3 Ways to Stop Trying to Sell Rolaids to a Person without Heartburn

Image of Rolaid for 3 Ways to Stop Trying to Sell Rolaids to a Person without Heartburn blogOk, so the title might sound silly. It certainly won’t make sense until you’ve read the entire blog – so, looks like we’ve got you hooked.

Let’s set the stage: Tommy the Salesperson has a giant bowl filled with every flavor of Rolaids ever invented.

He’s in a large room filled with 200 people (ages 30 to 80). The room is split right down the middle & separated by a curtain. On the right side of the curtain are 100 people. Left side, the other 100.

Tommy’s mission: Get rid of his bowl of Rolaids as quickly as possible. If he does it in less than 2 hours, he wins dinner for two at the Rooster Tail! Oh yeah, he can give them away, OR he can sell them… no rules!

Tommy starts on the right side of the room. He’s thinking, “I got this! All I have to do is get rid of this bowl & I get to take my wife to dinner. Piece of cake! Better get busy… He runs to the far wall & starts asking people, “Would you like a Rolaids or two?” … “Can I interest you in a delicious Rolaids?” … “How about a Rolaids?”

The first 25-30 people look at him like he’s crazy & Tommy starts to think, “maybe this isn’t going to be as easy as I thought…

After a few moments, Tommy stands in the middle of the room, holds the bowl up in the air & shouts like a ticket-scalper, “ROLAIDS, FREE ROLAIDS! WHO WANTS ROLAIDS? I’VE GOT ROLAIDS!”


Feeling the pressure & looking at a full bowl of Rolaids Tommy sneaks across to the left side of the room to give it a try over there. He reverts back to his initial approach & begins asking the first people he sees, “Would you like a Rolaids or two? … Can I interest you in a delicious Rolaids?… How about a Rolaids?”

Next thing you know Tommy is swarmed by people. He’s almost knocked down. People couldn’t get ahold of the Rolaids fast enough. One woman said, “Thank you, Tommy, I have had heartburn since lunch!” Tommy smiles, walks away & gains his composure & makes his way over to a corner to think this through.

He mulls it over, “This side of the room seems to be a lot more eager & accepting of Rolaids… wonder if I can charge for them?” He approaches a group of people & asks if they’d like a Rolaids & they all immediately say YES. Tommy says they’re $1.00 apiece. No problem. They all reached into their pockets & pulled out cash (one guy even bought 5 of them for $5.00). As he walked away, Tommy heard the same man say, “This acid reflux is killing me… can’t even sleep!”

Gaining confidence, Tommy approaches the next group of 5 people & asks, “Who wants a Rolaids?” He’s feeling pretty good, so when all 5-people wanted a Rolaids he said, “you don’t happen to have heartburn or acid reflux, do you?” When all 5-people nodded, Tommy said, “that’ll be $2.00 apiece.” Sold! 

Now, Tommy was born at night… but not last night. He had about 20 Rolaids left, his confidence was at an all-time high, so he approached the last group of 10 people with $5.00 on his mind — per Rolaid. He said, “Who has heartburn? Who has acid reflux?  When all 10-people screamed, “I DO” Tommy knew it was over. Done!  Empty bowl in less than 30 minutes – on the left side of the curtain.

Moral of the story? You can’t give Rolaids away to people that don’t have heartburn or acid reflux. They’re chalky, they’re gritty. Nobody eats Rolaids for fun. Rolaids aren’t candy.

On the other hand (& you’ll agree if you’ve ever had that horrible feeling heartburn creates or were up-all-night battling acid reflux) people will pay to get rid of those two things! They don’t care how it tastes & they sure as hell don’t care how much it costs.

How many times in your selling lives have you tried selling your products to people that had no need for them? Had no compelling PAIN? Can you imagine how much time & energy you have wasted pushing your Rolaids on people that were heartburn & reflux-free? Staggering isn’t it?

The 1st way to stop trying to sell Rolaids to a person without heartburn is to come to this realization – it is an incredible waste of time. When you say you don’t have enough time, or you wish you had more time, stop & think of how much time you are spending with prospects who are not qualified for your product or service. If they don’t admit they have the PAIN, & commit to doing something about it, there is no PAIN. Period.

The 2nd way to stop trying to sell Rolaids to a person without heartburn is to act, sound & look the opposite of the traditional salesperson. When you act, sound & look like every other salesperson out there, you add ZERO value. Stop talking so much. Start asking better questions. Start gathering information. Start being curious. In order to provide solutions, you have to find the problem. All this happens by asking questions & listening for answers. It’s hard to listen while your lips are moving.

The 3rd way to stop trying to sell Rolaids to a person without heartburn is to know your Why. Why do people buy from us? Why don’t people buy from us? Tommy finally figured it out. People have to have heartburn or acid reflux to be “qualified” to buy his Rolaids. So, Tommy started looking for people with heartburn or acid reflux. He could have spent an entire afternoon on the “wrong” side of that room. NO PAIN = NO SALE

Make sense? Of course, it does. So why are you still pushing your Rolaids on people who feel fine?

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Dave Tear

Dave is passionate about selling & helping others understand the sales process. Whether a client company has a 5 person sales team or a 300 person National sales force, Dave can Coach & Train them to be the best in their industry.
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