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  • Why You Need to Sell to Just One Person

    Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

    –Kurt Vonnegut

    Retailing is a creative process. Just like writing.

    Just like great writers, great retailers sell to just one customer.

    Many retailers fall into the trap of thinking something along the lines of “If I market to just one customer, I won’t sell enough to buy my family a box of cereal!” Well, maybe you didn’t word it exactly like that, but isn’t that essentially what you are afraid of?

    Once you’re in the trap of trying to sell to everyone, you’re stuck. You have to figure out how to sell your product to the world.

    Now that’s a big job!

    How are you going to do it? You don’t have the money to market to everyone. You don’t have enough staff to sell to the world.

    You don’t even know where to begin. It’s overwhelming.

    And what about the people who are not interested in what you’re selling. Do you want to spend money trying to sell to people who are not interested in your product?

    Wouldn’t you rather spend your money sending your message to people who are the most likely to buy from you? People who already enjoy products similar to yours?

    Do you see where I ‘m going with this?

    When you try to please everyone, you become exhausted. You can’t possibly sell to the whole world, or even your whole community.

    You wear yourself out trying to be everything to everyone. Your store gets pneumonia. Your business concept becomes weak and sickly.

    The remedy is to sell to just one person.

    The one who will love your product. The one who will come back over and over.

    When you sell to just one person, business decisions becomes easier.

    When you buy products, you won’t say to yourself, “Somebody might like this.” Instead you say, “Sally will love this!” or “I’m not buying that. Sally will hate it!”

    When you market your business, you know where Sally lives, so you can send her a note. Or phone her. Call her up and say, “Sally, I just got this new thing you’ll love! I was thinking about you when I ordered it!”

    Sally realizes that you’re not just talking to anyone, you’re talking to her. And you know exactly what she loves. When she walks in your store, she feels like her name is written all over the store. From the scent of vanilla in the air to the upholstered chair by the fitting rooms, it is her kind of place.

    The best part is that Sally has friends. And family. And co-workers. And neighbours. And many of them like the same things that Sally does.

    Sell to Sally.

    Not to the world.

    Your business will be a lot healthier.

    1 Comment

    One Response to “Why You Need to Sell to Just One Person”

    1. Bernice Paul says:

      I couldn’t agree more. As I ease into my 30′s I take care to select the places I buy from. Does the store’s value prop, ideals, aspirations, align with mine? And then from a more ‘material’ point of view, I care about the message behind the merchandising (especially with clothing). For example I don’t appreciate clutter or stores that are jam-packed with designer wares, flashing logos as if those would suffice in declaring quality.