Selling the Dr. Seuss Way

A lesson in how to make a sale from Dr. Seuss’ classic story, “Green Eggs and Ham.”

“I am Sam. Sam I am. 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?”

I think most people have read this Dr. Seuss
tale either as kids or to their children. What
is interesting is the relevance this story has
to selling. First of all, Sam is selling a
product and although his prospect is not
initially interested, Sam doesn’t let that deter
him from asking. Secondly, Sam consistently
offers the prospect a choice when trying to
close the sale. Thirdly, 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 he finally closes
the sale.

Now, I am not suggesting that you pester your
customers or prospects but I do believe most
people give up too early in the sales process.
We hear a few “no’s” and decide to turn our
attention elsewhere. It is your responsibility
as a sales professional to ask the customer to
make a decision – you cannot expect a customer
to do the work for you. If you have been
effective in learning about their specific needs
and current situation and presented the
appropriate solution to your prospect then you
have earned the right to ask them for their
money. Here are a few ideas that will help you
reach this point:

Avoid launching into a lengthy discussion of
what you can do for your client until you
thoroughly understand what business challenges
they face and the problems, concerns or issues
they need resolved. Use open questioning to
gather this information and avoid making
assumptions or jumping to conclusions too
quickly. Instead, listen carefully to what they
say and clarify anything that is not clear. Ask
them to elaborate by using prompters such as
“uh-huh,” “tell me more,” and “what else?”

When it comes time to present your product or
service, try not to limit the prospect to one
option. Provide a choice of solutions that meet
their specific concerns. Explain the benefits of
each option, and when necessary, also discuss
the drawbacks of each alternative. However, do
not present so many options that the decision
becomes overwhelming or difficult. Be prepared
to tell your prospect which option best suits
their needs if they ask.

Speak in terms they can understand, avoiding the
use of terminology they may not recognize. A
case in point; as I developed my web site, I
found myself talking to people who were
extremely knowledgeable but they used
terminology that sounded like a foreign language
to me. I found myself getting frustrated, and in
some cases feeling a bit dumb, because I had to
keep asking them what they meant. Be very
cautious how much jargon you use in your
presentations and make sure your customer
understands what you are saying.

Recognize that objections are a natural
component of the sales process. It’s common for
a customer express several objections before she
makes the decision to commit to the purchase.
Don’t take these objections personally and do
not assume that it means the other person is not
interested. Understand that your prospect will
likely have specific concerns about making a
decision particularly if they have never done
business with you. Clarify their 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, your prospect will give you the
information you need providing you keep your
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 will seem that you are trying
to justify your product or price. Plus, you can
sometimes talk yourself out a sale if you aren’t

Ask for the sale. In many cases, your prospect
expects you to ask for the sale. And as long as
you do not pressure or try to coerce them 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
every qualified person for their commitment.
Recognize that many people want to be given
permission to make a decision and look to the
salesperson for that permission.

Lastly, take a lesson from Sam and learn the
importance of polite persistence. The most
successful sales people ask for the sale seven
or eight times and don’t give up at the first
sign of resistance. Research has shown that
these individuals consistently earn more than
their coworkers and peers.

Kelley Robertson, President of the Robertson Training Group, works with businesses to help them increase their sales and motivate their
employees. Receive a FREE copy of “100 Ways to Increase Your Sales” by subscribing to his 59-Second Tip, a free weekly e-zine at He is also the author of “Stop, Ask & Listen –
How to welcome your customers and increase your sales.” For information on his programs, contact him at 905-633-7750 or