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The key to sales of puppies? Let the prospective owner take them home for a couple of days. Let their kids play with the little furball. The pups won’t be returned unless: 1) ugly doggies or 2) ugly customers. That’s the key to a puppy dog close. If you believe in your product it’s the perfect method to reduce friction for the buyer to fall in love with your product.

If you have a great product, let your customer try it and then threaten to take it away after proof of efficacy. Do this 10 times and get 7 sales…. you have a great product and 3 bad prospects. Try the puppy dog close 10 times and get 10 puppies back… pack up and try selling kittens.

Great products don’t sell themselves. Product sales are a function of:

Attraction = level of Pain it address multiplied by the level of pain Relief it provides.

Expressed as: A = P x R

Divided by Friction = the obstacles or risk factors involved in a sale which include:

  • Price
  • Efficacy Proof – References or Trial
  • Career Risk to the Buyer (a project failure puts the buyers career at risk)
  • Implementation Difficulty

Sales = A/F

The puppy dog close reduces the risk and proof friction.

Buyers ask themselves; ” If I buy this will my career suffer? Am I taking a risk?” In everyday life, we evaluate risk before buying. That’s why McDonald’s advertises on their signs 10 Billion mediocre low-quality, non-lethal hamburgers sold. That’s social proof. That tells the buyer that a boatload of people have bought these burgers and many of them haven’t died.

Now if a company is trying to sell a new untested product, you can’t just erect a 10 Billion Widgets sold sign until you’ve sold those widgets. So one key to selling new products is… the puppy dog close.

I was working with a startup that had a great product. It addressed an unanswered pain in the market. It promised to deliver immediate Return On Investment (ROI). The CEO was a smart, visionary who had a previous successful exit. Sounds like a winning combination…. Right? So why aren’t we reading about this company in the Wall Street Journal?

Answer… either 1) hubris or 2) fear

  1. Hubris – the CEO believed his reputation was enough to prove his product was the greatest puppy since sliced bread (huh?). This one-hit wonder was under the mistaken opinion that his ego was all the social proof anyone needed. Even though he had no customer references he insisted on asking prospects to risk their reputations and their jobs to sign 1-year contracts with an unproven product.
  2. Fear – Perhaps he didn’t want to find out that his puppy was ugly

Either his ego wouldn’t allow him to go full puppy dog or he didn’t want to find out his next big thing was an ugly dog. So while advised going with the puppy dog close he refused and now about 12 months and no sales later his puppy is on life support.

If you can afford to allow clients to try before you buy… go puppy dog close until you can put up a 10 Billion Puppies Sold sign at which time people will accept that you make good puppies.

Want to see how the puppy dog close works? Qualifying executives can find out what it’s like to work with me as a leadership coach by scheduling a complimentary coaching call with me.