Have you ever had an experience where you  just scratched your head and said, “Did that just happen?” As I was walking Grendel on the beach yesterday, this kid shouts to me from about 50 feet away and says, “Hey lady, you want to buy some rocks?” Um, not so much, thanks anyway, kid.

At first I thought he was a bit crazy. Seriously, who tries to sell people rocks? But as I continued my walk, I thought, it takes some serious cohunes to walk up to strangers and ask if they would like to buy rocks. The kid has what it takes to be a great salesman. But if he wants to really succeed, he’s going to need some basic marketing skills.

First, he needs to consider location—or place. Women in bathing suits walking their dogs on the beach are not likely to be able to pull out a credit card or cash. Maybe in the crowded public beaches during the high season, but not on a private deserted beach. Kid, get your product where the people are and in places and situations where they can buy your glorious rocks.

Second, he needs to finesse his message. What’s in it for me? That is what customers want to know, especially if you are trying to sell rocks. What makes your rocks so great that I am going to feel like I can’t do without them?

Third, he may want to consider the kind of product he is selling. I’m guessing his rocks aren’t the kind that women wear on their ring fingers. If you have a unique product that is easily understood by the public, you may have a gold mine and could be first to market—a great way to get in early and build strong brand recognition. If you’re going to pick a commodity, you’re going to have to set yourself apart some other way. Price may not be a good way to do that. Do you wrap your rocks in really cool packaging? Do you provide exceptional customer service when someone has a question or problem with your rocks?

These are important things to consider in your marketing strategy. I hope that kid learns these things and keeps his talent for asking for the sale. Who knows, he may eventually move on to selling ice to eskimos.

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