5 lessons Dr. Seuss can teach you about sales

Green Eggs and Ham makes clear that although sales professionals often catch a lot heat about their expediency, greed, and a whole host of other vices, it actually takes a person with a well-developed character to be successful in that role. Here are five lessons to keep your team patient, persistent, productive and proud to sell your products:

1. Stay persistent

There is a popular statistic floating around in the sales field presenting a pyramid of sales success, with only 10 percent of sales made on the first through third contact, while 80 percent are made on the fifth through 12th contact. A closer look reveals that the statistics themselves are probably phony, but the point is still valid. Before Sam’s prospect even tried his product, Sam was rejected 13 times, with escalating vehemence. Yet Sam persevered to win the day.

2. Learn your customer’s needs

It’s not enough to simply offer up a product for your customer’s consideration; that customer must understand how it will meet his or her needs. A sales person cannot help the customer with that analysis without first understanding what the customer’s needs are. Consider Sam’s approach with his prospect. The reason he was rejected 13 times prior to sale was because he explored 13 (or more) different contexts in which his product could be used (“ Would you eat them . . . in a house? With a mouse? In a box? With a fox? On a train? In the rain? etc.”).

3. Don’t take rejection personally; be polite and professional

As the opening lines make clear, Sam’s prospective customer directs his disdain not only to Sam’s product, but to Sam himself (“ I do not like that Sam-I-am”). Despite the prospect’s disdain for him, Sam does not take it personally. Instead, he stays focused on finding a way to help the prospect, showing him all the different ways in which the product can be used and enjoyed. Sam is a role model for the tough ego required of a sales representative. Easily wounded souls don’t last in sales.

4. Adjust your goals to the situation

Despite continual rejection, Sam adjusts course. Sam began by trying to sell his product outright. Then, Sam tried to offer his prospect the product in various circumstances that he believed would close the sale. Yet when that approach didn’t pan out, Sam offered something simpler: the free sample. Sam knew the prospect would be hooked once he sampled the wares, so Sam lowered his sights: “ You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may. Try them and you may I say.”

5. Stay confident in the good of the product

Sam is no snake-oil salesman. He knows the product is good, and this is the source of his confidence. His ability to look past the rejection and disdain of the prospect comes from his confidence that he can satisfy the customer. So, too, you must help your sales people understand that your product is good. Show them how it has been used with success and how it can be used with success, and you will give them the confidence that it will be used with success again by their prospects.

Much of the content for this article was found at: Leader Time: 5 lessons Dr. Seuss can teach you about sales – The Business Journals. Green Eggs and Ham book cover (image found on Wikipedia  – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Green_Eggs_and_Ham.jpg)

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