The Salesman on the Beach

My bride and I stole away to Newport Beach last weekend, communing with the sea, surf, and sand.

Our devious plan: unplug from everything work-related.

Only it’s nearly impossible to ignore marketing in today’s world…especially if you’re paying attention.

So while the beach was a great place for people-watching, one of the more interesting passers-by for me was the fellow hawking umbrellas, boogie boards, and pails with shovels.

He didn’t carry a sign with prices or wear a sandwich board, but his very presence made it obvious he could fulfill the needs of beachgoers who’d come unprepared.

Over the course of 5 hours I watched him crisscross the beach countless times, and by mid-afternoon he had considerably less inventory than he’d started with.

It was a targeted, soft-sell sales pitch that resonated with the laid-back audience.

He obviously knew most beach-goers have real or virtual cash for buying snacks. And while he might have also considered selling hats, umbrellas delivered more shade while providing him greater profitability.

Smart guy!

Every prospective customer for this man had one thing in common: love of the beach.

We then self-selected based on awareness of his wares and need for his merchandise.

His universe further narrowed based on the availability of funds.

Regardless of what you’re selling or to whom you’re marketing, the key to success is knowing your audience.

Your potential customers all have something in common. It may be age, race, income, or gender.

Perhaps it’s geography, political affiliation, or hobbies.

Uncovering that commonality via surveys, observation, or educated guesses may help you find previously ignored sales opportunities.

Of course you can always talk with customers to learn more about them.

Why bother? Say you discover your clientele are all ardent dog lovers. Donating a portion of every sale to the local pet shelter should help convert current prospects, as well as helping to bring in new ones.

Okay, some commonalities (like presence at the beach) are more obvious than others. And depending upon your objectives and offerings, targeting your audience may be as simple as just being present.

But as my beachcomber friend illustrated nicely, staying aware of marketplace dynamics may be just what you need to open doors and put money into your pocket.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.


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