My Easiest Sale. Ever!

Kevin Barrelle, Klint Koppel, Shawn Deitemeyer

I’ve sold a lot of stuff in my life… I’ve had to!

When I was a kid growing up in the Ozarks, my family was so poor we would go to Kentucky Fried Chicken and lick other people’s fingers. Seriously!

If I wanted to do anything special, like go to the public swimming pool, I would have to find the money myself.

Admission to the pool was only .50 cents, but my folks couldn’t even afford that.

At the age of 8, I discovered the “sympathy sale”.

What’s the “sympathy sale”? That’s when you are so stinking pathetic that people buy from you purely out of sympathy.

Use What You Got

I would make these stupid art cards as a kid using a machine my Grandma gave me for Christmas. You would put a postcard-sized card on a spinning needle and then spray colored glue on the card while it spun around. It came out looking like psychedelic pre-school art. They were terrible.

After I had 4-5 of them made, I would hit the streets selling them door-to-door. I pitched them to any housewife who would answer the door as mailing postcards with a “unique” design. Pathetic. Really.

The Best Part

Here’s the best part… whenever they asked, “how much?”, I knew I had them. I would shyly respond, “whatever you want to pay, Ma’am.”

Sometimes I got a dime, sometimes a quarter, but sometimes I would hit the jackpot and score a buck. Once I got my $1 (enough for admission and a few treats from the concession stand), I would ditch the rest of the postcards in the nearest trash can (where they rightly belonged) and head for the pool.

Oh yea, I already had my swimsuit on. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I was getting to the pool. It was just a matter of how many doors I would have to knock before I got there.

Marketing Takeaways

#1 If You Really Want Something, You Can Get It… Even If You Suck!

#2 As Long As There Are Doors To Knock, There’s Money To Be Made.

#3 If You Want To Achieve, You Have To Believe.

Selling these stupid cards door-to-door as an 8 year old kid was my easiest sale ever. I sold a bunch of other stuff as a kid (e.g. Grits Magazine, Candy Bars, Holiday Cards, etc.), but I had my best luck just being pathetic.