Selling a Refrigerator to an Eskimo
Traditionally, this line has been used to indicate a wily salesperson that uses every trick in the book to sell things to people that they don’t want. But isn’t this talent going to be great for you if you are entering business?
How do you sell a fridge to an Eskimo! That challenge has always been the symbol of the ultimate in marketing a product to someone who simply does not need it. There are funny answers that come up, which also stand for dubious practices in advertising.
“Tell him there is alcohol in it’ is a kind of surrogate advertising. Your intent may actually be to sell him alcohol, so you sell him a fridge bundled with bottles of whisky. “Tell him it will make him feel warmer,’ is a partial truth, because technically speaking, the temperature inside the fridge can be adjusted to be higher than the subzero cold outside!
But let us revise that original statement – That challenge has always been the symbol of the ultimate in marketing a product to someone who apparently does not need it. That will lead us to ask – is there possibly a reason why an Eskimo would need a fridge? The answer is another simple question – Why do you sit at your dining table eating a salmon dish with a fork and knife? Why aren’t you out there in the jungle spearing the fish and roasting it on a crude fire? Product development, advertising and marketing are the driving forces of civilization and convenience.
The Eskimo needs a fridge because he no longer wants his wife to go and bury the reindeer roast under a pile of snow. And, here we come to another factor in advertising, he also wants it because his neighbor has bought one!
So that’s it! We have sold a fridge to an Eskimo without any trickery, without gimmicks or lies. We have simply fulfilled the three needs of a good product for the Eskimo – a product that satisfies a need, with great looks and high quality, marketed well.
That wasn’t very difficult was it? Now shall we attempt to sell bottled water to millions of people who have easy access to safe drinking water through taps in their kitchen? That is probably tougher than selling a refrigerator to an Eskimo!