One of the things I enjoy the most about being a Father is the opportunity to see old things become new again by seeing them through my children’s eyes.
One of my favorites books as a child, and one of the books my daughter Lucy (now 7) enjoys the most is “Green Eggs and Ham,” by Dr. Seuss. The title of this book might as well be: “Green Eggs and Ham (The Story of How Sam-I-Am Creates a New Product, is Persistent, and Wins his first Customer)”.
If you are a small business person or entrepreneur, here are three things you can learn from “Green Eggs and Ham”:
1.) Combine simple common elements to be unique
“Are green eggs and ham real?”, Lucy asks me, her brow furrowed inquisitively? “Can we eat them?” “Yes, my little one“, I respond.” “Dr. Seuss invented Green Eggs and Ham to be unique. Just like you’re unique. There is only one you. And you are the most special you in the world.”
Branding and Positioning 101. Dr. Seuss took something quotidian like eggs and ham, added a run-of-the-mill color like green and created something really unique.
2.) Be persistent
Green Eggs and Ham is primarily a story of overcoming a big obstacle. It’s not easy to sell a new concept. But persistence pays off. Sometimes you have to be relentless. It’s through his persistence and his don’t-take-“no”-for-an-answer attitude, that Sam-I-Am finally gets his Prospect to try green eggs and ham.
Persistence pays off. He tried ’em and he liked ’em. The Prospect discovers he really likes green eggs and ham, and he thanks Sam-I-Am.
3.) Get your prospect to try your offer
It’s not that the prospect doesn’t like Sam-I-Am’s green eggs and ham. It’s that he’s practicing selective listening and using an evasion technique to get rid of the pesky salesperson. Think about it. People are always going to reflexively say “no” the first time. You’re never going to get someone to try something new, or to buy from you, on the first try.
Create a free trial or some other kind of free offer, and present it to your prospect many times. According to the “magical law of 7”, a prospect must be exposed to the same offer seven times before he or she even considers it. Sam-I-Am did a great job getting on his prospect’s radar. He tried every sales trick on the book. The alternate close. Visualization. “Would you like it here or there? Would you like it in a box? With a fox? In a boat. With a goat? Try it … you might like it.” Sam-I-Am’s Prospect was pleasantly surprised to find out that he actually likes green eggs and ham once he tried them.
The selling begins after the first sale. In essence, Sam-I-Am had a free trial. And he got his customer to try it. And his one-time buyer liked it. The next thing Sam-I-Am has to do is to turn that one-time buyer into a repeat customer. He’ll do that by providing great service, and relying on the feedback from his customer to improve his product! Eventually maybe his customer will become an advocate and tell his friends about Sam-I-Am, creating a steady and growing stream of referral business.
Did you know? In fact, in real life, Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book–“And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street“–was rejected 27 times before being published by Vanguard Press.
Do you remember reading “Green Eggs and Ham” when you were a kid? What do you think?