Home > Social Influence > Can you sell ice cubes to Eskimos?

Can you sell ice cubes to Eskimos?

This question came up in another thread. Thought it might be an interesting topic.

Can you sell ice cubes to Eskimos? - by KSA-Mktg
This question came up in another thread. Thought it might be an interesting topic.

Can you sell ice cubes to Eskimos?
Sure, why not? - by Liberty
I was thinking maybe special IMPORTED ice cubes...you know, for the upwardly, and otherwise trendy Eskimo. - by RainMaker
In all seriousness, selling ice cubes to Eskimos shouldn't be as difficult as it might sound. Not too unlike selling "Water" to folks who live on or near water.

If I had to do it I would focus on the "Quality" of the water being used. After all, who wants dirty ice cubes? Yuk! - by Liberty
OK, maybe trendy ice cubes.


But, do you think you can sell someone something they don't want or need? Can a skillful sales person sell anything to anyone? or does it also depend on the customer being disposed to purchase? - by KSA-Mktg
But, do you think you can sell someone something they don't want or need? Can a skillful sales person sell anything to anyone?
In general, "Yes."

...does it also depend on the customer being disposed to purchase?
In a word, "No." - by Liberty
OK, maybe trendy ice cubes.


But, do you think you can sell someone something they don't want or need? Can a skillful sales person sell anything to anyone? or does it also depend on the customer being disposed to purchase??
Something they don't NEED but WANT...YES definitely! That covers at least have of the market out there!

As for something they don't WANT or need, theoretically the likelihood of that seems quite slim WITHOUT convincing them that they DO want or need it. - by RainMaker
...convincing them that they DO want or need it.
Therein lies the key. - by Liberty
Therein lies the key.
Uh uh..I see no key here. Please share how you would do that. How do you sell something to somebody who doesn't want or need it? Give us the words. - by Gary Boye
Uh uh..I see no key here.
They "key" is convincing the prospect "that they DO want or need" your offering.

How do you sell something to somebody who doesn't want or need it?
You persuade them to hold a different viewpoint. - by Liberty
The way I see it is that you can
  • point out a previously unidentified need or want
  • show a prospect how your product/service meets their needs or wants.
  • And, sometimes you can "change their mind" about your product by explaining how it works so they can see how it meets their needs/wants.
But, I would never assume that you can convince people they need or want your product if they really don't.

Maybe a small difference, but I think it makes a big difference in how you approach your job. - by KSA-Mktg
The way I see it, people change their minds all of the time and not by some mysterious or coercive process. They simply hold a different perspective.

Let's use "ice cubes and Eskimos" for an example. The hypothetical "Eskimo" might believe without a shadow of a doubt that he/she has no want or need for "ice cubes". Through the perspective of "water is water" this belief makes sense.

However, what if our hypothetical Eskimo was shown how not all water is the same and that the reason for much of the fatal disease in the local area was due to a microbial contamination called Cryptosporidium which is known to exist in 86% of lakes, rivers and streams?

In addition, what if our hypothetical Eskimo was informed that there is no medical cure for Crypto and that pregnant women, children, and the frail elderly were vulnerable to this potentially fatal disease?

Now, after being shown a new view (perspective) on "water and ice" do you think our hypothetical Eskimo will hold the same belief that "water is water" and continue to "want" to drink the local supply?

I doubt it! - by Liberty
Then, I guess we're all talking about the same thing. Pointing out a previously unidentified problem is certainly a valid sales tool.

My interpretation of the expression "selling ice cubes to Eskimos" has always been "selling someone a product they neither want or need". What I thought you meant was that if you were a REALLY good sales person, you could convince the Eskimo that rather than freeze their meat in a back room of the igloo, they really needed the ice cubes to keep things frozen.

Sounds like we agree that a person can't really be "sold" unless they want or need the product. - by KSA-Mktg
My belief is that "perspective" determines what options/actions are available and acceptable. Change the perspective and you change the reality. - by Liberty
Then, I guess we're all talking about the same thing. Pointing out a previously unidentified problem is certainly a valid sales tool......
......Sounds like we agree that a person can't really be "sold" unless they want or need the product.
I don't think we're