Malachi and Monique Lightfoot have been Real Change vendors for just a short time, but they’ve already set a new sales record. They became vendors in January of this year, and in February Monique sold 245 and Malachi sold an impressive 1,681 papers. There’s no mystery or magic to the way they did it, but there is a story.
“It all started from a good deed,” says Malachi. He and Monique were homeless, living out of their car at a truck stop in Sacramento. They had just learned Monique was pregnant. He was talking to her on the phone, talking about going to a shelter, when he looked up and saw a man in a business suit whose car had a flat tire. “He was all dressed up,” Malachi says. “I decided to go over and help him. When I’d finished, he asked me what I wanted for changing his tire. I told him I wanted a job, and he gave me one.”
The man helped him get a job collecting signatures in West Sacramento for a petition. For the next several years, Malachi and Monique made their way petitioning — gathering signatures. They worked all over the West: California, Utah, Montana,Wyoming. Malachi also went east a couple of times, to Cleveland and to Chicago. In the fall of 2018, their work brought them to Seattle to work on the One Equality for Washington campaign. The petitioning part of the work ended in January.
They learned about Real Change as they were collecting signatures out in front of the Trader Joe’s on Roosevelt Avenue. “People kept trying to give us money because they thought we were selling Real Change.” Monique checked on the Real Change website, they went to an orientation, and started selling on Jan. 8.
They set their sales record in the month of February, in spite of the recurring snowstorms that seemed to stop almost everything else.
Monique laughingly refers to their time as petitioners as “running with the circus,” but says it was like boot camp for selling. She says, “We’re used to staying in front of stores and speaking to everyone who comes by, and not getting money.” So they speak to everyone who comes by. Malachi says they get about 20 “noes” for every “yes,” but they understand that those are just the odds they have to work with. They don’t take it personally, and can keep going for long hours.
Malachi says they get about 20 “noes” for every “yes,” but they understand that those are just the odds they have to work with. They don’t take it personally, and can keep going for long hours.
Their February results were unprecedented. Managing Director Shelley Dooley says, “A vendor who sells 300 papers a month is a really good vendor, and can claim a sales spot for their own. We have another tier of high performers, people who consistently sell 600 papers a month, but only a few who sell a thousand. And they have usually been selling for years.”
Malachi and Monique Lightfoot plan to be in front of Trader Joe’s in Lynnwood for the foreseeable future, selling Real Change. They’ll probably talk to you as you walk by.
Malachi and Monique are active vendors selling Real Change. Each week a different vendor is featured. View previous vendor profiles.
Read the full March 20 - 26 issue.
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