The secret of selling ice to Inuit

Einstein said: ‘Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving’.  This, I believe, is also true for business, any business, which is why it’s important to consider the following questions;

Q1:         Moving in which direction?

A1:         That’s an easy one, forward of course….

Q2:         How does one move forward more efficiently then?

A2:         This one is not as easy and there are many possible answers to choose from. I would recommend that you consider business development if you are looking for a good return on your investment and here is why:


Once upon a time there was a business owner, let’s call him Bob, who wanted to grow his business and started looking for possible strategies to help him. The business owner was overwhelmed with the number of strategies out there and struggled to choose. In the end, after many meetings and conversations with a variety of people claiming to help him grow, Bob narrowed all proposals to three possible individuals he felt would be able to help him:

  1. The marketer
  2. The Sales Person
  3. The Business Development Manager

In order to make a decision Bob asked every individual to propose how they would promote ice to Inuit. Here are their answers in short:

  1. The marketer proposed that they segmented the Inuit population to understand their individual needs and then devise a series of appropriate campaigns, using appropriate tools and platforms to send the message out.
  2. The Sales person suggested that they buy data of all the able Inuit who can afford ice and call them all directly to offer them some at a special introductory offer.
  3. The Business Development Manager suggested that they use all of the above: create a profile, send appropriate communications and then follow up with interested parties.


I hope that my tale ( I know, I should keep to my day job) demonstrates that business development is practical and cost effective because it is not concerned with the methods, not even the best strategy, but identifying the opportunity first and then the shorter way to pursue it. This way of working is very effective for SMEs because they are normally lean on resources and time so might find marketing expensive and slow and direct selling, expensive and fruitless.  Business development is not a magic answer, it also takes time and money to deliver, but it strives to achieve results and will deploy a variety of practical methods to get there.

So why not give business development a go this year?  You could take my test to get an idea of your first steps.

PS The last question is of course what happens if you don’t keep moving? You fall off your bike, silly…

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