Selling Snow to an Eskimo? No Thanks!

Surely selling has gone beyond the days where "selling snow to an Eskimo" could be considered a good thing?

31st March 2016Leigh Ashton

I absolutely love selling … but I know that a lot of people can’t stand the thought of it. And I understand why when I come across some of the unpleasant stereotypes or behaviours that some people associate with selling. One in particular that always makes me cringe is “She could sell snow to the Eskimos!” or “He could sell sand to Arabs!”


Selling snow to the Eskimos? No thanks!


In my book, it’s a poor salesperson that sells something that’s neither needed or wanted. Surely selling has moved on from persuading people to buy, buy, buy, and to hell with the consequences! While techniques like this might have been more accepted in the past, they’re badly outdated now … not to mention seriously ineffective, and bad for your bottom line.


Here’s why:


If you can manage to sell somebody something that they don’t really need or that’s not suitable for them, you’re simply setting yourself up for problems down the road. It’s more than likely that they’ll come back to you with an expensive cancellation, or even a complaint, both of which will hurt your bottom line.

Besides, even if they don’t come back to you for a refund or to complain, you’ll have definitely destroyed any trust they might have had in you. Any short term gains you make through the sale can’t be worth anywhere near as much as a productive, long term win-win relationship with a customer.


So what should you do?


Work with your customers and potential customers, not against them. The whole idea is to create a relationship that gets better and better (and more and more profitable) over time, not to flog them something and then run off in the opposite direction ASAP.

Does this mean that you have to instantly give up on any and every customer who doesn’t immediately want what you’re selling? Of course not! It means that you need to take the time to ask about their needs and wants, their perspective, and their timeframe, and then see how your products or services can fit into that.

And it might not happen the first, second, or even 10th time you connect with them … we’ve had sales relationships that have gone on for three years before the customer was ready to buy! But because we had taken the time and care to build a relationship with them, they trusted us and immediately thought of us when they eventually did have a need that we could meet.

Until next time,

Leigh xx

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