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Over at Quora, someone was asking about actual responses to the old interview chestnut, "Sell me this pencil."

A commenter told a story about a salesman appearing on the Johnny Carson Tonight show, and Johnny asked him, "Sell me something
."

Does this Johnny Carson story ring true, and if so do you know who the salesperson was? Joe Girard?
#sell
  • Profile picture of the author jimbo13
    It is true as I remember seeing the clip of it. Don't know what it was on though as I'm in England. Was yonks ago.

    It is more of a trick though as opposed to selling.

    Lawyers have the world's most famous example.

    So Mr Golfer, have you stopped beating your wife?

    Logical fallacy.

    Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    The salesperson was Fred Herman. Dubbed by Earl Nightingale as “the greatest sales trainer who ever lived.” I saw the clip, it's floating around somewhere.

    And it went like this:

    Carson: “You’re the greatest salesman in the world – sell me something.”
    Herman: “What would you like me to sell you?”
    Carson: “I don’t know. How about this ashtray?”
    Herman: “Why the ashtray, Johnny? What is it that you like about that ashtray?” Carson lists things he liked about the ashtray.
    Herman: “How much would you be willing to spend for a brown octagonal ashtray like that one?”
    Carson: “Maybe $20.”
    Herman: “Sold!”
    Carson explodes laughing.
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    "Best book on answering objections I have seen... it's for photographers but it has brilliant techniques you can use in any business." - Claude Whitacre. When They Say That, You Say This (Amazon Kindle)
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by misterme View Post

      The salesperson was Fred Herman. Dubbed by Earl Nightingale as "the greatest sales trainer who ever lived." I saw the clip, it's floating around somewhere.

      And it went like this:

      Carson: "You're the greatest salesman in the world - sell me something."
      Herman: "What would you like me to sell you?"
      Carson: "I don't know. How about this ashtray?"
      Herman: "Why the ashtray, Johnny? What is it that you like about that ashtray?" Carson lists things he liked about the ashtray.
      Herman: "How much would you be willing to spend for a brown octagonal ashtray like that one?"
      Carson: "Maybe $20."
      Herman: "Sold!"
      Carson explodes laughing.
      I remember watching that live. At the time, it didn't hit me how advanced the method was.
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      • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        I remember watching that live. At the time, it didn't hit me how advanced the method was.
        Your version of advanced and mine are very different.

        Personally I'm in the camp where that falls into the sales 101 category.
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        Selling Ain't for Sissies
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  • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
    I never saw that clip -

    but when I am interviewing a prospect, I always ask them what they like about ... blah
    It's one of the first steps of my process.

    As far as working - shoooooot I don't know of any singular way that's better to get the ball rolling.
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    Selling Ain't for Sissies
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  • Profile picture of the author AmericanMuscleTA
    I see the story floating around the net, and DK mentioned it in the No B.S. Marketing Letter about a year ago (that's where I first heard it so I had to look it up).

    Misterme summed it up nicely.
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    David Hunter | Duke of Marketing | Real Estate Agent
    www.DukeOfMarketing.com

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