How I Made $200 Without Trying to Sell Anything

Oftentimes when people think of sales they envision money being exchanged for a product. However, sales is much more nuanced.

  • It’s the art of persuasion, utilizing psychological tricks to trigger emotional responses.
  • It’s using storytelling instead of being too “pitchy”.
  • It’s having the right instincts and timing.
  • It’s providing a solution to a problem.
  • It’s about closing the deal.

Other times it’s about rethinking a new approach without trying to sell at all.

A few years ago my local church held a fair the week before Christmas. On one of those nights, I volunteered as a Concession Assistant. I requested to work the basketball shot game and I was stationed there with another volunteer.

An hour and 45 minutes into the night we had less than five people pay to play our game.

I was determined to try to get more people to play because the goal was to raise money for a good cause. It was $5 for one shot attempt. If you make one you get a small prize, two in a row you get a bigger prize, and three in a row you get the biggest prize.

I noticed a trend that most of the people who paid to play were parents being nagged by their young children. No repeat buyers. Since the shot seemed too hard for the kids, I came up with an idea to get more people to play while offering them a better chance at winning.

We had a poster board next to our area that said, “Take a shot! $5”. I replaced that board with a blank one and wrote, “Kids shoot free!”. That was my way of getting leads because the foot traffic was there. Less than five minutes later and a small crowd was beginning to gather around our game. The new rules were, $5 for one shot attempt & your child gets 1 shot free.

Involving the parent into the game and making it feel like they had a higher chance of winning while making their kids happy was the key. Over the course of the next hour, we had fifteen people pay to play our game and we ended the night with a little over $200. On average, each customer paid to play twice. Some even played three or four times!

By using some of the basic core principles of sales — listening, adaptability, resiliency, communication, and creating an angle. I was able to triple the number of people who played the game in one hour, raised money for a great cause, and made people happy in the process. 😀



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Matthew Corpuz

In a fast-paced and ever-changing world that demands adaptability, I see opportunity rather than fear change.