I have an 11 year old son and 6 year old daughter; I’ve never taught them a thing about selling, but they are closing on me every day! That’s because kids are natural born sales people, and their number 1 target are adults.
Take this recent exchange I had with my son:
Son: “Dad, can I get Beats Headphones?”
Me: “They are pretty expensive and you already have a pair of headphones.”
Son: “Yeah, but they aren’t good and they don’t look cool,” (The Pitch) “I’ve saved some money and if you pay the rest, I’ll give you my allowance until I pay it off.”
Me: “Thanks for the offer, but I’d like you to save your money.”
Son: “I really want them, and it’s my money. How about we just go to the store and check them out?”
This feels like a trail close to me, but I say “Sure”…now he has me where he wants me. So, we go to Best Buy and after he is done “testing”, he goes for the hard close.
Son: “Aren’t these great? Can I get them, now?”
Just as I am about to say “Not now”, he cuts me off with the ace up his sleeve “I have a gift card.” You know how it ends…I let him buy them and I pay the difference.
But did I learn a few lessons from the experience:
Lesson #1 – Be Focused
Kids know exactly what they want, they don’t get distracted. Many sales people get caught up with what they want. Stay focused, don’t lose sight of the end goal.
Lesson #2 – Be Persistent
To a fault some kids go over the top and parents just give in to the child’s demands to get them off their back. Sales people shouldn’t take it that far, but should be persistent in their process of business development and not give up until they get a “NO”.
Lesson#3 – Negotiate
Kids are master negotiators. They are focused on what they want and will offer compromises to help them close the deal . “If you let me do this I will do this” or “If you buy me this really expensive unnecessary thing, you will never ever have to get me anything again“. Sales people should always have an alternative compromise to help close the deal. If it’s a lower price point, faster delivery time, or another special consideration that a customer would appreciate.
Lesson#4 – Ask for the Sale
Kids are great at asking. I find sales people often have a hard time asking for new business and wind up either talking themselves out of the sale or are too nervous to just ask. Sometimes, the easiest way to get what you want, is by asking for it.