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Pizza Deliverance

December 6, 2012

pizzaImprov isn’t easy. Not good improv, anyway. The Second City has been doing improv for over 50 years, and the Chicago location alone has produced some of the greatest comic talent of the past 2 generations, including Joan Rivers, Fred Willard, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Tim Meadows, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, and Tina Fey, just to name a few. I’m not sure if it’s produced any great young Sales talent, but based on my recent experience I think it could…

Tuesday night, five year old grand-daughter, Madison decided she wanted to play “pizza delivery” with me, so I played along… with a vengeance. First, I had to order the pie, so I “called” the little blond in the other room:

“Hi, is this Santarpio’s?”
“No, it’s the Fairy Restaurant.”
“Oh. Do you have pizza?”
“Yes. We’re the Fairy Restaurant with Pizza.”
“OK, may I order a pizza?”
“Yes!”
“OK, I want frog legs on my pizza. Can you do that?”
“Yes!”
“Cool. I want a beer, too. What kind do you have?”
“French beer.”
“Oh. Are the French known for their beer?”
“Yes!”
“I’m on the 65th floor and the elevator is broken. Is that ok?”
“Yes!”
“Cool. How much will that be?”
(Without hesitation) “Forty-two dollars.”
“Wow, that’s expensive! The pizza better be good!”
“Oh, it is!”

Princess RestaurantTen seconds later, Maddy appeared in her “Rapunzel” princess dress and tiara (theme restaurant, I guess), and proceeded to drop my pizza all over the floor. As she scrambled to piece my pizza together, I began raising objections…

“Oh, I don’t want that now! It’s on my rug with cat hair!”
(Coming out of character) “It’s OK, Papa. I put it back together.”
“No, I don’t think I want it. Hey, there are no frog legs!”
“There’s green broccoli. It’s 42 dollars.”
“Whoa. Wait. Can I try it?”
“Nope. It’s 42 dollars.”
“Is the beer still cold?”
“Yes.”
“Can I have a sip?”
“Nope. It’s 42 dollars.”

This went on for a while until Maddy finally grabbed her “lightsaber,” fired it up red and held it to my nose…

“I have a lightsaber, and I’m not afraid to use it.”
“I want to try the beer!”
“I’m going to count to three, and if you don’t give me forty-two dollars, I’m cutting your head off.”

I reached into my pocket and pulled out the imaginary $42…

“I want to try the beer!”
“One.”
“I want to try the beer!”
“Two.”
“At least let me have a drink if you’re going to kill me!”
“Three!”

The saber flashed, and I was headless. Maddy grabbed the $42 from my dead hand.

“Papa, can we play again?”
“No, you killed me.”

At that point, the intense (for real), high-pressure selling effort finally got to her, and Maddy cracked, falling into her on-looking, and highly entertained mother’s arms for a good cry.

So, what are the lessons from the Fairy Restaurant with Pizza?

  1. Improv is hard and pressure-packed, but easy compared to Sales.
  2. Set the right expectations up front with your customer, and don’t promise what you can’t deliver, like frog legs and cold beer walked up 65 flights of stairs.
  3. Stay firm on price and defend the value you’re providing for it.
  4. Don’t give away your products or services, even if it’s the end of the quarter.
  5. Do whatever you have to to get the deal, but don’t kill your customer. There won’t be any future purchases or references if they’re dead.
  6. Maddy will grow up to be either:
    • a: cut-throat lawyer, or
    • b: highly successful salesperson…
6 Comments leave one →
  1. Richard Naslund permalink
    December 6, 2012 1:13 pm

    Awesome, thanks this made my day reading your blog!

    Like

  2. Barry permalink
    December 7, 2012 10:43 am

    Will they be handing out light sabers at the next sales kick off?

    Like

  3. December 8, 2012 8:08 am

    that was great Grandpa, it was perfect!!!

    Like

  4. Leslie Reilly permalink
    December 10, 2012 12:06 pm

    That was a great story! That Maddy is a tough cookie. I have to agree with your advice about not murdering your customer. That certainly does nothing to help repeat business…

    Like

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