I love Dr. Seuss. My good friend, Scott McGohan, CEO of McGohan Brabender, does too! Scott wrote a terrific book about faith based on Dr. Seuss' "Oh the Places You'll Go" which is a must read for anyone who wants to develop a deeper faith in God. The simplicity of the messages by the inspired Dr. Seuss have applicability in many different areas, but today, I am going to talk about "Green Eggs and Ham" - and how this simple book - to me - is one of the most inspired, profound sales teachings in history.
Now I like a new, good sales book as much as anyone, but this inspired 1960 book, is still my favorite. In "Green Eggs and Ham" Sam tried 20 times to close the sale - in 17 different ways no less! There are two primary characters in this book, Sam I am, the protagonist, and the second character, which I will refer to as "the Client".
A short excerpt, borrowed from the great book reads as follows:
Sam: Do you like green eggs and ham?
Client: I do not like them, Sam I am, I do not like green eggs and ham.
Sam: Would you like them here or there?
Client: I would not like them here or there. I would not like them anywhere. I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam I am.
The entire book proceeds with this same line of questioning by Sam, twenty times to be exact - with Sam attempting to convince the Client in over half a dozen ways, going as far to suggest that the client try green eggs and ham in a tree, a box, with a fox, in the rain, on a train, on a boat and also with a goat!
The Client continues to say "No, No, No!" until finally he relents and agrees to try them - and lo and behold - he likes them!
I think there are three key Sales Principles to be learned here:
1. Persistence Pays. Tenacity Rules. Never lose hope. Never give up.
2. Research. Sam does not blindly pursue his goal. He is confident his solution is best for the client; and he seeks to genuinely understand the client and their needs so that he can better understand the potential business fit between his solution and the client's desires. He does not lower his price or offer an alternative, he pursues original intent and doesn't challenge the client's objections, but rather continues to probe and allow the client to work through his objections in his own time and space, always providing new information to try to drive a new outcome.
3. Mutual Respect. Sam is humbly committed to his client and to their satisfaction. He does not seek to build a long term relationship that only benefits him. He seeks to build a long term relationship that is based on respect and rapport.
I am thankful for all the sales mentors who have poured into me over the years; and one of the greatest compliments they have ever given me is a tribute to my persistence, tenacity and dedication.
Let's be like Sam I Am. Believe in the Power of Persistence!