How Many No’s are You Willing to Endure to Get a Sale?

Robert Terson

I’ve mentioned a number of times that Nicki and I are Cubs fans, have season tickets at Wrigley Field. I go to more games than Nicki does, about 25 to 30 games a year; I’m “retired,” she isn’t (she doesn’t think I’m retired, either, but that’s another blog). I sell or give away (it depends on how hot the game is and whom I dealing with) the rest of them.

One of the axioms of selling is, put yourself in a position to sell to the ideal prospect, as opposed to spinning your wheels by pitching to anyone within earshot. I discovered that, when I have a game I haven’t been able to move (it drives me nuts to see the tickets wasted), that a great place to sell them is at the train station in Skokie—the Skokie Swift Yellow line runs to Howard Street where it connects to the Red Line, which goes to Addison/Wrigley Field. So I’ll do the half-hour drive to Skokie, plant myself in front of the stairs leading to the station, about two-and-a-half hours before game time, and as the Cubs’ fans pass by (you can’t miss them—they’re all dressed up in Cubs’ gear), give them my pitch: “Need a pair of tickets for today’s game?”

My closing percentage doing this has been 100%. There’s always someone who doesn’t have tickets, is planning to get them down at the ballpark. The games haven’t been sold out this season, plus there’s always a ton of brokers down there hawking tickets.

So now you know the routine. The same routine I went through on Friday September 6, 2013. There I stood giving my pitch dozens of times as the fans passed by me: “Need a pair of tickets for today’s game?”

What I kept hearing was “No,” or “No thanks,” or “Already got ‘em,” or a quick shake of the head, or….

Frustrating! I mean, it had never taken me this long to sell the tickets; what the heck was happening here!? After a while, I realized that I had stood there counting up the no’s for close to two hours, and things were looking bleak. It was 1:00 p.m., 20 minutes before game time, and I had experienced 63—count ‘em, folks—no’s. There weren’t any more fans approaching; the place was quiet as a graveyard. My God, I thought, I’m actually going to come up with a big fat zero today. I couldn’t believe it. Huge sigh.

I was about to head to my car for the unhappy drive home when I spotted two people, a middle-aged man and woman, at the far end of the parking lot, approaching in Cubs’ gear, Please, God, let ‘em need tickets—this was my last shot. Terrible odds, but what the hell!

“Need a pair of tickets for today’s game?” I said when they finally reached the stairs.

They both seemed taken aback. Then there was that short moment of silence—Will they or won’t they? “Actually, yes, we do,” the man said. “Where are your seats and how much are they?”

YES!!! I gave him my value pitch. Our seats are truly the best value in the entire ballpark.

He turned to his wife, said, “Works for me; how about you?”

“Fine with me,” she said; “it’ll save us some time and we’re already late.”


It took two hours in a sweltering hot sun and 63 no’s, to say nothing of the crumby feeling that I wasn’t going to be successful this time around, before Success suddenly appeared. I mean, it’s not “The Mound Road Story” (if you haven’t read that story on this site or in my book, treat yourself), but it was sweet enough that I knew I had to share it with you.

So, let me ask you: How many no’s are you willing to endure to get your sale? Just asking….


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