By Gordon Hecht, Serta Simmons Bedding

Over fifty years ago two friends were discussing the difficulties of writing. One friend suggested a challenge: create an entire book using only fifty different words. Any one word could be used multiple times, but the vocabulary was limited to fifty.

From that challenge came one of the most widely read and well-known books. You may know the author as Dr. Seuss, but his friends called him Ted Geisel. The title of the book: “Green Eggs and Ham.”

If you haven’t read it lately for your kids or grandkids, pick it up and do so again. That short story includes some great tips for your sales team on perseverance, presentation and asking for the sale. In fact, you may want to gather your customer-facing personnel and have them all read it aloud.

Sam-I-Am is the main character who tries to sell his buddy on eating a plate of green eggs and ham.  Good ol’ Sam knows that the titular meal will taste good and is exactly what his friend needs. But Sam is constantly barraged with objections.  He fearlessly faces each objection, understanding that a customer’s “no” just means “tell me more.” Sam counters with different scenarios to close the sale until he finds the right solution for his friend – who ultimately tries green eggs and ham and finds them delicious and satisfying.

Retail stores are experiencing declining traffic, and helping each shopper make a first-time buying decision is more vital than ever. While too many sales associates give up on the initial no, your team can excel and close more sales by creating multiple purchasing options, and by asking “Why?” when shoppers say “No.” Train your team to understand that big-ticket purchases are made after third and fourth (and fifth) closing attempts.

Gordon Hecht, Serta Simmons Bedding

Ted Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, used just 50 words in an easy-to-read and understandable book for kids, moms and dads.  In its own special way, “Green Eggs and Ham” creates a pathway to convert more shoppers into buyers. And when Ted talks, you’d better listen! Gordon Hecht is Senior Regional Manager/Strategic Retail Group at Serta Simmons Bedding. You can write him at

YSN is published by BrandSource parent company AVB Inc.