The Million Dollar Potato Peeler Sales Pitch

**this is a guest post from Kevin Rogers**


1. Stop traffic.
 Once a small crowd has gathered Joe waves his audience in closer as a “courtesy” because it “saves me shouting.” He promises, “I won’t ask you for money” to differentiate himself from the panhandlers in the streets of New York City. (And technically he does not ask for money, he asks for a sale.)

You can use this when driving traffic to your offers by promising something of value for visiting your site. Tease curiosity with headlines like, “Exposed: How An Old Man With A Funny Accent Made A Million Dollars Selling Potato Peelers On A NYC Sidewalk”

2. Show your credentials. Notice that Joe surrounds himself with proof of his credentials; his Daily News article is on display, as is his feature article in Vanity Fair and a photo of his appearance on the Today Show. This makes the audience feel safe and provides Joe celebrity status.

You can use this on your website by displaying legitimate credentials about you and your business via testimonial blurbs, endorsements and “As Seen On” icons.

3. Big action opener. Once the audience is close, Joe doesn’t waste time making hyped-up promises or small talk, he just gets right to work demonstrating what his product does and why it matters to his prospects.

You can use this in your pitch by launching straight into a video that shows your product in action. Once you’ve won your prospect’s attention, you can begin to drill down the finer benefits.

4. Describe the tangible benefits. Joe knows his product will appeal to busy moms, so he says, “You do that with the kids, they’ll eat their vegetables.” There’s another brilliant example of some “beyond benefits” a minute or so later when Joe explains that if you fry potatoes and drink red wine like the French, “You’ll live forever, you’ll never die.”

You can use this by thinking through how each benefit of your product can have a positive effect on life for your prospects beyond the obvious.

5. Use humor to bond with your audience. “Does matter if you’re right handed, left handed, or like a politician — under-handed.” This is masterful use of the humor as bonding tool. It furthers Joe’s “man of the people” credentials even though he was a millionaire living on Park Ave.

You can use this with your audience by finding a common enemy to poke fun at, but keep it lighthearted unless your market is extreme in its beliefs.

6. Show the dreadful alternative. Joe holds up the common potato peeler most of us have in our kitchen drawer and says, “You can’t slice potatoes like that with one of these things.” This simple reference to the norm makes what we’ve been using to peel potatoes feel desperately inferior and creates a sudden urgency to replace a utensil that was far from our minds just two minutes earlier.

You can use this by pitting the way your prospects typically do things against how life could be if they were armed with your product or service.

7. It’s easy for anyone to use. Joe hands the peeler to an audience member and has her glide it across a carrot. This gives the audience “social proof” that it isn’t just Joe’s prowess with the tool that makes it so effective.The thing really works!

You can use this online by showing video testimonials of people bragging about how great your product works for them.

8. Reveal “the catch?” Here Joe says, “There’s no trick there’s no skill, but you must use at least six slices.” The caveat is hardly a deal breaker, however by revealing it and adding in the word “but…” you know he’s giving you the truth, making it easy to give him your trust.

You can use this by looking for a place to reveal a small flaw or caveat to your product’s magic and exposing it to build trust.

9. Close with a flurry of benefit bullets. Now that the demo is complete, the proof is shown and the trust is established, it’s time to open the cash register. As Joe pulls out his big bankroll (more proof that the product is popular) he shouts a litany of features and benefits to knock his prospects off the fence…

“They’re made in Switzerland, they’re not made in China.”
“They’re made of stainless steal, they cannot rust.”
“They’re dishwasher safe and I promise you they never need sharpening.”

You can use this by listing the biggest benefits beside or underneath your order button and again on the order form itself.

10. Squash common objections. “And if anyone thinks that’s a special one, you can have that one, I’ll use another one.” Clearly a response to 15 years of skeptical New Yorkers insisting that Joe is shooting with “loaded dice”. He knows it’s on the mind of certain prospects, so he squashes it with a quick line.

