood Awareness Campaign week. We want to know our neighbours and tell them of our special bank services.”
“Welcome madam, I'm Mr. Omotayo. But this T-shirt your wearing is good o, I hope I will be given one as part of your awareness services.”
Vetty laughed. “It's for staff and not for customers, except you want to join us in the bank work.”
Mr. Omotayo weaved his hands, face scrunched in horror. “Haaa! No, bank marketing? Count me out, if it is to sit and count money, fine, but to walk the street for customers.” He shook his head sideways. “I don’t have the anointing; I’m not good at convincing people.”
“Tough job, right?
“Yes o, very tough.” He admitted. “And it requires patient too. I don’t have that virtue as well.” He laughed.
“Yes, patient, you're right, people are eccentric, we put up with a lot just to meet up with our targets; we swallow insults and smile through rejections.” She grimaced and Mr. Omotayo smiled in sympathy.
"The banks are wiser now, they send out pretty women to do the marketing. A look at the woman's beautiful face and shapely contour will compel a man to fill the form and bring out his chequebook." He laughed at his own remark.
“We are not out to entice men but to do our job and earn a living.” She knew many men reasoned like him, they felt female marketers were entrapment for them. When she got the job, her husband refused her to take it. According to him, bank marketing was nothing short of prostitution in disguise. It took a lot of convincing before he relented.
To her, everything boarded on ethics and character. Though, to succeed in the job, you have to spread some charms to get customer’s attention and make them listen. But that doesn’t mean you must spread your legs too, except a person with loose moral attitude.