AMiable Solution #439: Why You Shouldn’t Sell Ice to Eskimos
If you’re in sales, or if you’ve been around sales people long enough, you may have heard someone say, “he could sell ice to an Eskimo.” This outdated (and offensive) idea, of course, is that the salesperson is so charming and smooth, he (or she) could convince a person to buy something he or she has no need for. Like selling ice to people living in arctic regions of the world.
While this may sound like a compliment, if you want your company or organization to build a reputation as one of integrity and sincerity, talking people into buying things they don’t need shouldn’t be the goal.
The problem with talking people into buying something they didn’t want or don’t need is associated with another popular purchasing phrase: buyer’s remorse. No matter how good a purchase may have sounded when the salesperson described it, at some point the seller goes away and the buyer is left with the bleak reality: I got suckered. Now, instead of becoming a loyal customer who provides positive word-of-mouth and endorsements, that “Eskimo” turns to social media to denounce the company’s practices and ethics. No repeat purchases. No referrals. No celebration.
How you make the sale is arguably more important than actually making the sale. It reveals so much about your company and what your customers can expect from you.
Are you making promises about the performance of your product, service, support, or company? You better know what you’re talking about. It won’t be hard for a buyer to figure out if you were telling the truth or not.
Do you lure customers into a sales conversation or pitch under false or misleading pretenses? I know more than one person who ended up sitting—unwittingly—through a time-share spiel because the enticement left out a few major stipulations.
Do you use photos or images that aren’t quite in line with the end result of your product or service?
Do you “forget” to mention promotion period end dates or price changes?
All these things may help you gain the sale in the short term, but they’ll undoubtedly kill your long-term plans and goals.
Making a good, honest sale includes
· Making the conversation about them, not you
· Knowing who your buyer is
· Knowing what your buyer needs
· Addressing unknown problems or missed opportunities
· Listening more than talking
Don’t be the one left out in the cold. Focus on the customer, not the dollar, for your best sales results.