You can use this by adding a FAQ section to your sales page to tackle common objections.

11. Special offer pricing. Joe offers “one for $5 or five for $20”. But notice how he builds to the special offer with his phrasing, “They’re five dollars each, they’re worth every penny, they last a lifetime. You can get two for ten, four for twenty and a lot do — you’ll get one free.”

You can use this by thinking of ways to create special offer pricing, just be careful that it doesn’t diminish the original value you’ve worked to establish.

12. Create emotional urgency and justify with logic. “And why would anybody want five peelers if they last a lifetime?” Joe asks, “Cuz you’ve got four friends that’s why.” Then he reminds us that the holidays are coming up and punches the offer with, “you not only save a lot of money, you save a lot of time looking for gifts.” Brilliant.

You can use this by getting your prospects to think about how much the people in their life would benefit from the product and how they’d be a hero for showing up with one as a gift.

13. Keep selling through the sale. As Joe furiously collects cash and hands out peelers, listen to how he runs through his credentials to nudge people over the fence and help them justify their emotional decision to buy…

“Fifteen years I’ve been selling the same thing.”
“1994 I was in the Daily News.”
“Three years ago, Vanity Fair. Julia Roberts on the cover and me in the middle.”
“Best $5 you’ll ever spend.”
“You can’t buy anything in this country that’s made in Switzerland for five dollars… A Swiss Army knife is nearly $100.”
“They don’t make cheap things in Switzerland, they make good things.”

and my favorite line… “You’re not buying these because they’re cheap, you buy ‘em because they’re good and they work.”

Four minute pitch, five dollar product, fifteen years of success, over a million in sales.

Proof that making sales can be easy when you believe in your product and you’ve got the right pitch.

When is the last time you witnessed a master salesperson in action? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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Kevin Rogers is an A-List online copywriter and sales messaging coach, you can get more great tips herewww.thecopywritersedge.com

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Comments

  1. That’s an absolutely great sales pitch and I love the break down you gave and how it applies to online businesses.. Lots to learn here.

  2. Awesome Ryan, I think this ‘art’ is gone with all the hype and faceless marketing now, I believe a lot of marketing guys would get squashed face to face… Maybe me included, but it’s an AWESOME example!

  3. Its Friday and couldn’t go out. I was waiting for this super article for today. I know you always kill it on fridays, You never disappoint Ryan. Thanks for this amazing article and video. Kevin is really good and I have learned a lot from it. From me your Soldier, signing out my Commander…

  4. Awesome info again Ryan! I can’t wait to start implementing this in my ‘sales pitch’ – exciting!

    Beverly

    p.s. btw, I want one of those potato peelers! If he had an affiliate program you could make some money yourself with this post! 🙂

  5. My favorite post in a long time! Just read “Persuasion: The Art of Getting What You Want” and this hits on alot of the persuasion tactics. Anyone know if Joe is still alive?? I would love to interview him for my MogulsOfMarketing site!

    1. Hey Kev… I wish he was. He passed away in 2009 at 75 (I believe). His daughter carried on the legacy for a while, you can see her pitch on youtube as well (search Joe Ades daughter).

  6. Ryan and Kevin, stellar post.. Thanks for sharing the fantastic video, and providing the excellent breakdown of the offer pitch.

  7. I have heard of this guy before. I really appreciate Kevin’s breakdown of the “pitch”. I shows areas that are lacking with my own pitch for my services.

    I really like the use of humor (it connects him with the audience).

    Gene Hammett
    Business Coach to Small Digital Agencies

  8. Great break down Kevin, thanks. It’s inspiring to witness people doing something they’ve spent years mastering. What an amazing presentation! There’s also a good lesson in there about the benefits of testing. 15 years of practicing and fine tuning the same pitch – VERY COOL!

