This Simple Sales Trick Made Millions (It Started When I Was 15)

Are you just starting out in sales or have you recently launched a business?

Are you struggling to get traction?

Do you feel like you’re working hard but don’t have much to show for it?

Or are you enjoying some success already but know you’re capable and deserve so much more?

Selling can be a struggle, and rejection can discourage even the most confident of salespeople. I know this through firsthand experience.

Let me share a story and a tip from my own life story that made all the difference and has made me millions of dollars since then.

Two Boys, a Rusty Truck, and a Bucket of Tar

When I was fifteen, a friend and I heard about driveway sealing for asphalt driveways. Everybody who comes from a part of the country where the winters are long and bitter knows how pathetic an asphalt driveway can look when spring finally arrives.

We thought sealing driveways was a business the two of us could get into together. He was sixteen and already had his driver’s license, so we worked out a deal with the seal-coating distributor to get 55-gallon drums of sealant and give it a try.

My buddy would load the product, bring it to the work sites, and do the labor. I would handle all the selling. We chipped in our money and bought a truck for only $150 bucks. It wasn’t much to look at, but it got the job done.

Now, I knew I loved to talk. I had picked up that gift from hanging out in my dad’s restaurant. So the idea of knocking on doors didn’t really faze me. But I still wondered if I had what it took to succeed.

I quickly learned it wasn’t going to be as easy I had imagined.

Picture the scene: you’re sitting at home after dinner, reading the newspaper or watching some 70s TV show and there’s a knock at the door. You answer it to find a fresh-faced kid of fifteen years old trying to persuade you to let him reseal your driveway.

Sure, you  would probably like your driveway to look nicer, but when you ask, the kid tells you that he and his partner represent the entire workforce.

Well, you can guess what happened.

I struck out.

Again and again.

In fact, in one neighborhood, I went 0-for-20. Now I was always pretty cocky, but even I was getting discouraged.

Success Begins When You Shift to a Customer-focused Mindset

But then it hit me: Kevin, you need to SHOW these people how you will HELP THEM.

The reason they don’t want what I’m selling is they DON’T realize how it will help them. They can’t visualize the good it will do for them. In other words, I hadn’t told the story well enough so they could clearly picture what a freshly-coated driveway would look like.

Most customers can’t visualize the good your idea, product, or service will bring unless you make it a point to show them.

Don’t Just Tell Them the Outcome You Provide, Show Them

So I had an idea. If I could help one person by sealing their driveway at cost, I could show everyone else the change that would take place by using my service. And not just that, I could let them in on the magical transformation made possible when they buy.

So here’s what I said to the next person who answered his door:

We want to reseal your driveway to get rid of cracks, so next winter the water won’t freeze and expand the cracks in the driveway. You’re probably thinking we’re too young to trust with the job, so here’s what we want to do. Let us do your driveway for the cost of materials, just 25 bucks.

If you don’t like it, you don’t pay for it.

But if you’re happy with the work, I want you to let me put up a sign across your driveway and let me show your neighbors the before and after pictures.

What do you think?

The Surprising Power of Before and After

It only took three tries before someone saw the value and agreed. I took before and after pictures and used them in every presentation after that. I went back to every house in that same neighborhood where I had been told “no” twenty times.

And this time I showed them the magical transformation that could take place for them if they worked with us. And I sold eighteen of those twenty!

Soon I was selling driveways on every block, averaging five or six every day on a good day. We hired more kids to do the grunt work as we grew. Some weeks we made as much as $3,000 in profit.

For a couple of teens in the early 70s, that was really good money — more than fifteen grand in today’s dollars.

And So the Magical Transformation Close Was Born

It has made me a lot more money since then.

In fact, I’ve used that same close in almost every infomercial I’ve ever done, using before and after pictures to show the magical transformation that happens as a result of using my products. Because people often need to see the value of what you are selling before you can close the sale.

Apply the power of this one simple shift in thinking and you too can dramatically increase the success of your sales.

Author

Kevin Harrington

As one of the top entrepreneurs of our time, Kevin Harrington has over 40 years of experience disrupting the marketplace and generating phenomenal results. He has launched more than 20 companies that have grown to over a $100 million in revenue each, and his work behind the scenes of legendary business ventures has produced over $5 billion in global sales via the launch over 500 products, while helping make dozens of millionaires along the way.