The shortest successful sales pitch ever told
Ernest Hemingway was in a bar with his buddies and bet them $10 each that he could make them cry with a short six-word story.
Hemingway said, “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”
He won the bet.
How did YOU finish this shortest story ever told?
I bet you $10 you closed the loop of this story with the awful notion that… the child had died.
A horror story.
In reality, there were plenty of other endings.
…the shoes were lost and found by a stranger in mint condition who had no kids.
…the husband had brought home the identical pair of baby shoes his wife had purchased earlier that day and he couldn’t return them.
…the shoes were too small for their healthy, growing child.
Try this story on your friends. Ask them if they have ever heard of the shortest story ever told by Hemingway. And then share it with them.
For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.
Pay close attention to their reaction and see how they close the story loop you’ve left open.
Close Your Sales Story Loop or Your Customer Will
According to Sam George, author of I’ll Get Back to You: The Dyscommunication Crisis, Why Unreturned Messages Drive Us Crazy and What to Do About It, we close the loop on incomplete stories by catastrophizing… leaping to worse-case scenarios… because they are finite endings.
Sam was recently on the Business of Story podcast with a fascinating exploration of why we tell ourselves horror stories when we’re ghosted.
But here’s the thing. It’s critical that you are crystal clear with your prospects, buyers and customers about your offering so they don’t make up a story about you.
That’s where the ABT (And, But, Therefore) narrative framework comes in.
It starts by setting the stage and validating what your prospect/buyer/customer wants and why it’s important to them in your AND statement of agreement.
BUT then you introduce the problem that is keeping them from what they want..the conflict and contradiction in their story.
Then you close the story loop with in your THEREFORE statement that provides the resolution they seek with your product or service solution.
AND opens the story loop.
BUT arouses tension propelling the story forward.
THEREFORE closes the story loop with a fulfilling ending.
We show you exactly how to do this in our new book, The Narrative Gym for Business.
It’s your short, 75-page guide to start crafting compelling ABTs that make your branding, marketing and sales immensely more powerful.
This way, your prospects, buyers and customers “get” you clearly and don’t make up their own *awful* stories about your offering.
The Magic Revealed…
Hemingway pulled the age-old ten-dollar story trick on his buddies of arousal and fulfillment.
He set the stage with For Sale: Baby shoes…
Then aroused them with a change in plot direction…never worn. We call this the BUT statement of surprise or contradiction.
By not completing the story he allowed his unwitting storytellers to fill in the blank in what we call the THEREFORE statement of consequence or resolution…
What? Baby shoes never worn? How can that possible be? Oh, THEREFORE, the child must’ve died.
We can’t help ourselves. We default to the most finite ending for closure. And it’s typically bad.
Don’t let this happen to you.
Now you can use the ABT for your shortest, most successful sales pitches ever.
This morning I received this endorsement of the ABT from
“Hello new virtual friend! I just listened to your Podcast with Michael Stelzner – where the heck has the ABT model been my entire life!
I have an extremely creative brain and have no end to new ideas but the organization side lacks therefore I am always looking for new ways to ‘get out of my own way’— your ABT model is spot on!
I’ve already used it in 6 emails and 3 phone calls this morning.
It works 😳 I’ll be ordering your book today!!!”
Visit the ABT Gym
The ABT looks easy, but it’s hard to perfect. So practice, practice, practice with your Narrative Gym for Business guide.
Plus, you can get instruction from me in our The ABT’s of Selling™ quick online course.
The book and course work beautifully together.
Try on the ABT.
It will reveal your shortest most successful sales pitch ever!