Dr. Seuss Art of Selling, Salesperson Manifesto: Selling Technique as Practiced by Dr. Seuss Character, Sam…

Dr. Seuss (pen-name of Theodor Seuss Geisel) is one of the most famous writers of kids’ books, and much of his philosophy has relevance to selling and selling technique. So, move over business experts– Michael Porter, Jim Collins, Clayton Christensen… make room for Dr. Seuss…

According to bloggy; Dr. Seuss’ tale Green Eggs and Ham says a lot about selling technique — it’s a unique look at learning how to sell through the character, Sam– Sam I Am, I Am Sam… In the tale Sam asks: Do you like green eggs and ham? Would you like them here or there? Would you like them in a box, would you like them with a fox?

What is interesting about the tale is the connection it has to selling… Sam is trying to sell a product to a seemingly uninterested customer, and yet it doesn’t deter him from engaging the customer and asking for the sale… Sam consistently offers the customer choices, when trying to close the sale, and refuses to give up; he is very persistent. No matter how many times the customer says, No; Sam keeps offering the customer other alternatives…

What can we learn from Sam’s approach? First, it doesn’t matter how uninterested the customer may seem, you should always– ask for the sale. Second, always offer choices and options when you are trying to sell something. Third, never give up; it doesn’t matter how many times the customer says, No; you should always come up with other options-alternatives that can provide real value to the customer. Of course, don’t pester the customer when they are clearly uninterested or unwilling to engage or discuss the sale. But, whenever you see slightest possibility to serve the customer with a product that can provide real value… then you should never (or, almost never) give up. According to Dr Seuss; always speak clearly and be persistent…

dr seuss imagesCASZW5PG

In the article Be Like Sam by John Greathouse writes: Many voluminous books have been written about sales– some technical, some strategic and some tactical. However, there really is only one book that you need to read on the subject of sales, and that book comes from a very unlikely source; Dr. Seuss.

Without realizing it, Dr. Seuss drafted a salesman’s manifesto in the tale– Green Eggs and Ham. If you have average salesperson’s intellect, like myself, you will find the book especially appealing, as it only utilizes 50-distinct words, 48-of which are only one syllable… There are a number of practical sales lessons that we can draw from this opus, including the following:

  • Persistence: As every selling textbook says, there is no substitute for persistence. Sam exemplifies this truism. It appears that Sam has no chance of success, but Sam never loses hope, and never gives up.
  • Research: Sam’s persistence is not born of ignorance. His knowing smile indicates that he is highly confident that his product is right for the customer and that it’s his duty to ensure that the customer fully understand the degree of fit between the product and the customer’s needs…
  • No Drama: Sam knows that the product will deliver real value to the customer and that the customer will ultimately thank him for introducing him to the product, once he validates the value proposition…
  • Affability: Sam remains affable throughout the entire sales process. Even when the customer personally attacks him, and is downright rude, Sam realizes that the ultimate payoff makes dealing with the short-term discomforts bearable.
  • Listen and Adapt: Sam listens to his customer’s objections and adjusts his tactics to best suit an evolving situation. He probes to better understand his customer’s needs with questions like; would you like the product in a box, with a fox, on a train, in the rain, with a mouse… In each instance, Sam actively listens to his customer’s responses, and attempts to satisfy all of the customer’s needs…
  • Manage Expectations: Sam does not tout product features and he avoids puffery and overselling… Sam manages customer expectations…
  • Humility: Sam remains humble and committed to customer satisfaction throughout the sales cycle… Sam’s objective is to form a long-term relationship with the customer, which must be based on good rapport and mutual respect…

dr seuss imagesCA1VTFA1

In the article Dr. Seuss’s Selling Technique by Kelley Robertson writes: Many people have read Dr. Seuss’s tale– Green Eggs & Ham… but, what’s most interesting about this tale is its relevance to selling. Dr. Seuss demonstrates his selling technique in the tale through the character, Sam; and the selling technique includes 3-steps: 1. Sam is selling a product and although his prospect is not initially interested, Sam doesn’t let that deter him from asking. 2. Sam consistently offers the prospect choices when trying to close the sale. 3. He refuses to give up: No matter how many times his prospect says, No; Sam keeps offering alternatives. In fact, he offers fourteen options before finally closing the sale.

