A nose for good sales technique

PUBLISHED: 16:31 18 January 2007 | UPDATED: 22:30 28 May 2010

Fenland smells. I consulted Thomas who is an authority on such matters and he confirmed my suspicions. Fenland has indeed got some very distinctive pongs. Of course, the citizens of certain parts of Wisbech don t need an expert to tell them that, over the

Fenland smells. I consulted Thomas who is an authority on such matters and he confirmed my suspicions. Fenland has indeed got some very distinctive pongs.

Of course, the citizens of certain parts of Wisbech don't need an expert to tell them that, over the years, parts of their town have smelled very strongly of pet food.

And anyone living in King's Dyke or Whittlesey knows that, when the wind is westerly, the locality positively reeks of deep-fried chips.

Visitors to the area often comment, at various times of the year, on the powerful whiff of onions or waterlogged cabbage. On the other hand, Wisbech occasionally comes up smelling of roses. Thomas recognises less obvious odours.

He has no trouble in detecting the smell of the River Nene even when he's in the car with the windows shut. He can also sniff the scent of Eastrea in the same way. That may be because he lives in next-door Coates.

Thomas is, incidentally, our Shih-tzu.

In fact, it seems humans are just as sensitive to smells as dogs.

We've become used to estate agents telling us that the aroma of newly-baked bread or ground coffee helps to sell a house.

Supermarkets pull the same trick, artificially boosting the smell of the in-house bakery to make us feel happy and in a mood to spend.

It took me a long time to realise why my father was so reluctant to get rid of the bottles of scent from my mother's dressing table after she died.

Nothing was more effective than those scents in keeping her memory alive.

Similarly, nurses have told me that domestic smells such as mint sauce can help patients recover consciousness.

Now it seems a number of firms are cashing in on the way scents subconsciously influence us.

Sales of women's clothing apparently rocket when the shop is perfumed with vanilla.

Oddly, the smell of roses entices men to splash their cash while everyone spends more in jewellery shops if they're full of fresh flowers.

Other businesses are working out how to make their own products smell sweeter - except they're trying to keep it a secret so we don't realise we're being tricked.

If you want his help, Thomas is happy to stick his nose in anything.

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