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Does Being Able to Sell Ice to an Eskimo Really Make You a Great Salesperson?

Updated: Feb 17, 2020

The saying, “She could sell ice to Eskimos” is a very old idiom.

It literally means to get someone to do or buy something that is against their best interests, unnecessary or preposterous. But it is often mistakenly thought to mean that a person who can do this is a great salesperson. Nothing could be further from the truth, so stop listening to those sales gurus who push this line.

Here are five tips on how you can sell your products and services far better than you’ve ever done before:

Selling or business development is one of the eight skills you need to be a better and more successful business owner. So here goes…


An ideal customer is literally defined as one who is the best possible type of customer for your business. Per this definition, not only do they need or want your product or service, but they also deliver good profit, revenue or growth for your business too.

It really pays you to invest time and money into understanding who makes an ideal customer for your business. And it’s good for them too, since you won’t be going out and trying to sell something to someone who doesn’t need it, and who isn’t a good match for your business either.


You should know your market, customers and competitors well enough to know exactly what you should say about your product or service that impinges on the ideal customer to consider and/or buy you and your business.

You should be able to clearly communicate this in a couple of sentences, or a few seconds to a prospect or someone who can influence potential customers so they ‘get’ it.


There are a number of steps in the sales process, and these include:

Identifying a list of prospects.

Setting an appointment with one of these prospects.

Identifying what you want to achieve in that appointment before you arrive.

Presenting your product or service – the pitch.

Listening to and handling objections.

Making a sale or moving towards a sale.

Making notes and a follow-up appointment if needed.

Handing a sold customer over to your business to be serviced.

Keeping accurate records of all customers and where they are at in the purchase journey.


There is nothing worse than a promise not delivered in business. As the salesperson, you remain responsible for ensuring your business delivers everything you promised the customer in order to ensure they are satisfied.


Keeping in touch with customers as individuals and as a group is important to determine if you are continuing to meet customer needs and that they are not only satisfied but truly delighted with your product, service and company.

So, there you go. Knowing your ideal customer, having a process to engage with them, and making sure you’re delivering on your promises are all part of becoming and remaining a great salesperson. Every business owner needs to be a salesperson too.

Good luck selling yourself and your business to your ideal customer.

Originally published on Smallville.

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