The Coast News Group
A tarot card reader setting up at the beach is a reminder of the importance of knowing your customers. Stock photo
A tarot card reader setting up at the beach is a reminder of the importance of knowing your customers. Stock photo
Ask Mr. MarketingColumns

Ensuring profitability is in the cards

It’s 3:30 Sunday. My bride and I just spent two hours picnicking, people-watching and snoozing in the sun on a Carlsbad beach.

Heading up the stairs to go home, I spot a fellow coming our way and carrying a small table. His associate has a sign touting North County San Diego Tarot Card Readings.

I don’t believe in tarot cards, unquestionably prompted by my political science background and a never-ending need for empirical evidence. This is probably what also prevents me from accepting almost anything based merely on faith.

However, I recognize that most people will believe what they do, and I don’t sit in judgment. “Judge not, lest ye be judged” … and all that.

So here’s this guy, heading for work on a Sunday afternoon. The sign and table suggest he’s done this before and has decided the tourists overrunning the beach are probably good sales prospects.

My hunch is amused visitors see the tarot cards, derisively say “It’s California!” and sit with him for entertainment value. If he actually foretells their future, all the better.

When asked why he robbed banks, noted bank robber Willie Sutton famously responded, “Because that’s where the money is.”

And now that I’m selling book editing and marketing services, I’m finding author conferences and nonprofits hungering for sources of fundraising are great places to troll for book referrals.

Meaning regardless of what you sell, you too can probably find pools of potential customers just waiting for you to appear. To make (and maximize) your opportunities, you should:

• Be able to describe what you’re selling in under 25 words

• Know your customer’s profile

This latter item is crucial, as it will tell you where your customers are likely to congregate. Consider our friend at the beach, who recognizes there are tourists all over town … but heads to the ocean.

There his (questionable) business licensing status is unimportant. Prospective customers seeing his sign self-select and, because his overhead is nonexistent, any business he acquires is undoubtedly almost all profit.

I’m guessing he also only accepts cash.

To emulate his success, know what you’re selling, to whom and have a fair price. With a persuasive sales pitch, you might soon have as many customers as there are grains of sand on the beach.

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

Learn the future of your own marketing at