South Tampa Sound

Just Sell the Freakin' Lemonade!


I must admit that the title I usually use when presenting today's topic to an audience is a bit more adult, but it certainly gets the point across (as well a few laughs in the process). There is, however, a reason I go to such extremes to make my point. The concept I am going to discuss today is by far one of the most important aspects of being in business. In order for you, the reader, to understand where I am coming from, allow me to reminisce on my childhood for a moment.

When I was young, let's say around 6 or 7 years old, I started what some might call my first business. It was a simple lemonade stand that lasted all of about a day and brought in at most a few dollars profit if any. However, the profit is not really the point of this story. It's specifically about how I presented the business to my customers. As I think back, I am surprised that a single person bought lemonade from my stand. Bear with me and I'll tell you why.

I have always been an inventive person. In many cases, I would rather build than buy. My mind has worked that way since since the day I could walk. When it came time to create my lemonade stand, I thought it would be a great idea to operate it like a vending machine (this was back in the 80's, mind you). The setup was a slot cut into a piece of plywood that adorned my lemonade table.

As I said, I am surprised I made any money from the venture at all. I do clearly remember selling at least one glass of lemonade and, in true form, I insisted that the customer hand me the money through my plywood contraption. It was a great feeling at the time. In my niave mind, my lemonade vending machine worked and my business was a success (for the record, my parents didn't make me pay them back for the lemonade, or I would have almost certainly lost money on the venture).

Fast forward to adulthood. I look back on that particular experience, taking into account the increasing amount of instant gratification that today's consumers require, and think to myself, "how on earth did I ever sell anything through that silly little slot?"

When it comes to sales in general, one of the most important things you can learn is when to stop and just accept the yes. Once someone is ready to buy, as a proficient sales man or woman, just complete the sale. It's that simple. Completing the sale is the entire point of the sales process.

However, selling lemonade through a plywood facade pretty much goes against that paradigm. It is a perfect example of a pointless act that does nothing but make the customer have to jump through hoops, ultimately extending the sales process and likely hurting the overall business image. Anyone in sales will tell you that the customer must always come first. A business needs customers to survive, let alone thrive. It is pretty obvious that the entire process must revolve around actually completing sales.

In short, keep all of the obscurity, uncertainty, and silly extra steps like cutting holes in plywood out of your sales pitch. Your entire process should do nothing more than make the customer's decision to purchase your product or hire you as easy as possible. In the end, it comes down to a single, very simple premise. Don't overthink, just do. Don't worry about all the extras that do nothing for your sales process. Just focus on making your customers happy.

In other words, just sell the freakin' lemonade!