What a Street Salesman Can Teach You About Knowing Your Customer

This is my neighbor, L. He’s a born salesman who scavenges things people have thrown out (not hard, since leaving items you don’t want any more on your stoop is the Brooklyn way) and tries to sell them. L usually sets up his varied display of items (locally known as “L-Mart”) on my corner, and his business is is a little catch as catch can — from one day to the next, he never knows what kind of inventory he’ll have or if it will appeal to the folks who happen to pass by that day. When he knows something about a possible customer, though, it helps him move from depending on luck to communicating strategically — and making sales.

The other evening, he caught me on my way home from the office: “Jessie!!! I see you going to the gym every morning, so I know you know something about fitness, right?”

I had to agree.

“So I guess you also know something about PAIN, right?”

Before I could answer, L pulled an unopened box of Icy Hot out of his pocket. Did he find it on someone’s stoop? Did it fall off a truck? I’ll never know. I just know that at that moment, he knew my pain point (no pun intended) and was offering a solution. Boom. Of course I bought it. I like a brand that speaks directly to me! 

If you don’t know enough about your customers to target them directly with your messaging and marketing, we should talk.

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Founder of Southpaw Insights