It’s Not About Selling Ice To Eskimos

Driving around South Africa I heard an ad for a carmart website.

It began by evoking how brilliant a salesperson could be. I think they were trying to say they were as good as when you have the best salesperson at your service. Your car placed with them is as good as sold.

Unfortunately, the lines they used were flawed.

I can sell ice to eskimos

Well. I’m sure you’ve also heard its sibling; selling sand to the arabs. I actually saw a chap that once did this. Some ego-driven, freedom depriving, more-money-than-sense despotocrat was building a championship golf course. He demanded authentic Scottish sand for his prized bunkers. A Scotsman happily obliged and duly flew it in.

The inference in both appears to be that you can sell the unsellable.

The Inuit surely have their own inexhaustible supply of ice in the same way Emirati have desserts of sand at their doorstep. Yet the nagging doubt remains that a salesperson can only be considered worthy if they sell them something they do not in truth need.

The next line grabs you for another reason. Particularly as I, like so many I’m sure, aspire to be a Joan Ranger. (If you’ve never seen Fashion Police you are missing out – really!)

I can sell plastic surgery to Joan Rivers

This one is slightly different. Part of me feels that, as wonderful as Joan looks for an octogenarian, perhaps the sale of one more nip or tuck wouldn’t actually be that hard?! Mind you, I did read once that she denied ever going under the knife…

When I realised that the website featured on the ad was not yet up and running (incredible) perhaps such ambiguity is understandable.

I’m reminded of a quote that landed in my inbox many years ago, akin to;

no need, no lead

It maybe wouldn’t make as snappy a radio ad, yet the real skill – the one that guarantees consistent, mutual, over-achievement – is the ability to help anyone buy the right item when they have a certain issue/problem/aspiration at hand. (And of course, often the magic can be in helping them to discover that this does indeed exist.)

Joan Rivers calls me to keep looking young; Eskimos come my way for their perfect igloos; Arabs trust me to source the planet’s prime sand.

You can go further than these too. Imagine if you were to your clients like someone Warren Buffett pays for investment advice?

What are you trusted for? In which field are you the go-to person? Why would someone really value your expertise? What prospect ambition do you care about the most?

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