Last weekend was a big one for my wife’s family. A 70th birthday and the annual family reunion both happened. One of the best things about weekends like this is that I get a lot of time with nieces and nephews who range from toddlers to teenagers.
Spending a lot of time with my nieces and nephews reminded me that kids have certain traits that might be useful to people who sell products or services. Some of them are masters at getting what they want, no matter what the circumstances. Can we learn something from these youthful masters of the persuasive arts? I think we can.
Here are some positive selling skills children often use when they want something:
What’s amazing to me is how fast some kids can bring these skills to bear. As soon as they decide they want something it’s like they flip a switch and they go into high-powered selling mode. Watch out if you’re the one who’s telling them “no”. (Resistance might be futile!)
As someone who has sold different products and services for a living I can see where the proper application of all these skills could be effective. So, keep these in mind as you think about how to improve your closing rate or that of your salespeople.
But, these skills can be misused too. Kids can (and often do) go too far in their quest for their goal. So do some salespeople. There is nothing worse than a salesperson who keeps calling on you after you’ve told him many times you are NOT interested. Simple persistence all by itself is not a recipe for successful sales.
All the charm and persistence in the world will be ineffective if your prospect really has no interest in what you’re offering. Make sure the person you’re trying to persuade has a genuine interest in your product or service.
Often when kids don’t get what they want, they cry, scream, whine or even get a little violent. In short, they act like kids. That’s fine for kids (for the most part, but let’s not get carried away!) but business people can’t afford to do that. It’s a cold, harsh fact of life that when we ask a lot of people to do something, we’ll get a lot of people telling us “no”.
It does not pay to get angry or huffy with someone just because they don’t do what you ask. Most of our best relationships take time and multiple contacts before they blossom. It’s a fact; you need to make contact with a new lead 5 to 12 times before a solid relationship will begin to develop. So, getting mad at the first “no” will prevent you from developing a lot of good business relationships.
Finally, many kids tend not to listen to our reasons for saying no. As a businessperson, obviously we want to listen to our prospects so we can understand their situation better. This is the only way we can discover if it makes sense doe them to do business with us.
So, should you sell like a child? In the end, I’d say “no”. But I would temper that by saying you should consider some of the positive selling skills children use well. They’re valuable tools for any businessperson to have available.
What do you think? Do you agree with me or not?