How to Sell In Zimbabwe or Any Place in Africa

When selling in Zimbabwe or anywhere in Africa you will undoubtedly come across a number of obstacles that are common within the continent of Africa. Here are strategies I have used for over 25 years.

Are you trying to figure out how you can sell anything to anyone, anywhere in Africa, online or in person?


What it comes down to is your foundation, mindset, presentation and engagement strategy. Money helps, but that is the last thing you should be worried about when planning to be in business for the long haul.

How to Sell in Africa – The foundation


To illustrate how this works, I would like to take you back to a time we all remember – the fuel crisis of Zimbabwe in 2002 – 2004.

It was a time when very few cars would be found on the roads. Those that were on the road were either full of people (most of whom were hitchhikers) or were being driven to a service station to get in line for the precious liquid. Those queues would stretch for kilometers and staying in line for 2 to 5 days had become the norm.

Now as you can imagine, under such conditions, cars with the least amount of fuel consumption were in demand. Anyone looking to earn a bit on the side was in the business of trading small vehicles, directly or indirectly. Again, this was the standard. 

My buddy and I had always been fans of BMWs, so we knew that prices of large luxury vehicles were pretty much on the decline. We sat down and mapped out areas we could source such vehicles, these were mostly affluent areas of Zimbabwe. The owners had opted to either purchase or downgrade to smaller vehicles.

We bought a couple of BMW’s for what I can honestly call a steal. We had them polished and had their minor, but numerous faults attended to by our trusted mechanics. The cars were now reliable, good looking 2nd had BMWs. Selling them was our next feat. That was the preparation stage.


How to Sell Anything – The Right Mindset

We knew that we could sell anything provided we found a market, if not, we would create one. Our first step was to frequent popular hangouts where people would ask about the cars.

Occasionally, we would casually educate people on the unique attributes of BMWs and the benefit of owning one. We made sure we attended the top parties and always ‘made an entrance’. This was subliminal marketing. People have always liked trending news. That was our marketing stage. 

Within two weeks enquiries started coming in and we sold our first BMW. A week after that, we sold another one. Within six months we got to a point where we eventually formed a little unofficial BMW club while the country was in a fuel crisis. That was our selling and after-sales/customer support stage.

If was a regular practice for one of us to notify the group when one of us came across a fuel station with a short queue or whenever we came across a place with good tires.

It is important to note that the buyers did not buy the BMWs simply because they were BMWs. They bought them for the experience – which is exactly what we were selling. The cars represented fun, unity and reliability at a time when those feelings were hard to come by.

We saw a problem in the market and came up with a solution to address it. 


The Approach When Trying To Sell Anything In Africa

In a nutshell, what we sold was a much needed experience. A getaway from the difficult and stressful life that had become the order of the day in Zimbabwe thanks to Mugabe and his cronies, I digress - my apologies.

Our unofficial BMW club soon attracted people from different sectors and in no time, we were trading other 2nd hand luxury vehicle brands.


The Presentation when Trying to Sell In Africa

The point here is that at times, you can create a market for your product or service by simply looking beyond the basic needs.  People will often frequent a business that makes them happy and provided they can afford it, price will cease to be an issue.

My basic Blueprint on How To Sell Anything to Anyone In Africa


1. Identify your market

2. Believe in your product (it shows; people can see when you are just selling vs when you believe in your product/service)

3. Promote to your market in a way that is appealing and relatable. Show that it solves a problem or satisfies a need.

4. Your price should reflect your character (too expensive = greedy, too cheap = no confidence in your product)

5. Your after-sales service has to be perfect – this will get you referrals which are the best kind of customers because they need little to no convincing to make a purchase.


For more tips, visit our digital library and download marketing ebooks that suit your needs.

Zim Buddy Team

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