Tap to Read ➤

Selling Ice to Eskimos

Claudia Miclaus
It is no easy task to sell ice to an Eskimo, but who says it can't be done? See some important steps here that can help you achieve this seemingly impossible metaphorical task.
As a salesperson, your ultimate goal is to sell as much as possible and not let the big fish escape or choose another pond. For that reason, a good selling strategy is a must for a sales person. Beyond the willingness to work hard, the inspiration to work smart is as important as the first.

Know your Customer

Know all there is to know about your customer. To prepare yourself for the sale is the first essential step, it is a very important part of the salesperson's homework.
You should search and know all there is to know about your client's needs, interests, trying to find what motivates him, what is that he lacks at the moment, and how would your product help to increase your customer's benefits, profit, how would your product make his life better, etc.

Get Rid of Call Reluctance

Calling an Eskimo to sell ice doesn't sound like you're in your right mind. At first glance that is. First of all, you have to choke your call reluctance. Indeed, selling ice to an Eskimo may seem absurd and most probably you would not even want to call the Eskimo! This reluctance can come with many faces trying to determine the salesperson not to even try.
The first step here is the same in any circumstance: 'You must admit you have call reluctance, and that your call reluctance is keeping you from earning what you are worth'.
Most salespeople have a problem admitting that they actually have call reluctance, and this is the most difficult part of combating it. But hey, you never know, maybe your Eskimo has always dreamed of a pink igloo that you can offer!

Obtain an Interview With Your Customer

Although approaching the prospect without prior notice is suitable in a number of situations, maybe in this case a more appropriate approach would be through recommendation.
Supposing that the Eskimo you've first sold your ice to was most pleased with his new pink igloo, he can recommend you to his friend and 'warn' him that you are going to call the next week.
Right, so call and make an appointment! This means a lot of time saved for the salesperson and when the appointment is made, the Eskimo knows that you are coming, so he won't be out fishing, besides, this will be associated with the feeling of professionalism and respect for the prospect.


Ask questions and listen to uncover your client's needs. Good salespeople are also good listeners, they are aware of what Joe Gandolfo said: 'God gave you two ears and one mouth, and He meant for you to do twice as much listening as talking'.
As a consequence, to sell ice to your Eskimo, ask questions to find out his wants, listen to his answers also stating his needs. Show him afterwards how your ice will fulfill those needs. This ability to identify and meet customer's needs separates the successful salesperson from the average salesperson.
After you found what you think would be the most motivating features of your product, show them to him. Demonstrate, explain, and recommend solutions for his unsolved issues.
For instance, if your Eskimo complains about having to cut the ice in a certain shape, but it often brakes into pieces, give him the shape he wants, plus enumerate all the other benefits: the color he likes, the strengthened endurance of your ice because of the new improved technology, etc.

Serve your Customer

The willingness to provide service is the most important characteristic in establishing a lasting sales relationship with your customer. Successful sales people treat their customers with respect; they treat them fairly developing trustworthy partnerships providing excellent service to each client.
So, make sure you have developed the customer benefit program; for instance, if he makes his igloo with your ice, you would assure him that for 3 years from now on, he will never have to renew anything to his igloo, as your company will do it, pointing out, of course, how much time this would save him, time that can be used for his, say, fishing business.
A final note, do not forget to read some about Eskimos' customs; you don't want to make a gesture that might be inappropriate and cause you to lose the dial. Don't let the 'North Pole' freeze your enthusiasm and be confident! Remember a 'no' doesn't mean 'never'. People change their minds all the time! Good luck!