  9. Kevin, you broke it down as well as he sells it! Worth the wait! Great Job! Special Thanks Ry.

  10. And now I want one of those peelers! LOL

    That was the most awesome breakdown of a sales pitch I have ever seen!! GREAT information, no matter what you are selling!!!

    Thanks for sharing this, Ryan!

  11. Kevin,

    This is what a guest post should look like. Compelling story, excellent advice, and actionable takeaways. Loved it.

    Jason

  12. “You only want one? You’ve got no friends” LOL

    Man this was incredible, thank you for sharing and explaining all that was going on here!

    Sergio

  13. Wow – thanks everyone for all the kind words. I really appreciate it. I’m a dedicated reader of this blog, so I’m glad I didn’t botch it 🙂

    If you fell in love with Joe like I did, here are a few resources you’ll enjoy…

    The Vanity Fair piece:

    http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2006/05/grafter200605

    and the Today Show feature: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Krusn0Mo3Po

    Also, a fantastic article Gladwell wrote about the Popeil Family and the Atlantic City boardwalk pitchmen…

    http://www.gladwell.com/2000/2000_10_30_a_pitchman.html

  14. Absolutely one of my favorite posts of all time. Thank you Kevin and Ryan. That was awesome information and the breakdown is fantastic!

  15. Hi Kevin

    What an amazing post, very useful tips ti put in action. It has made me realise how I should use video on one of my sales videos to cut to the chase much quicker and show the product.

    Cheers
    Phil

  16. Hey Kevin/Ryan I think you are missing a trick here – you should have a buy it now button to allow people to order the peelers 😉

    After watching the video I want one!

    Matt

    1. Hi Amelia, I wish her were. Joe is now a beloved fixture on that great sidewalk in the sky, but if you stop by Union Square you could get lucky and see his daughter carrying on his legacy with the same great peeler.

  17. Awesome post, Kevin, amazing sales pitch, and an incredible peeler! Hard to believe I just watched a guy get New York strangers on their way to somewhere hand him wads of cash in less than five minutes. Love the “you can do this!” as he demonstrates.

  18. Wonderful post, Kevin, and very useful to me right now as I am building a new site.

    I would like to add one more thing to your list of takeaways: his pricing made it easy to buy $5, $10, $20… these are bills that most of us already have in our wallets… just pull it out and hand it to him. Most likely no need to make change. If there IS a need to make change it’s easy and FAST to do so with the currency he already has in-hand from other sales.

    I realize that online this isn’t so much of a problem, but is worth noting if you are, say, a speaker and sell at the back of the room or if you are selling at a trade show, fair, or similar event.

  19. What a Great article and always fun to watch a pitchman do his stuff, reminds me of Billy Mays one of the great TV pitchmen.
    Years of selling at Flea Markets I have met some really good pitchmen, true masters of making money change hands, to theirs..
    Thank You for this reminder of how sales works, much like a shell game.

  20. Kevin- that was some great old school ”shuckery”.
    The old dude was adorable and smooth as cool whip.
    I love it , thanks for sharing.
    What can I sell ? hummm.???

  21. FANTASTIC. Than you so much for sharing this. Your breakdown is invaluable. I’ve been a performer for the past 30-years and I’m pretty sure it’s because I saw a guy like this at a state fair when I was a kid. Never thought about all I do in a show, however, I think your 13 points pretty much nail it. Sharing this.

  22. Oh …yeah…i remember seeing him a few years back on CNBC’s “How i Made My Millions”…He had a spare foom in his apartment stacked up high with potato peelers.

    The Real Life Hustle Man

  23. Great list! I hope your list may be of inspiration to me as I am trying to launch my new established website (http://www.mystocktobuy.com). I have some problem in having visits even if my material is very good good and free. I hope to take inspiration from this article. Bye, Fredrick

  24. Awesome video and marketing message, reminds me of the famous street magicians who used cups and balls to seduce their audiences. Enjoyed the IM connection. Thanks Kevin

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