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The Eskimos don’t need your fridge

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Dedicated to the Eagles and the Turkeys. Also dedicated to the high flyers, the hesitaters, and the confused in the sales world.

Disclaimer: This is pretty elementary and nothing written here is a breakthrough or cutting edge.

After a long time, I heard a senior sales guy who claimed that he could “sell a fridge to the Eskimos”. This used to be a compliment, I guess many decades back but now it somehow sounded dumb. He said and I quote verbatim, “I breathe and eat sales. I can sell a fridge to an Eskimo”. Here is my response which I couldn’t tell him on his face.

You don’t know your customer: In this age, if you aren’t doing research on your customer, their pain areas, key success drivers, either you are in the wrong job or you have a good bank balance. Whether be it B2B or B2C, knowing your customer is as fundamental as breathing. Identifying that a “fridge” is a need for the Eskimos is a bad strategy for you and your company.

So if you had done enough research on the Eskimo, you would come to know that, they obviously doesn’t need a fridge. They might need a portable power generator and/or a WiFi connection.

Norepeat business: Even if you succeeded in selling that fridge to the Eskimo, they are going to find out pretty soon that this product isn’t meant for them and they would realize that “they were sold” by that sales guy. This is the first sign that you have lost long term business from them because people like to “buy” and “not to be sold” something.

You got short term profits but lost repeat business; credibility is at the lowest.

The Eskimo community will hate you: Not only you have lost repeat business but their word of mouth has spread to the community and you are on their “kick that guy out” list. When you leave a great impression with a customer, it’s easy to ask for referrals and on many occasions, it just opens doors to so many new customers and business opportunities. This is now gone.

If only you had understood the customer and their world, you would have known what to sell. If you don’t sell that product or service to them, hold back and offer to help them with someone you know who sells that. You would have been a hero!

Nojob in Eskimoland: People love doing business with people and the connection you leave behind with the sale, lasts long in their memories. So many times, salespeople have been offered jobs by their buyers who believe in their integrity, skills and want to bet on them. So, if there is a job coming up and you happen to have some skills that could match, you are already on that “kick that guy out” list, so stop dreaming that they would even consider hiring you.

Nurture relationship and take care of your customers’ problems; you will be rewarded someday at least on account of your good karma.

Please comment if you could think of any other bullet points.

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