My Easiest Sale. Ever!

By Mike Coday •  Updated: 03/29/21 •  3 min read

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.


Mike Coday

Mike started selling roofs in '95 while working as a youth pastor at a small church in North Texas. A decade later he transitioned to speaking at industry conferences and training outside sales teams. Today, he works exclusively as the premier consultant to roofing company owners who are driven for growth.