Have you ever tried to sell a freezer to an Eskimo?
What about life insurance to a five-year-old? Roast beef to a vegetarian? An umbrella to a friend living in the Sahara? Flea spray to a woman with no pets? A parachute to the captain of a deep sea fishing vessel?
To successfully negotiate these sales would be a nearly impossible effort. Why? Because they all have one thing in common. In each situation, the merchant would be trying to sell something the prospective buyer doesn't want or need. She'd be marketing her product to the wrong people. Eskimos don't need freezers – and what would a sea captain do with a parachute? Jump off the nearest island?
It would be foolhardy to attempt these sales. In essence, it would be as if the merchant had forgotten one of the most important rules of marketing: knowing the customer.