However, I am not suggesting that salespeople pester customers; but, most salespeople give up too early in the sales process. We hear a few No’s; then we decide to turn our attention elsewhere… However, if you have been effective in listening-learning about a customer’s specific needs and presented the appropriate solution to them, then you have earned the right to ask for the sale. Here is a selling technique that will help you reach this point:

  • Tell Me More: Avoid launching into lengthy discussions on what you can do for the customer until you thoroughly understand what business challenges they face. Use open questioning to gather this information and avoid jumping to conclusions, too quickly. Listen carefully to what they say and clarify anything that is not clear. Ask them to elaborate by using prompts, such as– uh-huh, tell me more, and what else?
  • Many Options: When it comes time to present your product or service, try not to limit the prospect to one option. Provide choices of solutions that meet their specific concerns. Explain the benefits of each option, and when necessary, discuss the drawbacks of each alternative. However, do not present too many options, such that the decision becomes overwhelming. Be prepared to advise the customer which option best suits their needs, if they ask.
  • Speak Easy: Speak in terms that the customer can understand, avoiding the use of terminology they may not recognize– try to avoid having the customer ask– what does that mean? Be very cautious on how much jargon you use in presentations and make sure the customer understands what you are saying.
  • Objections Are Common: Recognize that objections are a natural component of the sales process. It’s common for a customer to express several objections, before they make a final decision to commit to the purchase. Don’t take their objections personally, and do not assume that it means that they are not interested in your proposal. Understand that the customer will have specific concerns about making a decision, and it’s your responsibility to mitigate their concerns…
  • Dig Deep: Clarify objections to uncover the true hesitation– do not hesitate to probe deeper to explore the real issues preventing them from making a decision. In most cases, the customer will give you the information you need providing you keep the approach non-confrontational and neutral. Learn to handle objections in a non-argumentative manner. When you uncover their true objection keep your response brief and to the point. Talking too much can sometimes talk yourself out a sale, if you aren’t careful.
  • Ask For The Sale. As long as you don’t pressure the customer into making a decision, they won’t be offended by your request. Develop the confidence to ask for the sale in a variety of ways and begin asking all of your customer contacts that are influential in the sale for a commitment. Recognize that often  the customer needs-wants to be given permission to make a decision, and often look to a salesperson for that permission.
  • Use Polite Persistence: Take a lesson from Dr. Seuss’ Sam and learn the importance of polite persistence. The most successful sales people ask for the sale seven or eight times and they don’t give up at the first sign of resistance…

The tale, Green Eggs and Ham is one of Dr. Seuss’s beginner books, written in a very simple vocabulary for beginning readers. The vocabulary of the text consists of just fifty different words, which was the result of a wager between Dr. Seuss and Bennett Cerf (Dr. Seuss’s publisher) that Dr. Seuss (after completing the tale The Cat in Hat using 225 words) could not complete an entire book using so few words. The fifty are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.

According to Dave Tedlock; Green Eggs and Ham offers valuable lessons in selling: In the tale, Sam tries more than 20 times to make the sale, and in 17 different ways: Really! First, Sam tries to sell green eggs and ham by just asking for the order. Then, he tries three variations; here, there, anywhere. When these don’t work, he tries different selling environments; house, mouse, box, fox, car, tree, train, dark, rain, goat, boat. That’s 11 more times he asks for the order. Then, in the middle of this creative selling spree Sam stops, and asks again and  again for the order…

After the 17th sales effort, Sam goes with the time-honored; product demo trial– use it– offer; try it, try it… Finally, Sam gets the sale and better yet, the customer actually thanks Sam for being so persistentIn the tale, Dr. Seuss gives three clear-cut pieces of advice: Don’t give up, even with unfriendly customers. Create new places and ways to build relationships with both new and existing customers. Ask for the sale, over, over, over… again: 17 times should do it…