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Last fall, I traveled to Eastern Europe with a group of executives. While visiting Heroes’ Square in Budapest, a street vendor approached me and asked if I’d buy a fur hat. The conversation went like this:

Street Vendor: You can buy my hat for 40 Euro.

Shari: Can I try it on? (She hands it to me) It doesn’t fit. It’s too small. Do you have another hat?

Street Vendor: No. It’s a nice hat. It’s made from beaver. Okay, 30 Euro?

Shari: It still doesn’t fit. I won’t wear it.

Street Vendor: Okay… 20 Euro plus another of the same hat.

Let’s face it: nobody likes rejection. When you wrap up a sales presentation, the last thing you want to hear is “no.” But imagine what you could accomplish if you reprogrammed your mindset to stop avoiding failure and instead welcome it.

Watch below.

Maybe there was a language barrier and the saleswoman didn’t understand what I said. Or maybe these were her last two hats and she just wanted to unload them and go home. The point is: to successfully sell, you must uncover the true objection and answer it.

Why would I buy a hat that doesn’t fit, even if it is cheaper? My ears were cold. I needed a hat that would cover them. Could I have torn the two hats apart and made one hat that actually fit? Not how I wanted to spend my vacation.

Closing isn’t about finding clever rebuttals to customer concerns or using sharp-angled boxing techniques. Closing is about having the compassion, patience, and heart to uncover the customer’s real concern, address it, and then close the deal.


  • Larry Earp says:

    Don’t remember where our paths have crossed but loved your illustration. Have been a top salesman for over 60 years I always insist the customer gets more value that the money that they pay. ALL WAYS SELL THE RIGHT SIZE HAT. Yours in great selling Larry Earp

  • Shari Levitin says:

    Hi Larry. Thanks for the comment and… Hats off to you! Hope we meet again.

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